Negative Capitalism: Cynicism in the Neoliberal Era
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Negative Capitalism: Cynicism in the Neoliberal Era offers a new conceptual framework for understanding the current economic crisis. Through a ranging series of analyses and perspectives, it argues that cynicism has become culturally embedded in the UK and US as an effect of disempowerment by neoliberal capitalism. Yet despite the deprivation and collapse of key social infrastructure like representative democracy, welfare, workers' rights and equal access to resources, there has so far been no collective, effective and sustained overthrow of capitalism. Why is this? The book's central call is for new strategies that unravel this narcissistic cynicism, embracing social democracy, constitutional rights, mass bankruptcies and animate sabotage. Kafka, Foucault, Ballard and de Sade are clashed with the X-Factor, ruinporn, London, and the artwork of Laura Oldfield Ford. Negative Capitalism's polemic is written to incite responses against the cynical malaise of the neoliberal era.
underwritten a whole field of further exchange rates. The US dollar instead became a fiat currency, valued now on financial speculation, US military hegemony, and the access of client states and its own working class to cheap credit. The individual was no longer earthed to a fixed gold standard, but floated now as an abstracted financial value, her or his corporeality, collectivity and agency entirely negated. A compelling vista of a dreary dystopia. The modern nonworker in a control society is a
really believe in the value of what they do, or that they have any meaningful political agency, but this naked fact cannot be openly confessed either. In a cynical era, utopia is replaced by ruin and catastrophe; cheerful and cheeky truth-seeking affirmation is replaced with a cold, hard-lipped demoralisation and retreat into narcissism. Within the history of ideas, a cynical era is one where 19th century positivism, with its faith in universal enlightenment, has been replaced with a late 20th
US Hip-hop to Jungle, Drum and Bass, Garage, 2- Step and more recently Grime and Dubstep. These musical forms are based on a collage of sounds created by software packages like Logic; rhythmic and bass-driven, created in London suburbs like Croydon, Bow, and Tottenham, and spread via the Internet. The future voices of modernity are to be found in the non-places of the suburbs, in the clash between Skinnyman’s ‘council estate of mind’ with Ballard’s coming ‘suburb of the soul’.239 Lacking any
cynicism popularly felt about wars or the competence of the royal family, and an optimistic Scottish nationalism calling for its own independence. So when can we trade in exhaustion, depression and poverty for a new model? I’m angry and exhausted by talking, ready to abandon the rot of the old world and its gaffer-tape solutions. Things will worsen, and there’s little oxygen left for swimming in the neoliberal shit-stream of excuses and pat cynicism. Collectively, a far more socially sustainable
clear economic strategy, assuming the natural goodness of humanity, and targeting 168 capital at obscure points and not at its heart.268 The most brilliant contemporary anticapitalist critics are guilty of assuming that an abstracted multitude, inflated to religious ideal, can through ‘love’ conquer demonic capital and return to the carefree promised land of the Commons.269 The actively political Left’s failure to articulate a popular or even consistent position stems from its inability to