So here are some examples of what I find odious in the everyday mediascape.
Bruce Sterling links to a talk by noted futurologist Paul Saffo, in the course of which Saffo praises the government of Singapore as an exemplary sort of “democracy”; Saffo says (I paraphrase) that the social contract between the government and the people in Singapore is that the government promises not to be corrupt, to make the trains run on time, to foster a good business climate, etc., and the people in response promise not to rock the boat by opposing the government or making any sort of unseemly political and economic demands. Wonderful for capitalism and capitalists; not so wonderful if you are an underpaid guest worker in that good business climate.
Meanwhile, a New York Times article describes how Angela Merkel has high popularity ratings as Chancellor of Germany, precisely because she has dropped the Thatcherite threats on which she campaigned, and has instead refrained from dismantling the welfare state. The article bemoans the fact that Merkel hasn’t been able to pursue her reforms, because the German people are “more than content to let the state care for them, from kindergarten all the way to retirement,” because they “have not been trained for the last 20 or 30 years to take responsibility for their own lives.” As usual in neoliberal discourse, “responsibility” is a code word for leaving everyone who isn’t rich to suffer, and in fact blaming the victims for the very fact that they have been so left out in the cold. It’s the way that the supposedly “progressive” (i.e. anti-Bush, “blue state”) NY Times adopts this sort of neoliberal worldview as being a self-evident truth, not even worthy of debate, that so disgusts me.
Rant over; this blog will now return to its usual highminded programming.