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oikonomeia

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Despite the massive increases in productivity that have come of computerization and roboticization, the massive efficiencies that come of the continuous rerevolution in transportation and thus the globalization of markets, despite the possibility of “just in time production” and its low over-heads, despite the development of the internet and vaccines that render horrific diseases a thing of the past in much of the world, despite the end of the cold war and the necessity of massive state spending on armaments, despite incredible advances in the sciences of agriculture and mineralogy, despite labor saving advances in informational technology which render the necessity of expensive bureaucracy obsolete, despite steps forward in cheap and sometimes green energy and the introduction of the ethos of recycling and a general social campaign against waste, and despite the fact that nearly all of what would have been single-earner households have now been turned into dual-earner households, somehow we’ve run out of money and all of those mid-century advances, like cheap or free education, cheap or free medical care, cheap or free mass transit, welfare benefits for those who need them, the possibility of a reasonable state or private pension, the probability of a job for life, and affordable housing must now be phased out as they are no longer affordable. Sorry. Despite the fact that the future was supposed to be better than the past, and that capitalism is most tremendous engine for economic growth and social development that the world has ever known, we’ve discovered that the standard of living we’re accustomed to as citizens of modernity has to change profoundly and the free ride is now over. We’ve apparently run out of money.

Except for things like this:

It’s a funny old world, but that’s simply the case. And everybody knows, right, that a national economy is exactly like a household wherein when things are tight, you have to cancel the satellite tv subscription, put off the renovation of the kitchen or… end the public funding of universities altogether.

Written by adswithoutproducts

December 3, 2010 at 3:33 am

Posted in crisis, rationalization

5 Responses

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  1. … but every Vice Chancellor these guys have had a glass of champagne with has told them they need to transition to a system like … the Americans. They also know that participation didn’t go down when maintenance grants and housing benefit were taken away (in fact they would have been at college when many big (and ineffective) demos in London were taking place).
    They obviously calculated that the public at large would not care enough, which strikes me as a bit over confident, I wonder if they’ve focus-grouped this. Anyone who’s read Ehrenreich’s Fear of Falling knows that a policy which makes it easier to secure your kids future with money (rather than risking them to the meritocracy) probably (but secretly) plays very well with their base and possibly many more…

    Gabe

    December 3, 2010 at 7:33 am

  2. … but every Vice Chancellor these guys have had a glass of champagne with has told them they need to transition to a system like … the Americans.

    Well, I haven’t heard it put that way as often as you might think. There are structural reasons why “the American system” won’t work here, ranging from the fact that elite universities, with only a few exceptions, don’t have the massive endowments that the Ivies etc enjoy to the fact that, well, it won’t be the American system at all, which very heavily subsidizes its “state” universities albeit through state governments rather than the federal one. From the looks of it, many third and some second tier universities will simply close or at in the best case radically change their missions (think cosmology rather than philosophy).

    They also know that participation didn’t go down when maintenance grants and housing benefit were taken away (in fact they would have been at college when many big (and ineffective) demos in London were taking place).

    Again, their are structural reasons – increased workplace pressure etc – that make this this case. It’s not a causal relationship. It’s sort of like saying that home ownership increased despite rising house prices during the bubble. In both cases, one simply takes on loads more debt to have what could have been had with less or no debt before.

    They obviously calculated that the public at large would not care enough, which strikes me as a bit over confident, I wonder if they’ve focus-grouped this.

    Well, of course, this is one of the problem. Unlike the Tories, the students don’t have the money to hire top end marketing firms to do things like run focus groups.

    Anyone who’s read Ehrenreich’s Fear of Falling knows that a policy which makes it easier to secure your kids future with money (rather than risking them to the meritocracy) probably (but secretly) plays very well with their base and possibly many more…

    Well, you’ve pointed out the elephant in the corner, yes and it’s exactly the sort of thing that they need to be thinking about. (I’ve brought the issue up in one of my talks, but not enough….) It is, though, the dominant if half tacit selling point of not only this policy, but so so many neo-liberal “reforms” – make it easier to borrow money, despite the fact that a home will cost more and more, privatize the rail system and offer loss-leading cheap rates in the newspapers while fares as a whole go up and the system itself degrades, etc. In America of course, this is the primary (and not at all tacit) selling point against state-funded health care: everyone, given the thought of having say cancer, wants the ability to buy themselves out of the queue even if it’s clear that most can’t buy themselves out of the queue.

    adswithoutproducts

    December 3, 2010 at 9:29 am

  3. Well everyone knows a national economy is exactly like your typical household economy.

    After all, my household certainly has the power to print its own currency, levy taxation and draw on a credit history stretching back hundreds of years.

    Oh no, wait a minute…

    ZSTC

    December 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    • Exactly. If you did these things, you would have to face a day of reckoning. But so will government, and the nation. It just takes longer. In part because of the size, but more because of the almost-holy status the state has granted itself. It can do no wrong. As soon as people no longer accept this fiction, the day of reckoning will come. This current mess is a bed of roses by comparison.

      keimh3regpeh2umeg

      September 1, 2012 at 10:15 am

  4. This is a great rant! I really loved it. Okay, it is late.

    keimh3regpeh2umeg

    September 1, 2012 at 10:16 am


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