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语言文化论文-The essence of neoliberalism .doc

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语言文化论文-The essence of neoliberalism .doc

语言文化论文TheessenceofneoliberalismAsthedominantdiscoursewouldhaveit,theeconomicworldisapureandperfectorder,implacablyunrollingthelogicofitspredictableconsequences,andprompttorepressallviolationsbythesanctionsthatitinflicts,eitherautomaticallyormoreunusuallythroughtheintermediaryofitsarmedextensions,theInternationalMonetaryFundIMFandtheOrganizationforEconomicCooperationandDevelopmentOECDandthepoliciestheyimposereducinglabourcosts,reducingpublicexpendituresandmakingworkmoreflexible.IsthedominantdiscourserightWhatif,inreality,thiseconomicorderwerenomorethantheimplementationofautopiatheutopiaofneoliberalismthusconvertedintoapoliticalproblemOnethat,withtheaidoftheeconomictheorythatitproclaims,succeedsinconceivingofitselfasthescientificdescriptionofrealityThistutelarytheoryisapuremathematicalfiction.Fromthestartithasbeenfoundedonaformidableabstraction.For,inthenameofanarrowandstrictconceptionofrationalityasindividualrationality,itbracketstheeconomicandsocialconditionsofrationalorientationsandtheeconomicandsocialstructuresthataretheconditionoftheirapplication.Togivethemeasureofthisomission,itisenoughtothinkjustoftheeducationalsystem.Educationisnevertakenaccountofassuchatatimewhenitplaysadeterminingroleintheproductionofgoodsandservicesasintheproductionoftheproducersthemselves.Fromthissortoforiginalsin,inscribedintheWalrasianmyth1ofpuretheory,flowallofthedeficienciesandfaultsofthedisciplineofeconomicsandthefatalobstinacywithwhichitattachesitselftothearbitraryoppositionwhichitinduces,throughitsmereexistence,betweenaproperlyeconomiclogic,basedoncompetitionandefficiency,andsociallogic,whichissubjecttotheruleoffairness.Thatsaid,thistheorythatisdesocialisedanddehistoricisedatitsrootshas,todaymorethanever,themeansofmakingitselftrueandempiricallyverifiable.Ineffect,neoliberaldiscourseisnotjustonediscourseamongmany.Rather,itisastrongdiscoursethewaypsychiatricdiscourseisinanasylum,inErvingGoffmansanalysis2.Itissostrongandsohardtocombatonlybecauseithasonitssidealloftheforcesofaworldofrelationsofforces,aworldthatitcontributestomakingwhatitis.Itdoesthismostnotablybyorientingtheeconomicchoicesofthosewhodominateeconomicrelationships.Itthusaddsitsownsymbolicforcetotheserelationsofforces.Inthenameofthisscientificprogramme,convertedintoaplanofpoliticalaction,animmensepoliticalprojectisunderway,althoughitsstatusassuchisdeniedbecauseitappearstobepurelynegative.Thisprojectaimstocreatetheconditionsunderwhichthetheorycanberealisedandcanfunctionaprogrammeofthemethodicaldestructionofcollectives.Themovementtowardtheneoliberalutopiaofapureandperfectmarketismadepossiblebythepoliticsoffinancialderegulation.Anditisachievedthroughthetransformativeand,itmustbesaid,destructiveactionofallofthepoliticalmeasuresofwhichthemostrecentistheMultilateralAgreementonInvestmentMAI,designedtoprotectforeigncorporationsandtheirinvestmentsfromnationalstatesthataimtocallintoquestionanyandallcollectivestructuresthatcouldserveasanobstacletothelogicofthepuremarketthenation,whosespacetomanoeuvrecontinuallydecreasesworkgroups,forexamplethroughtheindividualisationofsalariesandofcareersasafunctionofindividualcompetences,withtheconsequentatomisationofworkerscollectivesforthedefenceoftherightsofworkers,unions,associations,cooperativeseventhefamily,whichlosespartofitscontroloverconsumptionthroughtheconstitutionofmarketsbyagegroups.Theneoliberalprogrammedrawsitssocialpowerfromthepoliticalandeconomicpowerofthosewhoseinterestsitexpressesstockholders,financialoperators,industrialists,conservativeorsocialdemocraticpoliticianswhohavebeenconvertedtothereassuringlayoffsoflaisserfaire,highlevelfinancialofficialseagertoimposepoliciesadvocatingtheirownextinctionbecause,unlikethemanagersoffirms,theyrunnoriskofhavingeventuallytopaytheconsequences.Neoliberalismtendsonthewholetofavourseveringtheeconomyfromsocialrealitiesandtherebyconstructing,inreality,aneconomicsystemconformingtoitsdescriptioninpuretheory,thatisasortoflogicalmachinethatpresentsitselfasachainofconstraintsregulatingeconomicagents.Theglobalisationoffinancialmarkets,whenjoinedwiththeprogressofinformationtechnology,ensuresanunprecedentedmobilityofcapital.Itgivesinvestorsconcernedwiththeshorttermprofitabilityoftheirinvestmentsthepossibilityofpermanentlycomparingtheprofitabilityofthelargestcorporationsand,inconsequence,penalisingthesefirmsrelativesetbacks.Subjectedtothispermanentthreat,thecorporationsthemselveshavetoadjustmoreandmorerapidlytotheexigenciesofthemarkets,underpenaltyoflosingthemarketsconfidence,astheysay,aswellasthesupportoftheirstockholders.Thelatter,anxioustoobtainshorttermprofits,aremoreandmoreabletoimposetheirwillonmanagers,usingfinancialdirectoratestoestablishtherulesunderwhichmanagersoperateandtoshapetheirpoliciesregardinghiring,employment,andwages.Thustheabsolutereignofflexibilityisestablished,withemployeesbeinghiringonfixedtermcontractsoronatemporarybasisandrepeatedcorporaterestructuringsand,withinthefirmitself,competitionamongautonomousdivisionsaswellasamongteamsforcedtoperformmultiplefunctions.Finally,thiscompetitionisextendedtoindividualsthemselves,throughtheindividualisationofthewagerelationshipestablishmentofindividualperformanceobjectives,individualperformanceevaluations,permanentevaluation,individualsalaryincreasesorgrantingofbonusesasafunctionofcompetenceandofindividualmeritindividualisedcareerpathsstrategiesofdelegatingresponsibilitytendingtoensuretheselfexploitationofstaffwho,simplewagelabourersinrelationsofstronghierarchicaldependence,areatthesametimeheldresponsiblefortheirsales,theirproducts,theirbranch,theirstore,etc.asthoughtheywereindependentcontractors.Thispressuretowardselfcontrolextendsworkersinvolvementaccordingtothetechniquesofparticipativemanagementconsiderablybeyondmanagementlevel.Allofthesearetechniquesofrationaldominationthatimposeoverinvolvementinworkandnotonlyamongmanagementandworkunderemergencyorhighstressconditions.Andtheyconvergetoweakenorabolishcollectivestandardsorsolidarities3.Inthisway,aDarwinianworldemergesitisthestruggleofallagainstallatalllevelsofthehierarchy,whichfindssupportthrougheveryoneclingingtotheirjobandorganisationunderconditionsofinsecurity,suffering,andstress.Withoutadoubt,thepracticalestablishmentofthisworldofstrugglewouldnotsucceedsocompletelywithoutthecomplicityofalloftheprecariousarrangementsthatproduceinsecurityandoftheexistenceofareservearmyofemployeesrendereddocilebythesesocialprocessesthatmaketheirsituationsprecarious,aswellasbythepermanentthreatofunemployment.Thisreservearmyexistsatalllevelsofthehierarchy,evenatthehigherlevels,especiallyamongmanagers.Theultimatefoundationofthisentireeconomicorderplacedunderthesignoffreedomisineffectthestructuralviolenceofunemployment,oftheinsecurityofjobtenureandthemenaceoflayoffthatitimplies.Theconditionoftheharmoniousfunctioningoftheindividualistmicroeconomicmodelisamassphenomenon,theexistenceofareservearmyoftheunemployed.Thisstructuralviolencealsoweighsonwhatiscalledthelabourcontractwiselyrationalisedandrenderedunrealbythetheoryofcontracts.Organisationaldiscoursehasnevertalkedasmuchoftrust,cooperation,loyalty,andorganisationalcultureasinanerawhenadherencetotheorganisationisobtainedateachmomentbyeliminatingalltemporalguaranteesofemploymentthreequartersofhiresareforfixedduration,theproportionoftemporaryemployeeskeepsrising,employmentatwillandtherighttofireanindividualtendtobefreedfromanyrestriction.Thusweseehowtheneoliberalutopiatendstoembodyitselfintherealityofakindofinfernalmachine,whosenecessityimposesitselfevenupontherulers.LiketheMarxismofanearliertime,withwhich,inthisregard,ithasmuchincommon,thisutopiaevokespowerfulbeliefthefreetradefaithnotonlyamongthosewholiveoffit,suchasfinanciers,theownersandmanagersoflargecorporations,etc.,butalsoamongthose,suchashighlevelgovernmentofficialsandpoliticians,whoderivetheirjustificationforexistingfromit.Fortheysanctifythepowerofmarketsinthenameofeconomicefficiency,whichrequirestheeliminationofadministrativeorpoliticalbarrierscapableofinconveniencingtheownersofcapitalintheirindividualquestforthemaximisationofindividualprofit,whichhasbeenturnedintoamodelofrationality.Theywantindependentcentralbanks.Andtheypreachthesubordinationofnationstatestotherequirementsofeconomicfreedomforthemastersoftheeconomy,withthesuppressionofanyregulationofanymarket,beginningwiththelabourmarket,theprohibitionofdeficitsandinflation,thegeneralprivatisationofpublicservices,andthereductionofpublicandsocialexpenses.Economistsmaynotnecessarilysharetheeconomicandsocialinterestsofthetruebelieversandmayhaveavarietyofindividualpsychicstatesregardingtheeconomicandsocialeffectsoftheutopiawhichtheycloakwithmathematicalreason.Nevertheless,theyhaveenoughspecificinterestsinthefieldofeconomicsciencetocontributedecisivelytotheproductionandreproductionofbeliefintheneoliberalutopia.Separatedfromtherealitiesoftheeconomicandsocialworldbytheirexistenceandaboveallbytheirintellectualformation,whichismostfrequentlypurelyabstract,bookish,andtheoretical,theyareparticularlyinclinedtoconfusethethingsoflogicwiththelogicofthings.Theseeconomiststrustmodelsthattheyalmostneverhaveoccasiontosubmittothetestofexperimentalverificationandareledtolookdownupontheresultsoftheotherhistoricalsciences,inwhichtheydonotrecognisethepurityandcrystallinetransparencyoftheirmathematicalgames,whosetruenecessityandprofoundcomplexitytheyareoftenincapableofunderstanding.Theyparticipateandcollaborateinaformidableeconomicandsocialchange.Evenifsomeofitsconsequenceshorrifythemtheycanjointhesocialistpartyandgivelearnedcounseltoitsrepresentativesinthepowerstructure,itcannotdispleasethembecause,attheriskofafewfailures,imputabletowhattheysometimescallspeculativebubbles,ittendstogiverealitytotheultralogicalutopiaultralogicallikecertainformsofinsanitytowhichtheyconsecratetheirlives.Andyettheworldisthere,withtheimmediatelyvisibleeffectsoftheimplementationofthegreatneoliberalutopianotonlythepovertyofanincreasinglylargesegmentofthemosteconomicallyadvancedsocieties,theextraordinarygrowthinincomedifferences,theprogressivedisappearanceofautonomousuniversesofculturalproduction,suchasfilm,publishing,etc.,throughtheintrusiveimpositionofcommercialvalues,butalsoandabovealltwomajortrends.Firstisthedestructionofallthecollectiveinstitutionscapableofcounteractingtheeffectsoftheinfernalmachine,primarilythoseofthestate,repositoryofalloftheuniversalvaluesassociatedwiththeideaofthepublicrealm.Secondistheimpositioneverywhere,intheupperspheresoftheeconomyandthestateasattheheartofcorporations,ofthatsortofmoralDarwinismthat,withthecultofthewinner,schooledinhighermathematicsandbungeejumping,institutesthestruggleofallagainstallandcynicismasthenormofallactionandbehaviour.CanitbeexpectedthattheextraordinarymassofsufferingproducedbythissortofpoliticaleconomicregimewillonedayserveasthestartingpointofamovementcapableofstoppingtheracetotheabyssIndeed,wearefacedherewithanextraordinaryparadox.Theobstaclesencounteredonthewaytorealisingtheneworderofthelone,butfreeindividualareheldtodaytobeimputabletorigiditiesandvestiges.Alldirectandconsciousinterventionofwhateverkind,atleastwhenitcomesfromthestate,isdiscreditedinadvanceandthuscondemnedtoeffaceitselfforthebenefitofapureandanonymousmechanism,themarket,whosenatureasasitewhereinterestsareexercisedisforgotten.Butinreality,whatkeepsthesocialorderfromdissolvingintochaos,despitethegrowingvolumeoftheendangeredpopulation,isthecontinuityorsurvivalofthoseveryinstitutionsandrepresentativesoftheoldorderthatisintheprocessofbeingdismantled,andalltheworkofallofthecategoriesofsocialworkers,aswellasalltheformsofsocialsolidarity,familialorotherwise.Thetransitiontoliberalismtakesplaceinanimperceptiblemanner,likecontinentaldrift,thushidingitseffectsfromview.Itsmostterribleconsequencesarethoseofthelongterm.Theseeffectsthemselvesareconcealed,paradoxically,bytheresistancetowhichthistransitioniscurrentlygivingriseamongthosewhodefendtheoldorderbydrawingontheresourcesitcontained,onoldsolidarities,onreservesofsocialcapitalthatprotectanentireportionofthepresentsocialorderfromfallingintoanomie.Thissocialcapitalisfatedtowitherawayalthoughnotintheshortrunifitisnotrenewedandreproduced.Butthesesameforcesofconservation,whichitistooeasytotreatasconservative,arealso,fromanotherpointofview,forcesofresistancetotheestablishmentoftheneworderandcanbecomesubversiveforces.Ifthereisstillcauseforsomehope,itisthatforcesstillexist,bothinstateinstitutionsandintheorientationsofsocialactorsnotablyindividualsandgroupsmostattachedtotheseinstitutions,thosewithatraditionofcivilandpublicservicethat,undertheappearanceofsimplydefendinganorderthathasdisappearedanditscorrespondingprivilegeswhichiswhattheywillimmediatelybeaccusedof,willbeabletoresistthechallengeonlybyworkingtoinventandconstructanewsocialorder.Onethatwillnothaveasitsonlylawthepursuitofegoisticinterestsandtheindividualpassionforprofitandthatwillmakeroomforcollectivesorientedtowardtherationalpursuitofendscollectivelyarrivedatandcollectivelyratified.Howcouldwenotmakeaspecialplaceamongthesecollectives,associations,unions,andpartiesforthestatethenationstate,orbetteryetthesupranationalstateaEuropeanstateonthewaytowardaworldstatecapableofeffectivelycontrollingandtaxingtheprofitsearnedinthefinancialmarketsand,aboveofall,ofcounteractingthedestructiveimpactthatthelatterhaveonthelabourmarket.Thiscouldbedonewiththeaidoflabourunionsbyorganisingtheelaborationanddefenceofthepublicinterest.Likeitornot,thepublicinterestwillneveremerge,evenatthecostofafewmathematicalerrors,fromthevisionofaccountantsinanearlierperiodonewouldhavesaidofshopkeepersthatthenewbeliefsystempresentsasthesupremeformofhumanaccomplishment.1AugusteWalras180066,Frencheconomist,authorofDelanaturedelarichesseetdeloriginedelavaleurOntheNatureofWealthandontheOriginofValue1848.Hewasoneofthefirsttoattempttoapplymathematicstoeconomicinquiry.2ErvingGoffman.1961.AsylumsEssaysontheSocialSituationofMentalPatientsandOtherInmates.NewYorkAldinedeGruyter.3SeethetwojournalissuesdevotedtoNouvellesformesdedominationdansletravailNewformsofdominationinwork,Actesdelarechercheensciencessociales,nos.114,September1996,and115,December1996,especiallytheintroductionbyGabrielleBalazsandMichelPialoux,CrisedutravailetcrisedupolitiqueWorkcrisisandpoliticalcrisis,no.114p.34.

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