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Force Fed — Real Life
This was the dream of the early internet utopians: that “the web” was a form of real anarchy, a totally voluntary system of association, interest, and desire. But of course, the internet was created and has evolved to serve the needs of capital, not the people who use it. Technology companies have recognized the possibilities for social domination opened up by increasingly geographically dispersed workplaces and communities. And the algorithmic discipline they have developed has a corresponding geopolitical imaginary.

Unlike the liberals, who have proved utterly incapable of a coherent political vision moving forward, tech libertarians have recognized the imminent collapse of the nation-state and its nonsovereignty in the face of global capital. Seeing that London, Tokyo, and New York City have more in common with each other than with Birmingham, Osaka, or Albany, they envision the political return of much smaller sociopolitical units capable of serving as effective nodes in integrated global flows without all the hang-ups of nations, borders, or social services. The “neoreactionary” right wing of this group advocates the return of monarchy, while the Burning Man–types dream of seasteading city-states, or California splitting into six parts. But in all these visions, corporate sovereigns replace national ones. The internet economy is set up to deliver and manage such a world.

The tech-futurists are post-nationalists; theirs is a fundamentally different vision from that of the neo-fascists currently rising to power. The resurgent nationalism and ethno-fascism represented by the likes of Donald Trump are a counter-tendency that wants to reinvigorate the nation-state through virulent racism and hard borders. Despite their far-reaching hopes for ethnic cleansing, these neo-fascists lack a transformative economic vision. They may be able to plunder the wealth of the wrong types of people — queers, Black people, Muslims, immigrants, Jews — who their program of intensified policing, both at borders and internally, would make vulnerable to further robbery, low-wage exploitation, or prison enslavement. Combined with total deregulation and the selling off of what’s left of the social democratic state in one last cash grab, the strategy could offer continued profits and stability of the system for the medium term. But fascist nationalism has no more ability than neoliberalism to actually solve the economic crises of capitalism or save the nation-state.
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yesterday by petej
Quinn Slobodian – Globalists — Crooked Timber
Slobodian thinks that this is mistaken. In his account, markets have not become disembedded from national societies and states so much as they have become re-embedded in international institutions. Neo-liberalism as manifested in the thought of Hayek and his European followers is the political project of looking to recreate state structures outside the grasp of democratic and non-democratic states. Far from thinking that markets are natural, neo-liberals accept that they are “products of the political construction of institutions to encase them.” (p.7) Instead of a double movement, we have a ‘double world’ of imperium, political rule exercised through nation states, and dominium, the world of economics and business, and a deliberate political effort to insulate the latter inside its own steel-hard casing against the depredations of the former. Neo-liberals then, look to an `interdependent’ world and a single global economy as a realm that should be held inviolate from national states, and the demands their people put upon them. This, as they came to realize over time, requires them to build their own quasi-constitutional structures at the international level, in order to fend off the persistent efforts of national states to shape and control competitive forces and economic flows that are better left alone.

Under this account, the most crucial dynamics of neo-liberalism did not involve the glamorous public clash of ideas between intellectuals. Instead, they were duller, more relentless and in the end, more effective – the persistent efforts of neo-liberals to argue through new kinds of international institution and to push back against organized efforts to make global markets more accountable to national authorities. Mont Pelerin was important – but so too were the International Chamber of Commerce and a multitude of boring seeming meetings and negotiations.
neoliberalism  books  political-economy  define-your-terms  to-read  if-I-have-the-guts  fascism 
yesterday by Vaguery
Opinion | Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid. - The New York Times
"There are many differences between the situation in 1930s and our predicament today. But given what we know, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that we are conducting a dangerous economic and political experiment: We have chosen to weaken the laws — the antitrust laws — that are meant to resist the concentration of economic power in the United States and around the world.

From a political perspective, we have recklessly chosen to tolerate global monopolies and oligopolies in finance, media, airlines, telecommunications and elsewhere, to say nothing of the growing size and power of the major technology platforms. In doing so, we have cast aside the safeguards that were supposed to protect democracy against a dangerous marriage of private and public power.

Unfortunately, there are abundant signs that we are suffering the consequences, both in the United States and elsewhere. There is a reason that extremist, populist leaders like Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Xi Jinping of China and Viktor Orban of Hungary have taken center stage, all following some version of the same script. And here in the United States, we have witnessed the anger borne of ordinary citizens who have lost almost any influence over economic policy — and by extension, their lives. The middle class has no political influence over their stagnant wages, tax policy, the price of essential goods or health care. This powerlessness is brewing a powerful feeling of outrage."



"In recent years, we have allowed unhealthy consolidations of hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry; accepted an extraordinarily concentrated banking industry, despite its repeated misfeasance; failed to prevent firms like Facebook from buying up their most effective competitors; allowed AT&T to reconsolidate after a well-deserved breakup in the 1980s; and the list goes on. Over the last two decades, more than 75 percent of United States industries have experienced an increase in concentration, while United States public markets have lost almost 50 percent of their publicly traded firms.

There is a direct link between concentration and the distortion of democratic process. As any undergraduate political science major could tell you, the more concentrated an industry — the fewer members it has — the easier it is to cooperate to achieve its political goals. A group like the middle class is hopelessly disorganized and has limited influence in Congress. But concentrated industries, like the pharmaceutical industry, find it easy to organize to take from the public for their own benefit. Consider the law preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices: That particular lobbying project cost the industry more than $100 million — but it returns some $15 billion a year in higher payments for its products.

We need to figure out how the classic antidote to bigness — the antitrust and other antimonopoly laws — might be recovered and updated to address the specific challenges of our time. For a start, Congress should pass a new Anti-Merger Act reasserting that it meant what it said in 1950, and create new levels of scrutiny for mega-mergers like the proposed union of T-Mobile and Sprint.

But we also need judges who better understand the political as well as economic goals of antitrust. We need prosecutors willing to bring big cases with the courage of trustbusters like Theodore Roosevelt, who brought to heel the empires of J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, and with the economic sophistication of the men and women who challenged AT&T and Microsoft in the 1980s and 1990s. Europe needs to do its part as well, blocking more mergers, especially those like Bayer’s recent acquisition of Monsanto that threaten to put entire global industries in just a few hands.

The United States seems to constantly forget its own traditions, to forget what this country at its best stands for. We forget that America pioneered a kind of law — antitrust — that in the words of Roosevelt would “teach the masters of the biggest corporations in the land that they were not, and would not be permitted to regard themselves as, above the law.” We have forgotten that antitrust law had more than an economic goal, that it was meant fundamentally as a kind of constitutional safeguard, a check against the political dangers of unaccountable private power.

As the lawyer and consumer advocate Robert Pitofsky warned in 1979, we must not forget the economic origins of totalitarianism, that “massively concentrated economic power, or state intervention induced by that level of concentration, is incompatible with liberal, constitutional democracy.”"
timwu  economics  monopolies  history  bigness  scale  size  2018  telecommunications  healthcare  medicine  governance  democracy  fascism  government  influence  power  bigpharma  law  legal  robertpitofsky  consolidation  mergers  lobbying  middleclass  class  inequality 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Twitter
Pretty much textbook - large corporation + government thuggery out to exclude immigrants (plus misuse of…
fascism  from twitter_favs
2 days ago by edsonm
The United States was never immune to fascism. Not then, not now | David Motadel | Opinion | The Guardian
The United States has never been immune to fascism. But many commentators still feel uneasy speaking about fascism in America. They still consider fascism to be foreign to American society. They often assume that American exceptionalism makes the country immune to any fascist threat. Fascism has no place in our master narrative of American history. Conversely, in most global histories of fascism, America is no more than a footnote.

More than a decade ago, the historian Robert Paxton, well versed in the long history of fascism and neo-fascism in America, warned in his important book The Anatomy of Fascism about the “catastrophic setbacks and polarization” which “the United States would have to suffer” if “these fringe groups” were “to find powerful allies and enter the mainstream” of American politics.

His words may turn out to be prophetic.
america  fascism 
3 days ago by corrales
Half of white women continue to vote Republican. What's wrong with them? | Moira Donegan | Opinion | The Guardian
But there is something else at play, something more complicated, in white women’s relationship to white patriarchy. White women’s identity places them in a curious position at the intersection of two vectors of privilege and oppression: they are granted structural power by their race, but excluded from it by their sex. In a political system where racism and sexism are both so deeply ingrained, white women must choose to be loyal to either the more powerful aspect of their identity, their race, or to the less powerful, their sex. Some Republican white women might lean into racism not only for racism’s sake, but also as a means of avoiding or denying the realities of how sexist oppression makes them vulnerable.
Donald  Trump  DonaldTrump  fascism  neofascism  neonazi  KKK  far-right  right-wing  Strongman  alt-right  fearmonger  demagogue  hate  preacher  speech  post-racial  America  USA  LGBT  abortion  conservatism  patriarchy 
4 days ago by asterisk2a

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