Addicted to Failure. Neoliberalism foists on career-minded millennials; a self-relation which resembles that of alcoholics in the throes of addiction A friend of mine is in a program now, and she’s doing much better. Underearners Anonymous (UA), a 12-step program founded in New York City in 2006, is a program for people who have trouble pursuing their personal “vision,” a term which appears seven times in the brief “About UA” pamphlet.
In one sense, “underearning” is simply what its name implies: an “inability to provide for one’s needs.” But it’s not just about earning a higher salary. It is also about “underachieving, or under-being, no matter how much money we make.” Underearners cannot bring themselves to do exactly that which is meaningful for them. Patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), the original 12-step program, UA may be thought of as a protocol for personal change. Each unit forms, dissolves, and re-forms functional networks from moment to moment. Neoliberalism Is a Political Project. Our new issue, “Rank and File,” will be out August 8. To celebrate its release, new subscriptions are discounted. Eleven years ago, David Harvey published A Brief History of Neoliberalism, now one of the most cited books on the subject.
The years since have seen new economic and financial crises, but also of new waves of resistance, which themselves often target “neoliberalism” in their critique of contemporary society. Cornel West speaks of the Black Lives Matter movement as “an indictment of neoliberal power”; the late Hugo Chávez called neoliberalism a “path to hell”; and labor leaders are increasingly using the term to describe the larger environment in which workplace struggles occur. The mainstream press has also picked up the term, if only to argue that neoliberalism doesn’t actually exist. But what, exactly, are we talking about when we talk about neoliberalism? Neoliberalism is a widely used term today. In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project. Misremembering Keynes. Our new issue, “Between the Risings,” is out now. To celebrate its release, international subscriptions are $25 off, and limited prints of our Easter 1916 cover are available.
The Bretton Woods system of managed currencies and fixed exchange rates began at a 1936 meeting of the Allied powers. The immediate impetus for the gathering was geopolitical: Germany’s new Luftwaffe and its invasion of the Rhineland augured war, and goldbugs — whether they knew it or not — needed France’s government to stand. So Roosevelt convened his allies, hoping to convince the British government to let Leon Blum’s newly elected socialist government devalue the franc. The storied meeting’s long-term outcome is better known: the Tripartite Agreement to intervene in currency markets laid the groundwork for the Bretton Woods conference, and the new era of global economic governance that would persist until 1973.
Behind Closed Doors Rauchway’s interest in office intrigue yields some real historical gems. The Origins of the Puerto Rican Debt Crisis. This year marks a decade of economic contraction in Puerto Rico. The causes of the downturn in an economy once seen as a successful model are varied and complex. Factors such as the popping of a construction bubble, the dismantlement of the industrial model of development, the expiration of a federal tax break for corporate income, the approval of CAFTA-DR, changes in the global economy, incompetent and servile government administrations, and the island’s colonial relationship with the United States have all contributed to an economic depression that predated the worldwide crisis. Not surprisingly, the situation was then aggravated by the financial collapse of 2008, which led, among other things, to reduced credit for small and medium firms, many of which ended up having to close down.
Already bearing the scars of colonialism, the economic malaise has set Puerto Rico back even further. Per capita income in Puerto Rico is almost half that of Mississippi, the US’s poorest state. Can We Criticize Foucault? It’s practically an unexplored issue within the immense corpus of the “Foucauldians.” To tell the truth, I didn’t think I’d be working on this when I was thinking up the plan of the book. My interest in social security wasn’t originally connected to Foucault directly, but my research on this issue led me to think about how over the past forty years we’ve gone from a politics aimed at combatting inequality, grounded in social security, to a politics aiming to combat poverty, increasingly organized around specific budget allocations and targeted populations.
But going from one objective to the other completely transforms the conception of social justice. Combatting inequalities (and seeking to reduce absolute disparities) is very different from combating poverty (and seeking to offer a minimum to the most disadvantaged). Carrying out this little revolution required years of work delegitimizing social security and the institutions of the working class. The Truth About Finance. Hillary Clinton says she’s cracking down on Wall Street.
She argues that her new financial reform plan will curb speculation and push back against “the tyranny of short-termism.” It’s a move designed to establish her progressive bona fides and assuage a public increasingly angry at the free ride finance enjoys. Yet far from reducing the power of the financial sector, Clinton’s proposal — which includes a tax on high-frequency trading, promises prosecution for the most egregious Wall Street lawbreakers, and seeks to enhance the independence of key regulatory bodies — seems deliberately crafted to consolidate the hegemony of the financial institutions that dominate the world economy.
Fellow Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley both criticize her plan as inadequate, but neither candidate has tackled the flawed assumptions on which the proposal rests. Yet are these axioms true? Have giant corporations actually become more short term in their outlook? Unions, Big Business & the Powell Memo.