The New Way of the World - Neoliberal Society

DardotPierre, LavalChristian





Siguiendo a von Mises... ¿El empresario es un ventajista-oportunista que ni produce ni innova sino que simplemente saca ganancia vendiendo a un precio más caro? En suma, un especulador ante las condiciones inciertas del futuro:

The entrepreneur is not a capitalist, is not a producer, is not even the Schumpeterian innovator who constantly alters the conditions of production and represents the motor of growth. He is an entity endowed with a commercial spirit, in search of any opportunity for profit that presents itself, and which he can take thanks to the information he possesses, while others do not. He is exclusively defined by his specific intervention in the circulation of goods. 128

von Mises’s and Kirzner’s homo agens, who wants to improve his lot, must construct ‘means-ends frameworks’ in which he will have to make his own choices. He is not a passive maximizer, but a constructor of profitable situations that he discovers through his alertness and which he can exploit. It is because man is an active, creative, constructive subject that his choices must not be interfered with, on pain of shattering the alertness and commercial spirit so essential to the dynamism of the capitalist economy. To learn to seek information becomes a vital skill in the competitive economy described by these authors. 129

No veo así a los entrenadores de corredores:

The market is precisely defined by its inherently competitive character. Each participant seeks to outstrip others in a constant struggle to become leader and remain so. This struggle is contagious. People imitate the best, become ever more alert, gain increasingly in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs who seek to sell via all modern methods of persuasion have the most positive impact on consumers. 130



La idea de base es interesante. Se desarrollaron dos esferas principales: la del ciudadano libre, y la del mercado libre donde hay competencia. Y la segunda lógica excede el poder de la primera. Pero suena por momentos hasta demasiado conspiracionista:

The new government of human beings penetrates their thinking, accompanies it, guides it, stimulates it, and educates it. 286/360

¿Acaso hay una cúpula de poder que infiltra el pensamiento, de dónde viene esta influencia y quién la ejerce? Posibles respuestas son al menos dos: la rizomática del poder está en todos lados, y la invisibilidad de los aparatos que funcionan "sin una cabeza":

Far removed from the model of a central power directly controlling subjects, the performance/pleasure apparatus is apportioned into diversified mechanisms of control, evaluation and incentivization and pertains to all the cogs of production, all modes of consumption, and all forms of social relations. 319

Doubtless one of the paradoxes of the new managerial power, which demands this commitment, is the de-legitimation of conflict entailed by the fact that the constraints imposed are ‘without a subject’; that they have no identifiable architects or sources; that they are given as wholly objective. Social conflict is blocked because power is illegible. No doubt this explains some of the new symptoms of ‘psychic suffering’. 320

Si "nadie le debe nada a nadie" entonces ¿qué es lo que aglutina a la gente? Hostilidad tal vez:

the ideology of the success of the individual ‘who owes no one anything’ – self-help – is destructive of the social bond, in as much as the latter is rooted in duties of reciprocity to others. How are subjects who owe no one anything to be held together? Mistrust, even hatred, of the undeserving poor, the lazy, the burdensome elderly and immigrants doubtless has its effects as a social ‘glue’. But it has its pitfalls if everyone feels threatened with one day becoming inefficient and useless. 322

Otro tema: el de explotar recursos en todos los niveles y de aprovechar al máximo todas las experiencias de la vida, incluso desde un costo-beneficio en las actividades recreativas. Suena a una manera de pensar que podría tener Sheldon Cooper, o incluso Dev:

In a sense, everything becomes an enterprise: work, but also consumption, not to mention leisure, since ‘one seeks to derive the maximum wealth from it, to use it for self-accomplishment as a way of creating’. 296



neo-liberal rationality effects an unprecedented deactivation of their normative character. Dilution of public law in favour of private law; configuration of public activity to the criteria of profitability and productivity 340

Macri "tecnócrata". Y donde afecta a mi tema: a consumerist conception of public services

A major symptom of this deactivation is the significance assumed by the theme of ‘good governance’ in administrative discourse. All thinking about administration is technicized, at the expense of political and social considerations that would make it possible to bring out both the context of public action and the multiplicity of possible options. 7 The conception of public goods, like the principles of their distribution, is profoundly affected by this. Equality of treatment and universality of benefits are challenged both [page] by the individualization of provision and the selection of beneficiaries as samples of a ‘target public’ and by a consumerist conception of public services. Management categories tend to take the place of the shared symbolic principles that hitherto underlay citizenship. 8 [...] Over and above the mode of management and its technical tools, the relationship between governors and governed is radically subverted. In effect, the whole of citizenship as constructed in western countries since the eighteenth century is called into question at its very roots. We see this, in particular, with the practical challenge to the rights hitherto attaching to citizenship, starting with rights to social protection, which were historically established as logical consequences of political democracy. [...] dependent on desirable forms of parental education. Access to a number of goods and services is no longer regarded as bound up with a status unlocking rights, but as the outcome of a transaction between a provision and expected conduct or a direct cost for the user. The figure of the ‘citizen’ invested with a directly collective responsibility is gradually erased from the scene, giving way to entrepreneurial man. The latter is not only the ‘sovereign consumer’ of neo-liberal rhetoric, but the subject to which society owes nothing, the one who ‘does not get something for nothing’ and must ‘work more to earn more’, to adopt some of the clichés of the new mode of government. The referent of state action is no longer the subject of rights, but a self-enterprising actor who enters into the most diverse private contracts with other self- enterprising actors. Modes of transaction negotiated on a case-by-case basis to ‘resolve problems’ thus tend to replace the rules of public law and the procedures of political decision-making legitimated by universal suffrage. Far from being ‘neutral’, such managerial reform of state action inflicts direct damage on the democratic logic of social citizenship. By reinforcing social inequality in the distribution of service provision and access to resources in employment, health and education, 9 it strengthens social logics of exclusion that manufacture a growing number of ‘sub-citizens’ and ‘non-citizens’. 341

The key fact is that neo-liberalism has become the dominant rationality today, leaving behind only an empty shell of liberal democracy condemned to survive in the degraded form of an alternatively ‘commemorative’ or ‘martial’ rhetoric. As such, this rationality has taken material form in a set of institutional, political, legal and economic apparatuses that constitute a complex, mobile network, which is open to resumption and adjustment on the emergence of unintended effects, sometimes in contradiction with initial intentions. In this sense, we may speak of a global apparatus which, like any apparatus, is essentially ‘strategic’ in kind, to borrow one of Foucault’s favourite terms.20 This means that the apparatus is constituted on the basis of concerted intervention in given power relations, aiming to alter them in accordance with a ‘strategic objective’.21 This objective in no way pertains to a stratagem devised by a collective subject with expertise in manipulation. 344

Left has historically been constructed around the reference to Marxism. Yet the latter is indebted to Saint-Simon for a certain conception of government. In Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1883), Engels refers in glowing terms to Saint-Simon’s work, L’Industrie: ‘what is here very plainly expressed is the idea of the future conversion of political rule over men into an administration of things and a direction of process of production – that is to say, the “abolition of the state”, about which recently there has been so much noise’.41 In fact, it was Saint-Simon who developed the fundamental distinction between government and administration. It involves a veritable opposition between two types of regime: the ‘governmental or military’ regime, on the one hand, and the ‘administrative or industrial regime’, on the other.42 349