Idiotism: Capitalism and the Privatisation of Life

Idiotism: Capitalism and the Privatisation of Life

Neal Curtis

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 0745331556

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Idiotism examines the condition of society in late capitalism where the market logic of neoliberalism has become the new ‘common sense’, taken as the model for the organisation and management of all aspects of social life. Using the Greek word idios, meaning 'private', Neal Curtis calls this privatisation of the world ‘idiotism’.

Constructing a new vocabulary with which to understand contemporary society, Curtis examines 'idiotism' across the spheres of economics, politics and culture, drawing on the philosophy and political theories of Martin Heidegger, Louis Althusser, Franco Berardi, Jacques Rancière and Cornelius Castoriadis.

Idiotism recasts our conception of the new neoliberal 'common sense', presenting it as not simply a case of false consciousness, but an ontological problem related to our being-in-the-world.

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due to the colour of their skin really not be seen as the imposition of costs when this person may not be able to secure earnings? And how can it be said that this involves no involuntary exchange when the victim of racism is forced to secure work beneath their qualifications and experience because it is the only one open to a black person. Here again we can see the incredibly impoverished sense of freedom that free marketeers work with. This is because an environment of discrimination doesn’t

absolutely essential that these units and their managers accept the ruling dogma and Curtis T02433 01 text 109 10/10/2012 08:33 110  IDIOTISM open themselves to the workings of free market capital if they are to retain relative strength with regard to discretionary wealth. A managerialist view of the TCC also permits us to see fractions that are both national and transnational at the same time, such as the globalising technopols of national governments who must ‘look after’ their own

of the life instinct or pleasure principle are (excessively) repressed by the civilising effect of the reality principle, something he renamed the performance principle or the stratification of an acquisitive and antagonistic society according to the competitive performances of its individuals. Interestingly, though – and this, of course, is the point of Marcuse’s intervention – this seems to be little more than a cultivation of the state of nature rather than its replacement by the civilising

The idea that the pursuit of private interests in a free market of goods and services is the best way to achieve the common good can be traced back to 1 Curtis T02433 01 text 1 10/10/2012 08:33 2  IDIOTISM the eighteenth-century liberalism of Adam Smith, but the idea that common land is more productive under private ownership dates back to the seventeenth century and the work of William Petty and John Locke. Locke in particular gave the philosophical justification for the enclosure of common

no matter how much human life is enclosed, regulated and managed has its practical analogue in the cracks that John Holloway finds in the uniform surface of contemporary capitalism. He in turn desists from a call for a frontal assault but argues instead that the best defence against the current formation of power is the ‘mutual resonance of ordinary rebelliousness’ (2010:258). His call is to ‘open the enclosed’ by using the existing cracks to doing things differently: ‘Make holes […]. Create

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