After the most amazing event in 2008—the bailout of the banking sector by the leading proponent of pro-market policies—neoliberalism, as an ideology (the "Washington consensus," the much imagined benefits of the privatization of everything imaginable), was exposed as nothing more than a bunch of hot air. Yet, this exposure, the fact that everyone now knows that capitalism cannot "go it alone," has not dealt even a dent on the shell of the neoliberal machine. Neoliberalism is still in full effect. Proof? This very recent BBC report is all the proof you need:
Romania is to cut wages and pensions in the public sector later this year to comply with an IMF-led rescue deal.This is nothing but classic structural adjustment, and it's imposed despite the fact the leading proponent of such policies, the US government, does not follow them—and it's not just the bank bailout but also the billions Bush gave in subsides to the cotton industry.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said the "programme to cut public expenses was inevitable".
Public sector wages will be cut by 25% and all salaries, including the minimum one, will be affected. Jobless benefits and pensions will be slashed by 15%.
Romania is the recipient of a 20bn-euro aid package from the IMF, the EU and the World Bank.
The country, as well as two other bailed-out states, Latvia and Hungary, have missed targets for cutting their deficits by significant margins.
"This [cuts] plan was inevitable," Mr Basescu told a news conference.
"The state sector is like a fat man of 200 kg sitting on the back of a 50 kg little man who is the real economy."
The third cycle of Pop Life at Hidmo (the first cycle was about the cosmopolitan body, the second the status of the inhabitant) wants to examine this amazing turn of events—the continuation of neoliberal policies after the collapse of neoliberal ideology: the body walks without its ghost. Meaning, neoliberalism is functioning sans legitimacy; and it's possible to see in this a kind of strange mimicry of the very situation of the subject neoliberalism itself produced, the inhabitant: a person who often functions "sans papiers."
Tomorrow, the first meeting will focus on the importance or place of ideology in the Marxist tradition. The second discussion will concern neoliberal ideology and its impact on the emerging global culture. The third and final part of the cycle will discuss the ideal subject of this ideology—the kind of person it reflects.