The neoliberal state, despite claims to the contrary, wields strong planning powers, which it enacts through close collaboration with corporate and financial interests. No one should be fooled anymore by the democratic aura that neoliberals still hope to evoke when they claim that the market decides. The decision-making market in such statements is a euphemism, at best, for the forces of wealth, including the banks and financial powers, that wield formidable instruments of planning. They determine, for example, what software will be developed, what dams will be built, who will buy a house, and so forth.
Hardt and Negri (Declaration)
The potential for madness in faith is activated…. when their ardent confessions honor a source of morality at odds with the one we construe to be universal, or challenge our demand to dominate public space…. The more relentless the drive to universalize an existential faith, the more its supporters experience otherwise tolerable differences to be forms of persecution demanding reprisal.
That temptation is not sufficiently modulated through the practice of secularism…. secularists themselves very often have inordinate faith in the self-sufficiency of the public procedures they endorse…. Euro-American secularists typically overplay the autonomy of public reason… and discount the extent to which the concepts of free will, punishment, and public morality that they deploy express the history of the Christendom in which they participate.William E. Connolly (Pluralism)
State power restructures temporality itself, since the problem of terrorism is no longer a historically or geographically limited problem: it is limitless and without end, and this means that the state of emergency is potentially limitless and without end, and that the prospects of an exercise of state power in its lawlessness structures the future indefinitely. The future becomes a lawless future, not anarchical, but given over to the discretionary decisions of a set of designated sovereigns… who are beholden to nothing and to no one except the performative power of their own decisions.
Judith Butler (Precarious Life)
It is no longer true that producing more means working more, or that producing more will lead to a better way of life. The connection between more and better has been broken…
André Gorz (Critique of Economic Reason)
You can only say something is efficient in relation to your objectives. The superior efficiency of the market economy turns out either to be illusory or to have hidden costs. It only functions as well as it does because it assumes continued uncompensated contributions and support from the very non-market institutions it is undermining.
Any political approach or theoretical claim dependent upon the discovery of the truth of the world or human nature commits a significant error. Such approaches ignore the historical and emergent character of the meaning of truth; the meaning of reality is our common project, disclosed by our actions. When we come to view truth as something to be discovered ‘out there’ we subjugate ourselves to our own creations.
Edward Wingenbach (“Martin Heidegger”)
- One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns.
- Cheesus cannot deal with tragedy. Which is why, for the worst sort of Cheesus-loving evangelicals, the cross of Good Friday is actually celebrated as a moment of triumph. This is theologically illiterate. Next week, in the run up to Easter, Christianity goes into existential crisis. It fails.
Analysis of such data conducted for this report suggests the reduction in the top tax rates has had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth. It is reasonable to assume that a tax rate change limited to a small group of taxpayers at the top of the income distribution would have a negligible effect on economic growth.
CRS Report for Congress, updated 12 Dec. 2012 (‘Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945’)
(In case you needed evidence of the falsity of the claim that raising the marginal tax rate on the rich is tantamount to punching the economy in the face)
The idea that economic growth is an end in itself implies that society is a means.
François Flahault (Le paradoxe de Robinson. Capitalisme et société)
Who is more faithful to reason’s call, who hears it with a keener ear, who better sees the difference, the one who offers questions in return and tries to think through the possibility of that summons, or the one who does not want to hear any question about the reason of reason?
Jacques Derrida (‘The Principle of Reason: The University in the Eyes of Its Pupils’)
[A] great embarrassing fact… haunts all attempts to represent the market as the highest form of human freedom: that historically, impersonal, commercial markets originate in theft.
David Graeber (Debt: The First 5,000 Years)