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November 06, 2013


Ian Christie

Completely brilliant and convincing. Thank you, Will - and especially if you're not reading this.

One wellspring of neoliberals' paranoiac utilitarian ressentiment - what we might call their spirit of anti-generosity - is surely the self-image among so many of them as 'self-made men', who can say with a straight face, denying all the evidence of their upbringing, that 'no-one ever gave me a hand-out' and variations on that theme of DIY life-building. Resentment of helping others who are not like them - who can't / won't help themselves - rises up from such a worldview and view of the self.
It also explains the neoliberal hatred for tradition, which in some ways is a gift from the dead to the living, and a denial of the idea that we can all make ourselves unaided, as Ayn Randian free-enterprise existentialists.
As for what can be done about all this, I suspect we have to rely on neoliberalism generating sufficient revulsion among the middle classes that they make common cause, at last, with the working poor and the unemployed. And as for what policy could embody the spirit of gift, how about the Citizens' Income?


Oh, how I would love austerity policies to ultimately bequeath us a citizen's income.

Anyway, isn't profit "something-for-nothing", aka a gift?


Great post and I'm with Peter, it would be a superb irony if austerity delivered a citizen's income. What exactly would be your definition of ressentiment ?

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