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Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you’re reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others. There are certain ideal characteristics needed to make a career today. The first is articulateness, the aim being to win over as many people as possible. It’s important to be able to talk up your own capacities as much as you can – you know a lot of people, you’ve got plenty of experience under your belt and you recently completed a major project. This description is, of course, a caricature taken to extremes.

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How Tesla Will Change The World This is Part 2 of a four-part series on Elon Musk’s companies. For an explanation of why this series is happening and how Musk is involved, start with Part 1. A Wait But Why post can be a few different things. One type of WBW post is the “let’s just take this whole topic and really actually get to the bottom of it so we can all completely get it from here forward.” Sick of this market-driven world? You should be To be at peace with a troubled world: this is not a reasonable aim. It can be achieved only through a disavowal of what surrounds you. To be at peace with yourself within a troubled world: that, by contrast, is an honourable aspiration. This column is for those who feel at odds with life. It calls on you not to be ashamed. How the super rich got richer: 10 shocking facts about inequality 1. The top 1% no longer includes most doctors and head teachers To be in the top 1% of earners in Britain today, a couple with no children would need a minimum income of £160,000. A single person can enter the 1% with a little less, while a couple with children would need more. Hardly any GPs are paid enough to take their place in the top 1% any longer, despite the last decade’s huge hike in their pay; their incomes have been far outstripped by those of the financiers above them. The best-paid head teachers, too, used to be within the top paid 1% in society.

The end of capitalism has begun The red flags and marching songs of Syriza during the Greek crisis, plus the expectation that the banks would be nationalised, revived briefly a 20th-century dream: the forced destruction of the market from above. For much of the 20th century this was how the left conceived the first stage of an economy beyond capitalism. The force would be applied by the working class, either at the ballot box or on the barricades. The lever would be the state. The opportunity would come through frequent episodes of economic collapse. Russell Brand: what monkeys and the Queen taught me about inequality When travelling in impoverished regions in galling luxury, as I have done, you have to undergo some high-wire ethical arithmetic to legitimise your position. If you can’t geographically separate yourself from poverty, then you have to do it ideologically. You have to believe inequality is OK. You have to accept the ideas that segregate us from one another and nullify your human instinct for fairness.

Oskar Lafontaine: Let’s develop a Plan B for Europe! By Oskar Lafontaine (pictured) Many in Europe had put great hopes in the election of Alexis Tsipras as Greek Prime Minister. When, after long and exhausting negotiations, the Syriza leader signed the European diktat, the disappointment was great. It would be unjust and presumptuous to want to give moral lessons to Alexis Tsipras and Syriza. After these experiences for the European left, it would be better to reflect on the conditions in which a democratic and social politics (and thus a left politics) is possible in Europe.

The terrible loneliness of growing up poor in Robert Putnam’s America Political scientist Bob Putnam is photographed at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Putnam recently wrote a book about the inequality of opportunity for children titled "Our Kids." (Damian Strohmeyer for The Washington Post) SWARTHMORE, Penn. — Robert Putnam wants a show of hands of everyone in the room with a parent who graduated from college. In a packed Swarthmore College auditorium where the students have spilled onto the floor next to their backpacks, about 200 arms rise. “Whenever I say ‘rich kids,’ think you,” Putnam says. Is saving Newcastle a mission impossible? Newcastle’s Civic Centre, a grand construction completed in 1967 and formally opened the following year – by King Olav V of Norway, no less – is a monument to civic pride and political ambition. As the headquarters of the city’s council, the building’s huge leather-clad doors, vast chandeliers and abstract art embody not just a strident modernism, but two bigger ideas that seem to have been frozen into every tile and fitting: a determination to pull Newcastle away from long industrial decline, and a belief that city government has the power to do so. In that sense, though it was conceived before he took office and opened after he had moved on to other things, the civic centre embodies the visions of T Dan Smith, the notorious Labour leader who once gloried in the unofficial title of “Mr Newcastle”.