The Great Reset Discussion, Part 6

So what does Klaus Schwab mean when he says that neoliberalism is over and the nation-state has fully recovered from the loss of relevance it had been experiencing pre-COVID?

Schwab is operating with an outdated, simplistic definition of neoliberalism that assumes there will be nothing but markets and no state whatsoever. But it’s not the state that goes away in the neoliberal future. Oh no, not at all. The state will be just fine. It’s the nation-state that will go away. State and nation-state aren’t synonymous, just like cucumber and vegetables aren’t.

Schwab draws his conclusions from the dramatic expansion of state powers under the guise of “an exceptional danger” that SARS-COV-2 supposedly represents and from massive payouts to the quarantined masses in the form of Trumpbucks and their equivalents.

How can we talk about the death of the state, Schwab prompts us to ask, when in California the state governor is prohibiting the use of “indoor bathrooms” when visiting somebody and regulates the pitch of your voice if you decide to sing (seriously, look it up).

Here’s the deal, though. Neoliberalism always relied on the state to enforce its dictates. Ray Kiely, a scholar from the UK, for instance, explained a long time ago that “neoliberalism from the outset was prepared to use state power in ways that would defend the market order.” Remember the birth of neoliberalism in Chile? A brutal dictatorship had to be installed to create a neoliberal society. What we are seeing today is not new. It’s same old, same old.

But how does the increased state spending figure into this situation?

Let’s ask Kiely again. “The expansion of state spending itself,” he says, “doesn’t necessarily challenge or undermine neoliberal rationalities.” It’s all about where the money that the state spends will end up.

As I’ve been saying for years, there is nothing more neoliberal that the Universal Basic Income. And it’s not accidental that Schwab is a great fan of the concept.

2 thoughts on “The Great Reset Discussion, Part 6”

  1. It’s easy to understand if you just think like a control freak. For a time, the best way for a control freak to make lots of money and have lots of power was to be in government and to rule over everyone as a corrupt statist. That way, the control freak in control of the state could use policy to make money go from a taxpayer bank account, to a government bank account, to their bank account.

    After a while of that going on, people got a bit annoyed and decided that since government officials couldn’t stop stealing money and weren’t very good at managing the society anyway, then the private sector should manage everything instead using competition and free markets to do what a bunch of corrupt bureaucrats couldn’t do.

    This idea was called “neoliberalism”, and so lots of control freaks left government where they had been lording over everyone else by decree, and began lording over everyone else through rigged economic systems that helped them be richer than everyone else, and rigged legal systems where they could purchase “justice” instead.

    Anyway lately that hasn’t been going too well either, as perhaps seen in the occupy wall street protests in the USA, yellow vest movement in France, 5 Star movement in Italy, Brexit etc and so all the control freaks aren’t sure what to do.

    But then along came COVID19 which scared the heck out of everyone in the public, which made them more prone to accept governmental decrees that were nonsense, which in turn made it attractive for control freaks to go into government again to rule by decree like the old days – which we are already seeing anyway in such forms as, say, the gift of hundreds of billions to companies on Wall Street.

    This Schwab person sounds particularly snivelling, btw.


  2. I was introduced to the symbiotic relationship between the bureaucratic state and neoliberal free markets by Mirowski’s work, but it’s nice knowing UK scholars also recognized this connection.


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