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The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society

A far-reaching deconstruction of neoliberalism’s economic agenda, political imposition and mystifying techniques

Exploring the genesis of neoliberalism, and the political and economic circumstances of its deployment, Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval dispel numerous common misconceptions. Neoliberalism is neither a return to classical liberalism nor the restoration of “pure” capitalism. To misinterpret neoliberalism is to fail to understand what is new about it: far from viewing the market as a natural given that limits state action, neoliberalism seeks to construct the market and use it as a model for governments. Only once this is grasped will its opponents be able to meet the unprecedented political and intellectual challenge it poses.

Reviews

  • “Erudite and provocative.”
  • The New Way of the World is the best modern realization of Foucault’s pioneering approach to the history of neoliberalism. It wonderfully explores the European roots and branches of the neoliberal thought collective over the twentieth century, and warns that unthinking misrepresentations of its political project as espousing “laissez-faire” has had the effect of allowing the Left to submit to its siren song.”
  • “Extremely scholarly, this book is an insistent invitation to push theoretical and social critique of the present order beyond the standard analyses.”
  • “To understand these debates [on neoliberalism], the book by Christian Laval and Pierre Dardot on the “neoliberal society” offers us analytical keys. This monument of scholarship draws on the history of ideas, philosophy and sociology.”
  • “A compelling analysis of neoliberal governmentally in the era of capitalist financialization.”

Blog

  • Trump and the Present Crisis

    This piece will appear in Salvage issue 4, which can be pre-ordered here



    Donald Trump’s election to the US Presidency produced shock and disbelief for liberals, progressives, and leftists around the world. Here, in the US, it has been accompanied by a collective nausea that refuses to pass. Even many who recognize the impoverished mythos of America’s democratic perfectibility and exceptionalism mourn the passing of something they never believed. That said, there is a tendency to over-read what an election means in a backward looking way. But elections do not provide us with a diagnostic of a country; they are voter mobilization projects (conducted, in the main, by elites). The interpretation of the results, their meaning and mandate, retains a character of political positioning, even score settling, after the fact. The desire to parse and explain what enabled the disastrous outcome of a Trump Presidency with Republican Party control of the US government is understandable. Most of the early analysis, however, neglects longer term accounting for how we got here, and thus contributes to our collective disorientation.

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  • Precarisation, Indebtedness, Giving Time: Interlacing Lines across Maria Eichorn’s 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours - Isabell Lorey

    At 6pm on 23 April, following a day-long crowded symposium in the otherwise empty Chisenhale Gallery in London, the doors and gates were locked, and a sign affixed to the railings. The next exhibition: Maria Eichorn's 5 weeks, 25 days, 175 hours - a 5 week exhibition which gives every member of staff at the Gallery full-paid time off work to do whatever they want as long as that doesn't involve working at the Gallery.



    Eichorn's work investigates the intersection of contemporary economic and social conditions. To accompany the exhibition, the Chisenhale Gallery have produced a catalogue featuring reflections on Eichorn's work from Stewart Martin and Isabell Lorey - which is reproduced below. For the full catalogue and for more information about the exhibition visit the Chisenhale Gallery's website.

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  • Wolfgang Streeck: ‘Out of the Euro!’

    The political economist and author of Buying Time argues that 'the unified capitalist economy is destroying European diversity' and that in order to save this ideal, 'the monster of monetary union must be unravelled'. 

     

    If everything goes well, then what has been happening before our eyes in the last few days is the beginning of the end of the European monetary union. ‘If the Euro collapses, then so does Europe,’ said Chancellor Merkel, when it was a question of selling to the electors one of the horrendous ‘rescue packages’ for the European banks. Now we have the very opposite. The Euro is in the process of destroying Europe. If the Euro collapses – and let it be soon! – it may be that Europe actually doesn’t collapse. The outcome is certainly not clear; the wounds that monetary union has inflicted are too deep. 

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