Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oleg Komlik — Credit makes you free! Neoliberalism, politics of debt and the subjugation of the working poor

A key inquiry of Susanne Soederberg’s penetrating and original book Debtfare States and the Poverty Industry: Money, Discipline and the Surplus Population is what is ‘the financial’ in which the poor are so kindly asked to join. 
Refuting the mainstream position that financial inclusion is a natural, inevitable and mutually beneficial arrangement, Soederberg convincingly argues that the structural violence inherent to neoliberalism and credit-led accumulation have created and normalized a reality in which the working poor can no longer afford to live without expensive credit.Credit is an instrument of capital accumulation, class regulation, and symbolic subjugation. The book transcends economic treatments of credit and debt by revealing how the poverty industry is extricably linked to the social power of money, the paradoxes in credit-led accumulation, and ‘debtfarism’. The latter refers to rhetorical and regulatory forms of governance that mediate and facilitate the expansion of the poverty industry and the reliance of the poor on credit to augment/replace their wages.…
Economic Sociology and Political Economy
Credit makes you free! Neoliberalism, politics of debt and the subjugation of the working poor
Oleg Komlik

11 comments:

Ryan Harris said...

In a world of driverless transportation, clerkless stores, fully automated farming, automated supply chains, robotic mining... there is no longer a working poor. Everyone in society is either unemployed or stinking bloody rich.

Matt Franko said...

Then we will have to pay people well for 'bread and circuses' and military/security....and retire people earlier. ... rsp

Ryan Harris said...

'bread and circuses'


Do Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Tumblr qualify? Or are they serious industry. Hmm. Sorry for the /sarcasm.

Tom Hickey said...

there is no longer a working poor. Everyone in society is either unemployed or stinking bloody rich.


Catch 22: Actually no one is "unemployed" because only those looking for work are considered unemployed; the rest rest are voluntarily at leisure. If there are no jobs, then by definition everyone not working is voluntarily at leisure, and unemployment is zero. Employment problem solved! :)

Tom Hickey said...

On the level of"bread and circuses" they serve the same function as celeb booty.

The son of a friend of mine was recounting a story recently of being in a restaurant filled with his friends and everyone was intently absorbed in their devices texting each other. He stood and shouted, "Put your F'ing devices away and talk to each other." And he and his friends are in their forties!

I live in a university town so I see a lot of young people out and about, and they are mostly engrossed in their devices.

Calgacus said...

Locked myself out of my car so had to walk home a month or so ago. Had to jump out of the way of a couple of bicyclists steering badly with one hand on the sidewalk, absorbed by their devices in the other, not looking up once.

Neil Wilson said...

"they are mostly engrossed in their devices"

The best prisons are those submitted to voluntarily.

I've often struggled to understand the VC industry that throws huge amounts of money into Computer Games and Movies, almost none of which ever make a return.

However if you look at it from a control point of view it makes perfect sense. Create the media that subdues the masses and makes them compliant.

Then hollowing them out is like taking candy from a baby.

Matt Franko said...

Tom,

Kids dont even want to drive a car anymore...

Ryan,

100k employees at those firms tops... so maybe at best 500k jobs there... we need millions more in the other activities, ie energy, education, medical, infrastructure, environment, etc... think about some of the current major motion pictures, they have budgets of 100s of $millions... sports and athletics could be expanded, physical fitness industry... hunting and fishing, golf, many other things that we could get into... military/security from the head-cutter-offers, etc...

Let's not start to think we have to act like these export zombies in Germany and Japan and the Chinese, and focus purely on material systems all the time...

rsp,

Tom Hickey said...

Kids dont even want to drive a car anymore...

This shows how the culture is changing maybe more than anything.

I was reading a post recently put up by someone living off the grid in the back country of Latin America in the vicinity of a tribe that chooses to live primitively. Except dating now requires devices globally, and the teenagers regularly come by in their dugout canoes to charge their phones from his generator.

Matt Franko said...

Tom,

These kids can tell you the exact DAY their family plans allow a "free" upgrade to the iPhone6.... but they don't know whether the brake and the gas are on the right or left....

I'm not exaggerating....

The Just Gatekeeper said...

On the campus of my alma mater they put stickers on the sidewalks near the pedestrian crossing saying "Look up as you cross the street!" I am not kidding!!