Saturday, May 20, 2023

It is precisely in this conclusion, however, that the analytical shortcomings of Welfare for Markets come into view. Can this metaphysic of money do the explanatory work that Jäger and Zamora ask it to do, given that social life has been principally mediated by money and markets in the Global North for several centuries now? After all, as the authors remind us with the book’s first epigraph, Karl Marx already offered a trenchant critique of the “cash nexus” by the 1840s—nearly a century before the height of the solidaristic politics whose downfall the book justifiably laments. If the monetary mediation of life is really so singularly corrosive, one might wonder how the New Deal emerged at all in a country where life insurance has been a mass industry since the Civil War. It is necessary to push deeper since, as Alyssa Battistoni observed in her political reading of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1929), money is first and foremost a means to life itself. When Woolf marveled at the transubstantiation of the physical money in her hands after a small bequest left her a fixed allowance for life, her elation was entirely unrelated to the possibilities of individualized consumption. “It is remarkable,” Woolf observed, “what a change of temper a fixed income will bring about. No force in the world can take from me my five hundred pounds. Food, house and clothing are mine forever.” 

Battistoni, (Harvard/Barnard/Jacobin/Utopia), is in the middle.

I'm bored.

The great majority of nobles either did not know how, or did not wish, to get rich. The great majority of younger sons had no desire to "derogate." They sought the remedy elsewhere, in a growing exclusiveness. Some held that the nobility should form a body like the clergy and be constituted as a closed caste.

New gen European intellectual historians: "You can't give people free money. It's turn them into vulgar materialists!" The new gen American historians. "Well..."  The corollary to the Americanization of the world.

Back to the review.

Jäger and Zamora, both Belgian, are historians of modern political thought... 

Zamora’s puckishly framed The Last Man Takes LSD: Foucault and the End of the Revolution (2021), co-written with Mitchell Dean, ruffled feathers by exploring what it took to be Michael Foucault’s alleged late career dalliance with the libertarian undercurrents of neoliberal and Californian thinking.

Again too perfect. Back to Baudelaire.

This habitude of military metaphors denotes minds not military, but made for discipline, that is, for conformity, minds born domesticated, Belgian minds, which can think only in society. 

Foucault was a libertine. The demimonde is always full of monarchists. The "ruffled feathers" belong to moralists. Genet opposed prison reform because prison made him what he was. It's almost bizarre that I even have to say this shit.

In his mid 30s my brother quit his job, left his apartment and moved into a homeless shelter to work on his chess game. The man on the right is the Representative of the Dutch Ministry of Finance and self-described paleo-libertarian. My brother works as a proofreader. He won the game, winning the tournament and two weeks in Russia.

All of the writers above live lives dedicated to work, competition, argument, posing, and climbing. People who aren't interested in any of those things shouldn't be forced to suffer all the consequences. Oxbridge philosophs and Oxbridge bankers are cut from the same cloth: they like to win and rule. 

Give people free money and legalize bloodsport. Bring back politics and stop teaching its theory. Teach history from second grade and leave philosophy as an elective in college. France is different. The relation to the Netherlandish and the Anglosphere is an interesting topic.
Torracinta (Boston Review) again
One might expect to encounter this perspective in the words of transfer recipients themselves. Yet in perhaps the biggest shortcoming of the intellectual historical orientation of Welfare for Markets, such voices are entirely absent. Firmly ensconced in the world of planners, economists, utopians, technocrats, philosophers, and the occasional activist, the book notably overlooks the views of the poor, who are portrayed in precisely the same abstract fashion that Jäger and Zamora explicitly decry when it comes to economic theory.
more on Jäger and Zamora
Torracinta, here second row left

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