No doubt I am behind the curve on this one, but if you want to read a book that will make your hair literally stand on end, take a look at David Harvey’s Brief History of Neoliberalism. Harvey deftly traces the history of neoliberalism, showing how contemporary capital systematically deregulated business and dismantled collective labor movements, and how people were convinced that this was in their interests, giving us the marvelous world we have today (I say that sarcastically). Of course, as a function of this, we also witness the rise of identity politics (on both the left and right– nationalist and fundamentalist religious movements on the right, gender and ethnic politics on the left) and postmodern politics. In the meantime, questions of class antagonism become almost completely hidden or clothed (as evidenced by the recent flair up over Obama’s “Bitter” comment, where he hit the true third rail in American politics: class). Books like this make me wonder if theory is asking the right sorts of questions or questions that are even relevant to our contemporary moment. At any rate, I think I need to go drink now.
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