Iâ€™ve recently read A Brief History of Neo-liberalism by David Harvey which I highly recommend. It is clear and short and accessible to the general reader (excellent attributes for a book to have). In it he maps the growth of neo-liberal policies and maps out a framework, â€˜accumulation of dispossessionâ€™, by which these policies can be understand. There are four elements to this: commodification and privatization of assets that were formally public goods, the growth of financial markets, the management and manipulation of crisis to promote elites and finally state redistributions that supports the flow of money to the elite.
You can listen to David Harvey talk about the book here
But thatâ€™s not what I intended to blog about. A couple of years ago Lawrence arranged for some puppeteers from Argentina to come to Ireland to give a show which explained the crisis in Argentina and the response of social movements to it. Before the show, I was a bit sniffy about the idea. For me puppets meant Wanderly Wanderly Wagon â€“ good, if you were under five. I was wrong. The puppet show was entrancing, and since then Iâ€™ve often told colleagues that I would love to give an introduction course on Marx, Weber and Durkhiem â€“ through puppets. They think Iâ€™m joking, but Iâ€™m not.
What does this have to do with neoliberalism? Thanks to the sociology blog Wicked Anomie, Iâ€™ve found these sock-puppets discussing how neoliberalism introduced changes at the workplace, with a nod to Marx and a pessimistic Foucaul (Fergal will like that).