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Re: <nettime> Digital leftism in a globalised world?
carlo von lynX on Sun, 29 Jan 2017 00:38:06 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Digital leftism in a globalised world?


On Sat, Jan 28, 2017 at 08:40:28AM +0100, Alexander Bard wrote:

>    Dear Carlo
>    My excuses for being rude in my response to you. And please understand
>    moderators took notice too.

In retrospect I am unsure if replying publicly was actually useful 
from my side as I believe in patient but solemn moderation and do
not believe in any attempts of public shaming: chances of injustice
are too high. So my apologies for not choosing the path of private
mails with the moderators and you.

>    However, my asking all members of this list to not throw around the
>    label "neoliberalism" lightly had nothing to do with you or your
>    posting and neither did I claim that.

Allan gave us some eloquent definitions on the subject. I consider
the fallacious ideology of radical freedom of the markets rather
than that of the people the greatest threat to the survival of
humankind on the planet, so I find it more important than the
traditional distinction of "left" and "right" politics. While
neoconservative can be seen as a kind of "right", neoliberal
politics doesn't really qualify as either left or right, so I
find it quite adequate that it is to be used as frequently as
the other two terms, and therefore occasionally subject to
false use.

In fact I doubt there is much false use of the term "neoliberal".
People just frequently attribute all kinds of consequences of
neoliberal politics with the ideology itself. So when you observe
the consequences of a ruthless globalization that ideologically
refuses any kind of ecologic, ethical or social taxation, then
the resulting collapse of climate, labor markets and human
rights is correctly to be attributed to neoliberalism. A lot of
people thought free markets are a brilliant idea, but so do a
lot of people think scientology has a great belief system.
In either case it has nothing to do with facts and ethics.

So, is global warming neoliberal? of course!
Is the exponentially growing gap of inequality neoliberal? Yes.
Is desperate migration of entire populations neoliberal? Yip.
Is the growth of population in Africa neoliberal? Quite likely.
Is polluting the oceans with sulfur from HFO neoliberal? Sure!
What about iPhone slavery in Indonesia? No doubt!

Is it neoliberal, when people are desperate about what is being 
done to them, that they put their cross on the ballot in the 
place that their government expects the least? Sounds legit.

How much is left that isn't somehow correlated with this
madman ideology of unleashed "free" markets?

And now the country that originated some of the worst
ideologies on Earth is itself stepping back from neoliberalism.
Should we laugh or cry?

The nation that has been predicating free market to the world
while it was drowning Silicon Valley (Google and Facebook
specifically) in governmental subsidies to ensure they achieve
a lead over the rest of us, has chosen to undermine the work
of decades of Pentagon strategists.
Should we laugh or cry?

>    Trade has rather become a multitude of forces and interests of which
>    nation-states play an incredibly small if any part.

That is a large-scale claim here. Let's imagine Europe, Africa,
South America and several Asian countries agree on an "equal
trade agreement" rather than insisting on the race to the
bottom of free trade, how would that not have a certain impact?

And since we already understood that fiscal paradises can no
longer be tolerated, why not stop trade with countries that
disrespect equal trade requirements? If the UN is in crisis,
why not found a second UN of the willing and cut out the
unwilling?

>    This is what I meant with opposing you taking a North Korean approach
>    to trade. Or a Trumpist-populist approach to trade if you wish.

I don't see an alliance of reasonable continents exactly as a
kind of North Korea.

>    Scottish trade barriers had a target and that target was hardly English or
>    German producers but rather producers in colonised territories whose
>    industralisation was delayed by some 200 years due to racist trade
>    barriers in colonial Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries up to
>    European trade barriers against African cotton and food products to
>    this very day.

Yes, that is why I am not proposing to resort to protectionism
or mercantilism. I am suggesting to take a reasonable middle
ground between the madman extremes.

>    Believe it or not, the economy has been
>    globalised ever since The Silk Route's golden days. It is just the size
>    of the trade whic has exploded in recen decades.

That is a simplification I would not agree upon. If the immense
damages to the ecosystem had been factored into today's shipping,
then in no way on Earth would it economically make sense to buy
Chinese garlic in the U.S.A. Today's globalization is completely
over the top from what would actually make sense economically, if
we factor common sense, ethics and ecology into the economy.

Another aspect is the globalized jurisdiction. Back in the age
of the Silk Route traders had to *trust* traders in other
continents not to rip them off, because if they did, no court
would give a damn to defend their interests. This was a natural
disincentivation of global trade that WTO trade agreements have
torn down. All of this political acting needs to have a name -
and since it is neither left nor right but rather oriented to
the interests of an ideology that produces a bunch of super-
rich and characterized by the fallacious and manipulatory use
of the term "freedom", it is appropriate to call it neoliberal.

In fact, "neoliberal" is a far too nice way to put it. Sometimes
I think Darwinism is more appropriate, but that is actually
incorrect, because the animal world hasn't been manipulated into
creating trade agreements that make competition artificially
even worse and even less ethical than a law of nature would be.

>    But my main argument that we must not fall into Trumpist argumentation
>    on trade without very good reasons is still adamant.

I haven't seen any Trumpist argumentation on trade around here.
Are you still falling prey to the fallacy of conflating
appropriately and transparently taxed trade with protectionism?

>    Whatever happened to Marxism and its conditional internationalism and
>    borderless solidarity here?

The world has seen a lot of philosophers. There isn't one that
promoted a model by which all of the world magically just
functions. Marx has made a brilliant analysis of the problems
of capitalism, but it is a fallacy to assume that somebody
capable of analysis is therefore also capable of producing a
functional model of how things should be.

In other words, just because Marx was right on the bourgoisie,
doesn't make him right on communism. In fact, communism suffers
from the #1 fallacy that most governance ideologies suffer from:
it doesn't consider human beings for what they are.

>    Because if it can be saved we can discuss taxation rather than trade
>    barriers. Distributed wealth is way way more benefitial for an
>    egalitarian society than trade barriers ever could be. And I insist on
>    that stance until I have seen proper arguments for the opposite.

There are plenty of things that are in urgent need of taxation,
and global shipping is one of them, for otherwise taxation will
be circumvented by manufacturing elsewhere. The notion that
taxing shipping is inevitably a trade barrier is what the
neoliberals have indoctrinated into us.

>    Funnily I have searched for those atguments through the last 300 years
>    of economics literature and never found them. But I'm still all ears.
>    Until then I belong to the vast majority of Socialists who are in
>    principle pro free trade. Leftist Trumpism is just not my thing.

Did you just confirm the neoliberal indoctrination that there
cannot be something reasonable in-between? We only have a choice
between cardiac arrest and exponential cancer growth? Reminds me
of the Watergate Babies from 'How Post-Watergate Liberals Killed
Their Populist Soul'. When the other side has shaped the frame
within which you are allowed to think.

Cheers.

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