Luentotehtävä: Neoliberalism

Disclaimer: This text has been written with pure flow. I do not and will not state, that this is the truth of it, or even a complete opinion that wouldn’t be changed with more knowledge and understanding. It clearly has a few places where I could’ve opened the context a bit more, and in some places there’s unnecessary blabber. In this presented form there are some clear leaps that can be brought to question. This can be read as hugely generalizing and dire. I mostly tried to handle neoliberalism as any other belief-system, whether it be a religion, ideology or any other form of a meme as Richard Dawkins has memes presented in his book “The Selfish Gene”. One typo found and fixed, and one sentence made more readable (still a few horribly long sentences, so, have fun!)

These were my thoughts that arose from the lecture “The State of Power: Neoliberal Globalization in Crisis” in which it had a following question to answer to with minimum characters of 2500 : Question for reflection about the lecture: What are the social, political, economic and cultural values associated with the ideology of neoliberalism?

 

As neoliberalism has penetrated from the macroeconomics through our education system, it is the utmost necessary knowledge for the whole of society to understand it’s core values. At the highest level, the most driving values include the necessity to restrict nations to participate in the economical life all the while the neoliberal driven actors (namely multi- and transnational corporations) are more able to live by the rules they have set for their own actions. This way of thinking is believed to be linked closely to the freedom of individual with the belief where the individual is in all cases responsible of one’s economic status: e.g. if one is poor, it’s solely due to one’s own failure or rationally made choice that has led to this situation.

When observed in a broader cultural sense, neoliberalism presents itself as an aggressive and dominant meme. From strictly economical stand it has, as already stated, implemented its beliefs in our schools and found its way to have a say in health-care systems, too. As more and more people are raised and nurtured as a part of the neoliberal system, more the complete nonsense of the neoclassical central assumptions (rational actors maximizing utility and profit with full and relevant information) are believed, even when the reality clearly shows that these assumptions are hugely off map.  

This strategy it has is a successful one. As the so called “Golden age” of capitalism was so fruitful, it gave a continuing promise of everything going even more better and giving even people the freedom from absolutism, which after the “Golden age” was namely governments. Following the successful run capitalism had, it had a loyal base to lean on and convincing data to show of it’s necessity in the (mostly political) chaotic climate it rose.

Intertwined with the physical, economical and educational well-being of people of its most fruitful soil of supporters, it presented its values as everything an individual of the time could want: more freedom, more possibilities, less state to take away from you, less restrictions on what you could do. We see this debate live and well to this day in Finnish political “discussion” too. I would love to call it a discussion, but all the arguments we hear from supporting or opposing in the mainstream politics have been heard in most parts more than a few decades, if not centuries or from some parts millenniums ago. There’s no debate anymore: Neoliberalism has penetrated all levels of society and it’s most visible in the theater of politics. Even the so called labour parties are not so much about the labour, as they think: It has this neoliberal scent all-over, as the well-being in both physical, economical and cultural sense is valued as human capital, which makes labourers just a tad more valuable resources as workers who keep neoliberalism flourishing and ever more expanding meme.

It would be tempting to say that culture in the sense of art, is free of neoliberalization and hasn’t been touched by it. Even though art might be in some parts be the last line of defence, from the most parts it has heavily declined and in some sense it could be argued, it was also the first to be under heavy fire. Multinational corporations seizing art and its distribution in the most absurd ways in the name of the copyright have rightly earned the name the “Mafia of copyright”. The clearest sign of this is the case of Mickey Mouse: every time the character is close to falling into public domain, the length of the copyrights gets prolonged. Very rarely do copyright holders, or the people behind the art of which they have sold their copyrights to some corporation, are opposing this. It does ring nicely with the privately owned versus commonly owned and with the business over the benefit of the cultural richness of society. This holds true even if the realistic or meaningful profit after ten years after publishing is non-existent – the theoretical possibility of it is enough.

But even with the copyright issues, consumption based entertainment industry and the barriers build between how people are able to be exposed in the specific form of art restricted by their economical state, art still is thriving force of showing the ridiculousness of the newly-adopted reality we live in. Of course, some if it is deemed illegal, like most of graffities are seen as. The internet has made satirical form of art thriving using many different forms: music, pictures, comics, causeries and so on. So it is especially alarming, when in the fight for the copyright holders, every now and then ban on satirical usage of other people’s work is proposed. In some cases they want to broaden it to news articles, and even the speeches of political figures, too – which would, ultimately, kill the last line of defense. The meme of neoliberalism would have beaten its most replicating enemy and would be in so commanding position of the conceptualized world, the only thing threatening its existence is its own, inevitable destruction in the unforeseeable future past our lifetime.

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