1. Jamie Peck, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (Oxford University Press, 2010)
Countless books have been written on the nature of neoliberalism. In my opinion, this one is the best of the lot. Much of the critical literature on neoliberalism presents it as omnipotent and one-dimensional – as a hegemonic class project or a mysterious deus ex-machina that relentlessly hollows out the state and marketizes all forms of social existence. Peck distances himself from such representations, providing a detailed and nuanced genealogy of neoliberalism, which emphasises its diverse sources, its internal incoherence, and its ceaseless transformation in response to repeated crises. Peck distinguishes two phases of the neoliberal project: first there was the ‘roll back neoliberalism’ of Thatcherism, Reaganomics, shock therapy, and the Washington Consensus, which sought to roll back the interventionist state and allow market society to spontaneously flourish. When this failed to achieve the desired results, it was replaced by ‘roll-out neoliberalism’, which aimed to compensate for the multiple ‘market failures’ of the roll-back phase, through the rolling out of an increasingly comprehensive set of social reforms and institutional modifications that remained faithful to neoliberal fundamentals. Hence the Post-Washington Consensus of the World Bank, the Third Way of the Blair and Clinton era, as well as numerous subsequent iterations of the roll-back/roll-out dialectic. Peck therefore insists that “it is necessary to recognize the free-market project’s adaptive (and co-optive) capacities, rather than relying on cartoon-like versions of its supposedly invariant essence’ (p. 276). This argument helped me to understand Jeffrey Sachs’s transformation from Dr Shock into Mr Aid, not as a ‘road to Damascus’ rejection of neoliberalism, but as a transition that remained internal to the trajectory of neoliberalism itself.
The Knight Center reports that on December 21, 2013, a group of armed men stormed the home of Mexican journalist Anabel Hernández, author of this fall's Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers:
On Dec. 21, about a dozen individuals armed with AK-47 rifles and handguns shut off the street where Hernández lives, entering a number of other residences to ask for the journalist’s home. They de-activated the security cameras in the neighborhood, including those that were installed in Hernández’s house.
Hernández was not at home when the incident occurred.
The individuals, who at first identified themselves as agents of the Federal Police, and then as “Zetas,” briefly detained and punched one of the bodyguards assigned by Mexico City authorities to protect Hernández, who was in the journalist’s house at the time of the incident.
The reasons for the home invasion are unclear. The armed group was in the neighborhood for approximately a half hour; however, authorities did not respond to the incident.
The panicky response to WikiLeaks from some liberals has had its opera buffa highlights. WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer and New Yorker liberal hawk George Packer clucked like wet hens in horror at WikiLeaks’ release of a (ludicrously) classified list of world locations of strategic interest to the United States. Can we ever be safe now that the terrorists know there are vast mineral reserves in Central Africa, and that the Strait of Gibraltar is a vital shipping lane? Ambrose Bierce said that war is God’s way of teaching geography to Americans, but have we become so infantilized that grade-school factoids must be guarded as state secrets?