Monday, November 24, 2014

Paul Verhaeghe — Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us

An economic system that rewards psychopathic personality traits has changed our ethics and our personalities… 
We tend to perceive our identities as stable and largely separate from outside forces. But over decades of research and therapeutic practice, I have become convinced that economic change is having a profound effect not only on our values but also on our personalities. Thirty years of neoliberalism, free-market forces and privatisation have taken their toll, as relentless pressure to achieve has become normative. If you’re reading this sceptically, I put this simple statement to you: meritocratic neoliberalism favours certain personality traits and penalises others.…
There are constant laments about the so-called loss of norms and values in our culture. Yet our norms and values make up an integral and essential part of our identity. So they cannot be lost, only changed. And that is precisely what has happened: a changed economy reflects changed ethics and brings about changed identity. The current economic system is bringing out the worst in us. 
The Guardian
Neoliberalism has brought out the worst in us
Paul Verhaeghe | Professor and Chair of the Department for Psychoanalysis and Counseling Psychology, Ghent University

1 comment:

Unknown said...

My position has always been that being a highly moral person is a huge detriment to being an extremely successful business person.

If you define morality based on the golden rule, then many business transactions violate it. Firing people, holding down wages, misleading sales pitches and advertisements (as all sales pitches and advertisements are misleading on some level), maximizing profits and dollars is by definition done at the expense of other things. The whole concept of using leverage in a negotiation to make someone cave to your demands, etc

All of this is necessary to be a truly successful business person, if success is measured by market share and income. And I've personally partaken in all of it (and Im certainly not financially successful) and dont consider myself to be immoral. Maybe thats me being a hypocrite or maybe its just comparing apples to speedboats. I dont know. I just think as a general rule, that society shouldnt worship the extremely wealthy because more likely than not that means they've screwed alot of people over on their way to the top.

The whole behind every great fortune is a great crime thing I guess