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The Aesthetic of Neoliberalism
by Roberto Lapuente
Tuesday Jul 16th, 2013 6:49 AM
The aesthetic of neoliberalism bids farewell to the bad in its environment. Originality and color disappear. Crap tends to make itself into an inquisition and banishes everything that cannot be adjusted to the trash of the system. Propagating the betting competition of all social monads and glorifying and biologizing this process and selling it as a natural human state is part of the crud. In the empire of totalitarian crap, the answers are given from the start and the questions are excluded." The Commons can be a transformational power.
THE AESTHETIC IDEAL OF NEOLIBERALISM


by Roberto de Lapuente


[This article published on 7/12/2013 is translated from the German on the Internet, http://www.neues-deutschland.de.]



The policy of the German government sold as without alternative tells us everything is running right and that we are on a good way. Like no previous German government, the Merkel government cultivated the totalitarian crud of neoliberalism. In “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera is occupied for a long time with crud.


This is “the absolute denial of crud and excludes everything unacceptable in human existence.” Obviously Kundera focused on the crud of command socialism. He asked why so many of his Czech compatriots came to an arrangement with this system.


He called this attitude the “categorical understanding or agreement with being.” For him, this was a world “where shit is denied and everyone acts as if it did not exist.” This “aesthetic ideal” is ultimately crap. The aesthetic ideal of neoliberalism is formed as a stringing together of what is without alternative: a politics that understands itself as a hand puppet of economic interests.


Propagating the betting competition of all social monads and glorifying and biologizing this process and selling it as a natural human state is part of the crud. The themes deregulation, privatization and free trade are treated similarly. All this is specific crud. This is promoted as helping the community and is not only communicated to us in a dry way. What is unacceptable must also be believed and willed by everyone.


The beautiful speech, the expertise and constant exposure to “hard facts” are the ideal case in neoliberalism. Here are several examples of trashy statements. Crud is when the President of the German Republic hides the social disparities behind pastoral rhetoric of undefinable freedom. Crud is when the German chancellor talks on and on about transparency and enlightenment without saying anything at all. Crud is when a minister speaks of pragmatic solu9tions while the pragmatism is derived from the neoliberal economy.


Kundera also tells of a professor who declared that Soviet society was “so far advanced in its development that there is only the conflict between good and better and no longer the conflict between good and evil.” What this professor parroted about Soviet society is also true for the aesthetic of neoliberalism. Its speakers do not separate between bade and good because the bad only exists outside the system, on the other side of the world. Hartz IV (the German welfare reform that combined unemployment benefits and income support while drastically shortening the duration of benefits and was ruled in violation of the German Basic Law by the German Constitutional Court) is not bad but could be better...


Foreign military operations for economic interests are called good. They would certainly be better without arms. Nothing is reported of wickedness, depravity or baseness in the handbook of neoliberal crap. The speeches of the political actors in the German republic are always similar and emphasize “good and better.”


This positive duality that on principle negates the crap is the political direction that the economy prescribes to political representatives. The aesthetic of neoliberalism bids farewell to the bad in its environment. Originality and color disappear. Crap tends to make itself into an inquisition and banishes everything that cannot be adjusted to the trash of the system. “In the empire of totalitarian crap, the answers are given from the start and the questions are excluded,” Kundera writes and concludes “that the real enemy of totalitarian crap is the person who asks questions.” Therefore this trashy government likes to pass over questions since alternatives lurk in them. The protocol of the aesthetic ideal of neoliberalism completely excludes alternatives.



COMMONS AS TRANSFORMATIVE POWER


by Silke Helfrich and David Bollier


[This chapter in the 2012 book “Wealth of the Commons” (“Commons: For a New Politics Beyond Market and State” is translated from the German on the Internet.]


FOREWORD


Designing a politics of the future is a high claim. The Heinrich Boll foundation wishes to join and support visionary thinkers and pioneers of social and ecological innovations worldwide who are urgently needed for the necessary transformation of our destructive economic style.


The protagonists of the Commons debate are pioneers. They are engaged locally and internationally against the further privatization and commercialization of nature, knowledge, public space and for another form of institutional organization. The Commons is suited for a great narrative. Its potential consists in developing social innovation as a crucial lever of social transformation. This level is not technological progress, increased efficiency or the export of social participation and democratic institutions. With the Commons, the question is raised how they can be protected and developed further by strengthening trustful and fair social relations.


Since 2007 the Heinrich Boll foundation has been engaged for the commons as a politics of the future. Interdisciplinary social discussions, “time for the commons,” were the starting signal. In 2009 the anthology was published by Silke Helfrich “Who Owns the World? On the Rediscovery of Common Property.” A year later a readable introduction into the world of the commons and commoning “Common Property – Prosperity through Sharing” was published.


Further development of the Commons theory, refining its political justification, exchanging initiatives for a commons-sensitive politics and strengthening the international network of different commons initiatives are our interests. The idea for this book arose at the international conference “Constructing a Commons Based Policy Platform” in November 2010 in cooperation with the Commons Strategies Group...


With an abundance of theoretical initiatives, analyses and reports from praxis, this book is directed to readers who are open, who can be inspired and also irritated, who are ready to break out of their conventional encrusted thinking patters and who are curious and joyful about experimenting.