Everything becomes the object of sale

David Harvey

To suggest that the markets and signals from the markets can become the basis for a decision on the distribution of assets — is like to admit that, in principle, everything can be bought and sold. The transformation of something into an object of sale requires the ownership of the processes, facilities, social relations, and means that things can be fixed price and that may be the subject of a contract. It is assumed that the market works as a reliable guide — or as an ethical system — for all the action. Of course, in practice, each society sets certain limits to the purchase.

The location of these boundaries is the subject of protracted debate. Some drugs are declared illegal. Buying and selling of sexual services is illegal in most U.S. states, while in other countries, such transactions may be legitimate, do not apply to the field of criminal and even produce separate and state-regulated industry. Pornography for the most part is in the U.S. under the protection of the law and equated to freedom of expression, although here some of its forms (relating mainly children) are recognized as an outlaw. In the U.S., the honor and dignity are not subject to the sale, and then there is the desire to pursue interesting "corruption" as if its so easy to distinguish from the normal practice of influence and profit in a market.

The conversion to the object of purchase and sale of human sexuality, history, past, or the spectacle of nature as a means of recreation, extraction of monopoly rents from the original, true and unique (this applies to works of art, for example) — all this means assigning prices to the things that were not originally created to sell. " Often there are disputes about whether it is permissible to make a transaction in respect of certain events (such as religious events or characters), or about who should have ownership of and receive benefit from it (access to the Aztec ruins and market promotion of Aboriginal art ).

Neoliberalization certainly pushed the boundaries of permissible with regard to the transformation of objects and phenomena in the object of sale and expanded the area in which the possible use of contracts. Typically, this leads to shortness and fragility of the contracts (and teaches the whole post-modern philosophy) — a marriage, for example, is understood as a short-term contract, and not a sacred and indissoluble bond. The difference between neoliberals and neoconservatives partly reflects a different attitude to what goes where this face. Neo-conservatives tend to blame the fact that they feel the loss of morality in society, "liberals", "Hollywood" or even "post-modernists" and not corporate capitalists (Rupert Murdoch), although it is the latter actually cause major damage imposing all sorts of sexually oriented audience, if not downright scandalous materials, and do not hide a preference for short-term rather than long-term agreements in a constant race for profits.

There are far more serious than just trying to protect some priceless objects, certain rituals or particularly close to us segment of the public life of the cash payments and short-term contracts. The fact that the basis of the liberal and neo-liberal theory is the need for a sustainable market for land, labor, money, because they are, as noted by Karl Polanyi, "obviously are not the subject of sale … the definition of labor, land and money in terms of trade brand unreasonably. " Capitalism can not function without such a far-fetched categories, but the inability of the system to realize a mixed reality leads to irreparable consequences. Polanyi in one of his most famous works writes:

"To allow the market mechanism alone determine the fate of humanity and its environment, even based on the volume and nature of purchasing power, would have meant the destruction of society. Recognized traded "human resources" can not just take into account, to use without restriction or leave around without affecting the the person who is the bearer of this particular resource. Using a person's ability to work, the system must take into account the physical, psychological and moral dimension of what is called a man. Deprived of the protection of the cultural institutions, people will be destroyed under the influence of society, they will die of social disorder — crime, hunger, addiction. Nature would be reduced to its individual elements, individual regions and districts will be destroyed, rivers are polluted, there is a threat of military security, the person loses the ability to produce food and raw materials. From time to time, some companies are under the influence of the market and trade relations will disappear, as the lack of money turns into no less a disaster than floods and droughts in primitive societies. "

The damage caused by "floods and droughts" in the field of fictitious capital of the world credit system, whether in Indonesia, Argentina, Mexico, or even in the U.S., definitely confirms the correctness of the last argument, which pushed Polanyi. But his ideas about labor and land are self-explanatory.

Individuals enter the labor market, with a particular character, due to this or that system of social relations — both physical organisms with certain characteristics (phenotype floor) as individuals who have accumulated a variety of skills (what is sometimes referred to as "human capital") and preferences (what is sometimes called the "cultural capital"). Every person associated with some dreams, desires, ambitions, hopes, doubts and fears. However, for the people of the capitalists — just a factor of production, although not uniform, because employers need a certain quality of work (physical strength, skills, flexibility, learning, etc., depending on the problem). Workers are hired on a contract basis, and within the neo-liberal preference for short-term contracts, as they provide the maximum flexibility. Traditionally, employers have used the differentiation of human resources in order to divide and conquer. Labor markets become increasingly segmented, there are differences in racial, ethnic, sexual, religious principle. It's used to the detriment of employees. And vice versa — employees can use social networks to gain privileged access to certain items. As a rule, they tend to monopolize the skills and, through collective action and the creation of appropriate institutions, seek to regulate the labor market in order to protect their own interests. Thus, they create a "protective mechanism on the basis of cultural institutions," about which Polanyi said.

Neoliberalization seeks to destroy this protective mechanism, the existence of which is allowed, and sometimes even supported in the framework of "embedded liberalism." Attacks on human resources are maintained on both sides. The influence of trade unions and other labor organizations is limited or neutralized within the state (if necessary, and using violence). Increased labor market mobility. Termination of state social programs and the resulting development of technology changes in the structure of employment, leaving work without significant group of workers finally secured the domination of capital over labor resources. Chopped and relatively disenfranchised working class is in the labor market, which offers only short-term contracts and are always on the specific circumstances in a particular case. Job security recede into the past (Thatcher, for example, has stopped the practice of life-long contract for university professors). "The system of personal responsibility" (as here came the terminology of Deng Xiaoping!) Replaces social protection (pensions, health care, protection from workplace injuries), which used to be a mandatory feature of the employer and the state. Individuals are turning to the market in search of social protection. Personal safety is a matter of personal choice and is related to the availability of financial products in risky financial markets.

At the same time, the attack on the labor force involves the transformation of the labor market in the space-coordinates. You can earn a lot, trying to find the most cheap and docile labor force, but due to the geographical mobility of capital can dominate a much less mobile workforce. Restrictions on immigration leads to an excess of labor. This barrier can be overcome only with the help of illegal immigration (which leads to job resources, which is even easier to operate), or by short-term contracts, which allow, for example, the Mexican agricultural workers to work for companies in California. They are, however, coolly sent back to Mexico in the event of illness or death from pesticides, which they have to deal with.

In terms of neoliberalization emerged phenomenon called "cheap, or one-time, employee." There is a lot of evidence of non-human conditions and sweatshops where workers are working around the world. In China, the young women who come from rural areas to the cities to work in appalling conditions "intolerably long shifts, disgusting food, cramped dormitories, sadistic managers, of which ^ Bevan and humiliated workers, employees are paid with a delay of several months, and or simply not paid. " In Indonesia, two young women said of his work at the company Singaporean contractor company Levi Strauss:

"We are regularly humiliated, and this is no surprise. When the boss is angry, he calls women dogs, pigs, whores, and we owe it all to patiently endure. Officially, we are working with seven in the morning to three (at a salary less than $ 2 a day), but we were always forced to work longer, sometimes, especially if there is a rush order, and up to nine. No matter how tired we are, we can not leave. We can pay extra 200 rupees (10 cents) … We go to the factory on foot. Inside is very hot. On the building — iron roof and inside the building space to work a little. Very closely. It employs more than 200 people, mostly women, and the entire plant is only one toilet … When we come home after work, we have no strength for anything, except to eat and sleep … "

Similar stories are told about the Mexican factories maquila, Taiwanese and Korean factories in Honduras, South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand. The threat to health, work with open toxic substances in the production of death remain unnoticed.

In Shanghai, the Taiwanese businessman who owns a textile warehouse, "in which 61 workers were trapped inside, were burnt in the fire", received two years probation due to the fact that "expressed remorse" and "cooperated with authorities during the investigation of the incident."

In such situations, the main victims are women and children23 . The social consequences of neoliberalization to the extreme. Accumulation by dispossession deprives women of the rights they possessed in the household and traditional social systems, ch-law and redistributed to markets, resources, and money under the control of men. The process of women's liberation from traditional patriarchy in developing countries means that women have to work or on the primitive works on production or use their sexuality to such works as the head waiter, waitress or a prostitute (one of the most profitable industries that are directly related to the use of slave conditions). Loss of social protection in the developed capitalist countries had a particularly negative impact on women of lower social classes. In many of the former republics of the Soviet bloc, the loss of women's rights in the process of neoliberalization has been a disaster.

How is "disposable workers" — especially women — survive socially and emotionally in a flexible labor market and short-term contracts, job insecurity, lack of social protection, exhausting labor, among the ruins of the social institutions that used to give them at least some support and help maintain dignity? For some, the growth of the market has the advantage of mobility, and even when it does not provide material benefits in itself the right to change jobs is relatively simple and independent of traditional social constraints of patriarchy and the family has a huge advantage. For those who successfully negotiates the labor market, the world capitalist consumer culture is, it seems, an infinite number of advantages. Unfortunately, this culture, no matter how gorgeous, glamorous, seductive as it is, is constantly engaged with the desires of the game, never let them meet. People beckon showcases shopping centers, torture anxiety associated with the status and the need to look good (especially — for women) or have certain material goods. "I buy, therefore I exist" — possessive individualism psevdoudovolstvy creates a world that on the surface seem exciting, but, in fact, empty.

For those who have lost their jobs or who have not been able to get out of the informal economy, which is becoming a refuge for the majority of cheap workers, the situation is quite different. About 2 billion people are doomed to survive on less than $ 2 a day. For them, the hard world of capitalist consumer culture, huge profits in the financial area, self-righteous talk about how neoliberalization, privatization and personal responsibility contribute to emancipation, seem to be too cruel joke. From impoverished rural areas of China to the United States, the loss of influential health and growth of all sorts of tax increases the financial burden on the poor.

Neoliberalization changed the position of workers, women, indigenous people in the social system, making the work of an ordinary subject of sale. Deprived of the protection of democratic institutions at risk of social change "cheap" workers will inevitably resort to alternative institutions, with which you can re-create social cohesion and to express the collective will. There are gangs and criminal cartels, drug trafficking networks, mafia groups and slum gangs, local, natural and non-governmental organizations, secular cults and religious sects. All this — the social structures that fill the void that appears when the state authorities, political parties and other institutions disappear or lose their potency as centers of collective action and social relations. The Company reiterates its appeal to religion. Confirmation of these trends is the unexpected emergence and flourishing of religious sects in abandoned rural areas of China, or the appearance of Fulan Gong (pseudo-religious movement)

From the book David Harvey A BRIEF HISTORY neoliberalism. CURRENT READING

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