The problem of distribution, sharp enough in the Britain of the ’30s, is far worse for the world as a whole. A billion or so people live in destitution, and billions more are poor by any reasonable standard. Nevertheless, for the first time in history, our productive capacity is such that no one need be poor. In fact, more people are rich, by any reasonable historical standard, than are poor.
Even more strikingly, perhaps, more people are obese than are undernourished. And this is not true merely in terms of basic nutrition. Right now, the world produces enough meat to give everyone a diet comparable to the average Japanese person’s. This amount could be increased by replacing grain-fed beef with chicken and pork, a step that would also reduce carbon emissions. With another 50 years of technological progress and even a modest effort to aid the poorest onto the path of rapid growth already being followed by most of Asia, poverty could be eliminated. The vast majority of the world’s population could enjoy a living standard comparable, in material terms, to that of the global middle class of today.
Stephen Graham - Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism (via effusionofbiopower)
this is Trinidad/Port of Spain and Eastern Corridor right now
The ‘politics of envy’ is a cliche of Thatcherite ‘meritocratic’ ideology. Mrs Thatcher, in a 1975 speech debunking the post-war consensus, attributed a saying to the Mid-West: “Don’t cut down the tall poppies. Let them rather grow tall.” If this doesn’t sound very much like a Mid-West homily, it is because it is derived from Herodotus. But the idea that this encompasses a folksy wisdom, a ‘common sense’ if you will, is important to Thatcherite and neoliberal ideology. It means, don’t cut down those who excel out of envy; encourage them, fertilise them, let them excel all the more. The idea is that people who succeed in markets deserve their success: their success is ‘meritocratic’. In this, she was not innovating: she merely gave fresh expression to an old conservative trope, present in Nietzsche as much as Rand. But its staying power as a free market fable is acc0unted for by its political uses.
The more sophisticated ideologists of neoliberalism, such as Hayek, recognised the danger in attributing merit to market outcomes: it was a thinly veiled social Darwinism that distorted the real justification for free markets, that being their superior productive capacity. But reactionaries like Thatcher understood that people do care about social justice, and are not enthralled by GDP figures. She thus took the logical step of binding the argument for free markets to a mawkish, simplistic morality fable, in which egalitarianism is a conspiracy against excellence. And to this day, Tory ideologues such as Jenkins, when in need of a quick social justice fix,alight on the old chestnut about the ‘politics of envy’.
Zamudio et al., Critical Race Theory Matters: Education and Ideology (via humanformat)
this is true. However, i would state - just to make it clear - that what is most important here is not the discussion of ideology but that of the “organisation of power” discussed in the last two sentences.
It is an argument made by Deleuze and Guattari and one, imho, worth taking on…
Deleuze: Instead, one talks of “ideology”. But ideology has no importance whatsoever: what matters is not ideology, not even the “economic-ideological” distinction or opposition, but the *organisation of power*. Because organization of power— that is, the manner in which desire is already in the economic, in which libido invests the economic — haunts the economic and nourishes political forms of repression.
Q: So is ideology a trompe l’oeil?
Deleuze: Not at all. To say “ideology is a trompe l’oeil, ” that’s still the traditional thesis. One puts the infrastructure on one side— the economic, the serious— and on the other, the superstructure, of which ideology is a part, thus rejecting the phenomena of desire in ideology. It’s a perfect way to ignore how desire works within the infrastructure, how it invests in it, how it takes part in it, how, in this respect, it organizes power and the repressive system. We do not say: ideology is a trompe l’oeil (or a concept that refers to certain illusions) We say: there is no ideology, it is an illusion. That’s why it suits orthodox Marxism and the Communist Party so well. Marxism has put so much emphasis on the theme of ideology to better conceal what was happening in the USSR: a new organization of repressive power. There is no ideology, there are only organizations of power once it is admitted that the organization of power is the unity of desire and the economic infrastructure. Take two examples. Education: in May 1968 the leftists lost a lot of time insisting that professors engage in public self-criticism as agents of bourgeois ideology. It’s stupid, and simply fuels the masochistic impulses of academics. The struggle against the competitive examination was abandoned for the benefit of the controversy, or the great anti-ideological public confession. In the meantime, the more conservative professors had no difficulty reorganizing their power. The problem of education is not an ideological problem, but a problem of the organization of power: it is the specificity of educational power that makes it appear to be an ideology, but it’s pure illusion. Power in the primary schools, that means something, it affects all children. Second example: Christianity. The church is perfectly pleased to be treated as an ideology. This can be argued; it feeds ecumenism. But Christianity has never been an ideology; it’s a very specific organization of power that has assumed diverse forms since the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages, and which was able to invent the idea of international power. It’s far more important than ideology.
FELIX GUATTARI: It’s the same thing in traditional political structures. One finds the old trick being played everywhere again and again: a big ideological debate in the general assembly and questions of organization reserved for special commissions. These questions appear secondary, determined by political options. While on the contrary, the real problems are those of organization, never specified or rationalized, but projected afterwards in ideological terms. There the real divisions show up: a treatment of desire and power, of investments, of group Oedipus, of group “superegos”, of perverse phenomena, etc. And then political oppositions are built up: the individual takes such a position against another one, because in the scheme of organization of power, he has already chosen and hates his adversary.
Last May, one of the largest hedge funds in the world paid me $100 to eat gourmet popcorn and explain why I wasn’t applying for one of its (lucrative!) jobs. As I sat in a hotel suite with six other Yale students – musicians, biologists, dramatists, other-ists – and answered questions about my future plans, I got this uneasy feeling that the man in the beautiful suit was going to take my Hopes and Dreams back to some lab to figure out the best way to crush them.
And indeed, they have it down to a science. Each fall, our country’s top-tier banks and consulting firms cram New Haven’s best hotels with the best and brightest to lure them with a series of superlatives: the greatest job, the most money, the easiest application, the fanciest popcorn.
They’re good at it. They’re unbelievably, remarkably, terrifyingly good at it. Every year around 25 percent of employed Yale graduates enter the consulting and finance industries. At Harvard and Stanford, the numbers are even higher.