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Re: <nettime> Subject: It?s the Macroeconomy, Stupid. To understand neol
LAURA LOTTI on Thu, 15 Mar 2012 12:50:03 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Subject: It?s the Macroeconomy, Stupid. To understand neoliberal policy you need to look at the structure, not the level of wealth.


Dear Dmytri

I read with great interest your article (being a renegade business
student myself). And I think it makes great sense.

Only, at the end you say:

>Understanding that the goal of neoliberalism is to make X as close
>to Y as possible, we know that the goal of building a fairer society
>requires us to increase worker's capacity to invest as much as
>possible, thus reducing X as far below Y as possible.
>
>The level of workers' capacity to invest is not the result of the
>market, but a social choice born of collective action, such as
>collective bargaining and political struggle, and only maintained by
>the further social choice of not simply spending it back into the
>market. Workers' ability to invest can only come from a collective
>will to fight for more wages and benefits, and then intentionally use
>the extra wages and benefits in ways that do not create capitalist
>profits.

Taking as an example the city of London in which I live, the main
obstacle is: how to invest time and money in collective fights when
one is stuck in a system based on the identification of the subject
with her/his profession, and barely allows any sort of free time
that's not somehow inherent to the job, and not even money enough to
pay the bills? Also, how can one avoid to spend the money back into
the market, when even to buy groceries, the most convenient shop is
owned by a multinational?

After my master, I recently got a 9 to 6 job (therefore I consider
myself a worker). I cycle everyday to work and it takes me 1 hour,
I tend to bring my lunch from home, carefully avoid any chain shop,
live a pretty frugal life, already sold half of my possessions on ebay
and in car boot sales. Still, I barely manage to get to the end of
the month because the prices are so high, I miss all the good talks
and events happening in universities because I'm stuck to that damn
desk. I don't have the allowance to enjoy those cultural events that
with my job I (allegedly) contribute to produce and I haven't even
had time to read The Agony of Power since I bought it 3 months ago (a
funny proof that, unfortunately, Power is still doing pretty well?).
I'm trying to write a PhD proposal, never sleep more than 5 hours
per night, and sometimes call sick at work so that I can go to the
library and do research. And I don't have "employable skills" (I'm
not a web designer or something, so that I can't easily get freelance
opportunities) so that I could better manage my time. So why don't I
get out of here then if it's so hard? Because I can't save a penny!
(and finding a different job, useless to say, it's not an option). And
I'm not the only one in this situation. (And most of the people I know
that are actively contributing to the fight are students, on the dole,
or at the respectable range of age 25-30 still get regularly helped by
wealthy parents).

Surely London is the worst case scenario. I think the main fault of
macroeconomy is that, being macro, it doesn't account for the local
specificities of each geographical context to which it applies. But I
also think that, in order to change things, after understanding the
macro dynamics of power, we should take the magnifying lens out and go
micro, and take into account the ratio work : leisure of each worker,
with leisure understood as: time to pursue one's interests, being
these of whichever kind, made of L = T + w (time and wage) => w = L -
T Unfortunately we still live in a system where, paradoxically, value
is intangible and all added, but money is still what one is measured
in. And if you've got it (to barely survive), you don't have time to
dedicate to the cause.

As for my personal case, I'm just going to withdraw my share of Iw
from the table. Will sell the other half of my possessions in a big
car boot sale and bid my farewell to the UK. Does it mean that I've
given up on fighting? Maybe so, definitely here. London is too hard
as a homeless (because squatting is becoming impossible anyway) and
parents' "loan" is something that I refuse to apply for.

But I may have lost the battle, but not the war. I really would like
to hear more about this, and read about some concrete initiatives
you've got in mind. I am looking for a sustainable alternative, I
really am. (Only, in this reality, I can't think of any.)

LL

ps: apologies if I got anything wrong in my small micro/macro
equations. It all comes from remembrances of my time as improbable
business student in very neoliberalist business school. micro and
macro were the only two subject i was really interested in, but
probably for very different reasons than my professors.




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