Neoliberal ideology says that the social democratic

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Neoliberal ideology says that the social-democratic solutions are permanently offthe table. That’s just self-justification of elite privilege. Even in a relatively open, globalized, financialized world, there’s no reason tobelieve (aside from the political power of the forces of neoliberalism) that taming mechanisms can’t bereestablished. They just haven’t been reestablished yet.One thought is that the global crises of climate change are going to kill offneoliberalism because there’s noway that the market is going to solve the adaptation problem, let alone the mitigation problem. The giantpublic works needed to deal just with the disruptions of climate change are going to open up another spacefor a new round of the armative stateproviding public goods and social justice goods through mitigatingthe adverse effects of global warming.In any case, that’s taming capitalism. It’s certainly ragged today compared to thirty, forty years ago, but stillpart of the menuof anticapitalism.Escaping capitalism is the more individualistic solution. The hippies indulged in it in the 1960s and 1970s.The pioneers in the Western movement in the United States were escaping capitalism. That was theircentral impulse: to move west, to get out of the clutches of the banks and the landlords. Voluntarysimplicity movements or anti-consumerist movements are a kind of escaping capitalism — people wantingto scale back in order to live more balanced lives.Escaping capitalism is an interesting form of anticapitalism. It has very little potential on its own to betransformative. It can, in some settings, provide useful experiments, useful models for things that couldthen be generalized in altered conditions.Eroding capitalism is the least familiar. That’s more in line, I think, with certain anarchist tendencies.Proudhon can be thought of as an early eroder. His view was, “You create worker cooperatives. They’ll beattractive ways of life. Workers are going to flock to them. Capitalism will collapse because it can’t findanybody to work.”It’s a simple-minded view of how worker cooperatives would survive and compete with capitalists. Marx, inhis famous debate with Proudhon, thought this was ridiculous and dismissed it along with utopian socialistprojects as just pointless little experiments. Worse than pointless — they were diversionary.Later, Marx actually was pretty favorable to worker cooperatives and other forms of cooperatives, and feltthat they were palpable demonstrations that workers could actually govern production and that theproblem with them as a strategy was that they wouldn’t be tolerated. If they were ever a threat to capital,they’d just be destroyed.There are a lot of examples today of economic iniatives that fall under the eroding capitalism rubric. The
1/9/17, 6(01 PMWhy Class Matters | JacobinPage 12 of 17

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Term
Winter
Professor
Walter J. Nicholls
Tags
Capitalism, Marxism, Socialism, Weber, Erik Olin Wright

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