Accumulated Despair


Lately, it’s hard to write about any aspect of our shared experience without running headlong into evil.

Take neoliberalism, an economic ideology that increasingly orders our lives to a terrifying degree.

While neoliberalism may seem incredibly complicated, in my opinion, it’s actually quite simple.

At its most basic, neoliberalism is an economic ideology that justifies funneling all the gains of the economy to the one percent while transforming a “New Deal” economy of shared gains to a plutocracy.

The high priests of neoliberalism, like Thomas Friedman, are paid fabulous sums to justify this arrangement. Friedman, like the rest, produces voluminous variations of the familiar refrain–there is no alternative.

Neoliberalism has been amazingly successful. Wealth polarization has reached the point where the globe’s top one percent now owns as much as the rest of the world combined, while eight individuals hold as much wealth as the world’s bottom 50 percent.

Consequently, we are now in the midst of a worldwide political dynamic, where far-right-wing forces capitalize on genuine working-class resentment of neoliberal economic restructuring that, more often than not, was implemented by liberals and social democrats.

Neoliberalism was the ideology that justified this shift.

Lambert, at Naked Capitalism, expresses neoliberalism with a couple of rules–1) because markets. 2) go die.

The latest Case/Deaton mortality and morbidity study offers further proof that neoliberalism does indeed kill its victims through accumulated despair. Indeed, one could argue that so many of the societal malady’s afflicting America, from homelessness to opioid addiction and overdose, can be attributed to neoliberalism.

The 2016 presidential election and its aftermath have been incredibly clarifying. Rather than address its serious shortcomings, the Democratic Party along with their liberal media infrastructure, seems hell bent on continuing the same corporate, neoliberal policies that brought us to this juncture, while blaming the Russians.

Indeed, the Democratic Party and liberals are doubling down, and engaging in eliminationist rhetoric to boot by blaming Trump voters for their own misery.

I’m pretty sure that’s not a winning political campaign, but what the hell do I know?

Trumpism is the fruit of decades of lesser-evilism, where liberals trails after the labor officials, who continually surrender to capital, while chasing a rightward-moving Democratic Party in the name of “fighting the Right.”

Without a clear and potent independent working-class political alternative, one rooted in mass struggles in workplaces and communities, more and more workers will see no alternative to the neoliberal capitalist offensive other than white populist nationalism.

It’s quite apparent that the Democratic Party is beyond repair. They need to go the way of the Whigs, and soon, so we can get on with the radical transformation that’s required.

Update: More reasons for accumulated despair.

“It seems quite remarkable that none of these economists seem able to acknowledge that the rise in the pain medication prescriptions for people at the lower end of the educational spectrum might be due in part, and perhaps in large measure, to workplace-related factors, as in limits on hours and stipulations on work conditions. For instance, even though one of my brothers is still in a union shop and does desk work, the mill’s regular schedule is now 12 hour shifts. That would have been inconceivable in the days of greater labor bargaining power. It is hard enough to do a job that requires you to be on your feet for eight hours. Imagine the greater stress and risk at 12 hours. And then imagine how that interacts with the fact that overweight and obesity are far more common than they were 30 years ago.”




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