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<nettime> corporate individualism
Brian Holmes on 13 Sep 2000 16:48:40 -0000


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<nettime> corporate individualism


It is really fantastic to read Brian Caroll's text.

He successively reinvents:

--The 19th-century Marxist critique of formal democracy and individual
rights:

"one person, a human being, who is a consumer, versus a transnational
corporation as an all powerful meta-individual can be quite an imbalance
between these individuals' rights, etc."

--The 18th-century democratic public sphere:

"a strategy, after defining concepts like the `private' corporation by
de|con-structing the private language of individual wo|men, would be to
establish a `public' identity for individuals, groups, and corporations
based on the imperfect concept of humanity, as a heritage common to all."

--The 20th century (post WWII) regulation of and partial socialization of
the international economy:

"if corporations were able to transform their business structure from
private profit to public profitability, the ideology of the privatized
corporate estate may no longer govern the state of the world, but the
states of the world the corporations."

Without going into the 18th, 19th and 20th, without using "the Marx word,"
or "the Habermas word," or "the Keynes word," Caroll argues the whole
thing out crystal-clear, and then at the end makes the point that the very
language in which we speak about politics and economics has to be
reinvented, made new. It's like watching a language wake up from
Thatcherism and the ideology that "society doesn't exist."

Old books might really not be necessary at this point, but I would suggest
Karl Polanyi's "The Great Transformation" and MacPherson's "The Political
Philosophy of Possessive Individualism" if you want to see how other
people put the same things two generations ago.

Brian Holmes



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