Saturday, September 25, 2010


The Rise and Fall of Neoliberalism

Book Review by Adam Fabry, October 2010

Kean Birch and Vlad Mykhnenko (eds), Zed Books, £18.99

In the last decade or so the cracks in the neoliberal order which dominated much of society in the last 30 years have become increasingly visible across the world. Accompanying this process there has been a surge of literature seeking to critically dissect the central tenets of neoliberalism and the methods it used to gain political dominance.

To its advantage, the timing of this new book could hardly be more favourable. The onset of the global financial crash in 2007-8, which has since grown into an economic crisis of a size not witnessed since the Great Depression of the 1930s, has accentuated the complete failure of neoliberalism to live up to its own promises. The crisis has shown beyond doubt that the neoliberal myth of an economic wonderland - in which capitalism's previous cycles of "boom and bust" were a thing of the past - was nothing but a chimera.

So how well does The Rise and Fall of Neoliberalism succeed in providing a convincing account of its subject? The answer is: so-so. Setting the tone for the rest of the book, Birch and Mykhnenko state, "To start with, neoliberal economic theories represent an ideological project". This perception of neoliberalism inevitably leads to emphasis being placed on the ideological and political struggles that shaped neoliberalism's rise. This results in a lack of discussion of the structural problems of global capitalism since the late 1960s that contributed to the turn to neoliberalism.

The other side of this coin is that the book is full of examples of the ideological and political methods used by advocates of neoliberalism to advance their cause.

He looks at the "dismal science" behind neoliberal theory, the role of elite planning and corporate lobbying in "organising and pursuing capitalist class interests" and the creation of a "corruption industry" to justify neoliberal transformation in the countries of the former Soviet bloc. These provide the reader with telling stories about how the battle for neoliberal hegemony was waged across the world.

Having said this, the book remains unclear on how the monster of neoliberalism could be defeated. The alternative proposed by one of the contributors, who suggests that the way forward for "a genuine socialist and internationalist movement" goes through one single political organisation and its website, sounds not only crude and sectarian, but will also fail to convince a larger audience.

So, while The Rise and Fall of Neoliberalism provides useful insights on the rise to power of neoliberalism to its present state as a beast that lies wounded in front of our eyes, the search for how to kill it off and bring about progressive social change continues.

To all those not manipulated -yet- tree huggers (, Lisa the Tree Hugger) mates around the world...

Well, it seems we haven't seem them all. Two more hurricanes (30 Seconds to Mars- Hurricane (This is War 2009)(HQ W/ Lyrics), are queueing right now in the Atlantic. Eli Eli lama sabachthani?

Han de pasar, tal vez, muchos años para que, primero desmenuces la informacion util, y la separes despues de la cizaña, y segundo, aceptes que es inutil tratar de contener el deseo de opinar (Insultos Chávez (AMPLIFICADOS), Rey: ¿Por qué no te callas?,, que quizas sea una de las caracteristicas mas importantes de nuestra naturaleza humana, niña -pense sin externarlo (No Doubt - Don't Speak,

Un poco mas mesurados son un par de cuates, britanico y mexica ambos dos (vicente fox con armando hoyos,, que han visitado mi cubo para hablar de cambio climatico. Deja vu de mis viejos dias en el sotano de mi ivory tower -, Prince of Persia: Arabian Nights (Dreamcast) - Level 2 (Ivory Tower)- in Norwich, donde desfilaron neofitos y neocons por igual.

Como todas aquellas veces, se muy bien que la inquietud de mi cuata y su partner es genuina (I am very good on detecting fake ones, myth#; you better believe it now, and do not waste your precious time - Estan tratando de conjuntar ideas para "tacklear" ( al cambio climatico. Ella lo sabe muy bien, teniendo la atmosfera apropiada (Where's the missing heat? Kevin Trenberth (NCAR) on solar energy & climate change,, ha pasar poco tiempo para que el micro ( sea solo mio.

"Look, I do not believe on those financial schemes made in Norwich. They are not gonna work for really solving our problems (and I meant the bottom ones, at the top everything is just fine -U2 - Numb (HQ),, lad" -le digo sinceramente, a riesgo de que me etiquete como another denier nutty. "Yeah, now you reminded me, what we heard in a conference, they said is like everybody is being paid one USD for the right of somebody else to smoke" -me cuenta el brit coincidiendo "parcialmente" con mi punto de vista.

"Chida metafora, pero creo que puedo mejorarla -y ahi les va a ustedes frente al monitor, yo frente al teclado the final super improved version".

Supongamos que este sabadito usted ha planeado asistir a una kermés. En ella usted puede intercambiar sus dineritos por vales pa' alimentos, la tombola, la loteria o ya de perdis el puesto del beso por un peso (Charlie Brown - "Kiss" (Lucy y Snoopy), Pues bien, llega un momento en que la anaconda le pide un pozole pal tanquecito; now, resulta que a los organizadores ( "involuntariamente" se les escapo checar que el numero de vales mas o menos (no seamos tan papistas, pues) coincidiera con el stock ( de la verbena (Verbena Popular Universitaria 2010, Result? A huge bunch of guys like you are not getting what you've paid for. Not even nearly funny, huh?

"Now, until today, no matter who we actually are, we are harmless for them -trato de no mantenerme ecuanime para que no salgan corriendo al oir mis "exageradas" ( teorias. Why? Because they know our efforts are isolated. They dont mind if your former supervisor (a woman who is a british radical environmentalist, and do not own a fridge, a TV set, a washer machine, etc; I really felt embarrased about myself*) and me, while we keep uncommunicated. Why, again? Ok, here we go the example once more: It must have been 2002, no sorry, it was 2003 one million and a half persons were on a demostration in London. What was the outcome? Total indifference from our rulers.

"Do we have an alternative? Let me bring another example. ?Ya viste el documental Mc Libel? Es britanico, por lo que no debe haber excusa. Ok, que bueno que ya lo hiciste. Fue en realidad despues del impacto, sobre todo economico, que el video tuvo, que Mc Donalds cambio un poco su comida Frankestein. ?Recuerdas cuando "nos organizamos" para la eleccion? -le digo a una de las dos personas -ambas feminas- que contestaron a mi convocatoria para monitorear la jornada; making sure she gets the message that I haven't changed my mind ( since then. Verdaderamente la estabamos haciendo con el boicot economico, mi estimada, nuestros rivales ideologicos se aterrorizaron (Tampico Madero vs Gayos...Terrorizer a la altura, de veritas en esa epoca.

Es ahora que en realidad tengo la oportunidad de salir triunfante con oreja y rabo (Gino Bechi in the "Toreador Song" from Carmen , A ellos les inquieta el tema de los thresholds en las cuestiones ambientales, y de ahi merito me voy a agarrar, je, je.

Güeno, espero que no se hayan desesperado, y estén todavía "sintonizando" (Bob Seger - Blue Monday, el blog, porque viene lo mejor...

A mis cuadernos les es difícil entender el concepto de que estamos desarticulados entre nuestras "consensuadas" aspiraciones y nuestros representantes populares. "But, let's see, it would be just easy to change our leaders, right? Naaah! Obtendríamos lo mismo que en la ya legendaria "War on Drugs" continental... un simple cambalache de capos". Con un "I can't get it, Marco" me doy cuenta que mi compa aún no hay llegado a las grandes ligas de la polaca, ie, los hilos que deciden el destino de las democracias. "Sí, mira. A lo que tenemos que derrotar es al billete que impone, primero candidatos, y después dictad..., sorry, dirigentes nacionales". "Yeah?" -me dice arrastrando la interjección y levantando la ceja izquierda. Excellent! Here, we go with my famous (but not copyrighted, yet) master stroke (Queen - Fairy Feller's Master Stroke, "As we cannot impose our real preferences, yet; we can, as ethical consumers (, cut the money that is flowing daily into their pockets (Rockdrigo Gonzalez - Canicas,, huh?" -le digo sin acentuar innecesariamente mis palabras. "So?" -alright he cannot get is yet. "Well, you see your former supervisor's and my yearly consuming patters are harmless, we just saw. Nice, but that would not be necessarily true if, the amount of crazy heads reach or go beyond that threshold to start affecting what it really hurts... their profits, then they would not have the monetary possibility to push a "charismatic leader", like the one who ruled your country for about a decade. So as you can see, you can call it populist if you like it, but the point is not that we lack of an strategy but how to get to that threshold to have a real influence on our 'communal fate'. We do not own the means to communicate each other and agree that we share an imperfect dream (".



PINCC, Ciudad Universitaria,;


... maybe GOD makes mistakes too.




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