Jonathan Rutherford

Gaaaah! Argleargleargle….

Is it no longer necessary to have an education before one becomes a Professor? Even  a professor of cultural studies at Middlesex University?

We are on the cusp of a paradigmatic political change. The era of economic restructuring with its blind faith in the free market, hyper-consumerism and winner takes all, is drawing to its close. Selfish individualism has been dealt a fatal blow by casino capitalism and unprecedented levels of personal debt. The politics of Thatcherism and New Labour is now defunct. Gordon Brown\’s tragic fate is to be the undertaker of his own endeavour.

Interdependency will be the new political virtue. Individual market choice will no longer command policymaking. Instead relationships will be the priority. Emotional life, not rational choice, is the glue that holds society together. Emotional intelligence and trust, not micro-management, is what makes organisations function well. Emotional liveliness, not testing, creates good education. Collective enterprise, not competitive individualism, is at the core of a successful economy.

Missing from this is any understanding that the thing which creates interdependency, the method by which humans can cooperate, is markets.

If we\’re all autarkic in our production and consumption then we don\’t cooperate with those around us. The moment we start to exchange things voluntarily (the very definition of a market) we have started to cooperate with them, we\’ve become interdependent. My being able to eat depends in part upon people\’s willingness to buy newspapers which I have written in. I, the newspaper readers (and all who produce them), the farmers and the retailers have all become, in however tiny a manner, interdependent as a result of my not being a self-sufficient peasant farmer.

Fuck me the man\’s an ill educated spazz.

Further elucidation here.

3 thoughts on “Jonathan Rutherford”

  1. I love the torrent of obituaries for capitalism that are gushing from left of field at the moment. They have been waiting for this moment since 1989 (1991?).

    What they fail to understand is that the capitalist patient is robust and a bout of high fever can be dealt with. The socialist patient on the other hand was so decrepid that a cold finished it off.

    Whilst they call it something else, they want to revert to the system that has already completely failed.

  2. A “yes, but” . Markets do coordinate the activities of interdependent individuals. But so did the old Soviet state. Hence, markets may be the best way we have yet found, but they are not the only way to coordinate activities and thus achieve interdependence.

  3. Thomas:

    The word “interdependent” has the usual (though not the only necessary) connotation
    of rough equality of station between the interdependent entities; in other words, what we (in the US) recognize as “equality before the law”). Competition between such entities is for the favor of “he who pays the piper” (and thus calls the tune): the consumer. It’s the consumer who determines (by choices exercised in the market) who shall have which jobs and at what remuneration. Each must submit to the role chosen for him by the consumer; a man is free to defy their wishes–but he must pay for his defiance in the form of reduced income.

    It is otherwise in the socialist state. The “coordination of activities” of which you speak is the sort of coordination that occurs between an owner of slaves and those who must serve him because they fear one or another form of punishment if they do not. Few are anxious to excel at any time because to do so may well set the standard for the future–for which he may well rue his spurt of industry (and be subjected to ignominy (or worse) among fellow workers resentful at the prospect of being spurred to greater exertion.

    It may seem that the managers of production in the various branches stand in the same relationship as do bosses in free-market firms. This would be illusory. Their function is to make sure that the minimally-acceptable output is achieved, where, in the capitalist market, they are intermediary collaborators in a joint effort to “make profit, avoid loss.”

    Under one system, are are free to do as they wish, within constraints both of nature and the criminal law. Under the other, all are unconditionally bound to obey. I shall not be the first to observe that the seeming interdependence of men in such a society is more akin to the activities of ants in their hills.

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