Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Bjarke Skærlund Risager interviews David Harvey about the history and effect of neoliberalism:
I’ve always treated neoliberalism as a political project carried out by the corporate capitalist class as they felt intensely threatened both politically and economically towards the end of the 1960s into the 1970s. They desperately wanted to launch a political project that would curb the power of labor.

In many respects the project was a counterrevolutionary project...
(F)or globalization to work you had to reduce tariffs and empower finance capital, because finance capital is the most mobile form of capital. So finance capital and things like floating currencies became critical to curbing labor.

At the same time, ideological projects to privatize and deregulate created unemployment. So, unemployment at home and offshoring taking the jobs abroad, and a third component: technological change, deindustrialization through automation and robotization. That was the strategy to squash labor.

It was an ideological assault but also an economic assault. To me this is what neoliberalism was about: it was that political project, and I think the bourgeoisie or the corporate capitalist class put it into motion bit by bit.
- Ian Johnston discusses how the privatization of health care in the UK is leading to far worse health outcomes, including decreased overall access to public services and worsening inequality as serious health problems are ignored in favour of delivering less important services to cherry-picked patients. 

- Larry Buhl highlights the disproportionate effect of environmental damage among minority populations - and the policy choices being made to facilitate that harm. (And needless to say, the Wall government's choice to wave through new pipelines without even considering their environmental impacts looks to fall under that category.) But that discriminatory effect also opens the door to dealing with environmental destruction through existing human rights mechanisms - and John Vidal reports on the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines' move to address the effects of climate change.

- Finally, Nathan Robinson comments on the futility of trying to pitch a "stay the course" message to the public which has been sacrificed in the name of the corporate class. And Erika Shaker discusses the need to offer solutions to citizens' underlying complains, lest voters otherwise settle for punishing scapegoats instead.

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