Joining the dots

On the 4th of November I had a lecture on Neoliberalism, a term that I have a rough grasp as to its meaning as we all live in a neoliberal world in most of the northern hemisphere, this is the present ‘normative common sense’ of our economy and social individualistic aspirations.

A really great and thorough lecture with angles that i had not seen before and thus consequences.

Knowing how well researched and read Anna Minton is it was rather depressing to hear her admit that to a point that the concepts of the ‘reclaiming the commons’ had fizzled out. Yet as Mark ( PhD student attending the class who is working on voluntary housing schemes) commented there are projects on the go in the country, but had to admit the enthusiasm of the recent past has declined.
Bumped into a paper this morning reinforcing this depressing reality (see further below for an abstract);

Blair’s ‘Third Way and Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ both tried (and failed) to tap into our former natural egalitarian sense of societal values (Henrich 2021) that are a disconnect from the baseline of Neoliberal thought, that as Hayek would say that at our core we are all ‘self seeking’ and therefore the only real value is monetary and thus we all should work and accept this value, and the invisible hand of the market will solve all our woes if we just give it time (recently completely dismantled by ‘trussanomiocs’).

The reason the Big Society almost instantly failed was that it’s such a contradiction to the common sense that we the public had been taught/indoctrinated for the past 40 years (1979-2010), namely; ‘there is no such thing as society’ every man woman and child for themselves, along with the suspicion we were being taken for fools, expected to work for nothing to support the bottom end of society whist the wealthy yet again ,’run off with the money’. A London East End term would be, to be ‘Mugged off’.

This is the classic ‘all actions have a reaction’ reality, you prime a population to become hyper individualistic, to follow ‘their ‘ dreams, add to the mix ‘positivity’ ie, you can do this! with a sprinkling of status aspiration and boosterism ( no negativity even with obvious failures, think Boris Johnson former PM who promoted Brexit for his own gain and could never understand the criticism as to why it failed, and it has ref -4% growth compared with those in the EU) and you have a citizen that relies on ‘feelings’ more than reality. Perfect politician and media fodder for manipulation and denial of uncomfortable facts ( ie Michael Gove; ‘we no longer need experts’).

The term from an academic perspective is ‘social capital theory’, where we take what we have to offer as individuals with others and collectively do something for the benefit of society/community and not necessarily for monetary profit, ie ‘the big society’.

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