austerity

The promise and paradise of austerity

Certain questions dog progressive thought: why, in view of the manifest failures of financial capitalism, is its hold on our society stronger than ever? Why, despite the empirical evidence of foreclosures, vacant building lots and food banks are people unable to see the catastrophic consequences of current economic arrangements? How has neoliberalism emerged from calamity ever stronger (Mirowski, 2013)? Why, as Crouch (2011) puts it, will neoliberalism simply not die?

Can democracy survive austerity?

Armin Schafer and Wolfgang Streeck, two scholars at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, have edited a remarkable volume that attempts to address a political-economic touchstone of modern democratic-capitalism: how to reconcile democratic political processes with the increasing governance of global economic life by economic institutions – corporate and transnational governmental – that are politically nonresponsive to the demands of ordinary citizens and which are dedicated to often unpopular economic policies of austerity (cf. Edsall, 2012).

The politics of consumption

If Politics, following Aristotle (1984), is a matter of analysing, comparing and ultimately creating practices of human association, we will do well to regard consumption practices as inherently political. Such a regard requires us to take a comparative-prospective disposition towards the roles and practices that underpin the production and distribution of subsistence and luxury.

The politics of consumption

This age of austerity comes on the back of a lengthened period of apparently rampant consumer excess: that was a party for which we are all now having to pay. A spectacular period of unsustainably funded over-indulgence, it seems, has now given rise to a sobering period of barely fundable mere-subsistence. Consumption, narrated along such lines, is a sin which has to be paid for. Beyond the deceptive theology of consumption, however, lies actual politics.

submission deadline  
1 Oct 2013
call for papers pdf  

Issue Editors: Paula Bialski, Heike Derwanz, Lena Olaison, Birke Otto, Hans Vollmer

In times of financial and economic crisis, cities have become sites of austerity measures, permanent fiscal restraint, declining tax revenues, bankruptcies and ever-increasing cuts to public services. In order to ‘save the city’, Jamie Peck argues that the imperative to ‘cut back and save’ and ‘work your way out of debt’ results in urban policies such as structural adjustment, privatization, public-private partnerships, and welfare retrenchments (Peck, 2012; see also Peck et al., 2009). While existing institutional arrangements, collectivist, social-state based ideals and redistributive systems are diminishing, there has been a proliferation of collectively organized urban practices.

In light of these developments, urban dwellers are working creatively with urban scarcity to develop new forms of organizing the city parallel and/or in contrast to centralized, state-based infrastructure, and are forced to do so with a low budget (Low-Budget Urbanity, 2013). These... more

From humanity to nationality to bestiality: A polemic on alternatives without conclusion

World Stock Markets in Turmoil (Guardian, 5/8/11)

Collapse of Neoliberal Ideology (Harvey and Milburn, in Guardian, 5/8/11)

State of Emergency (Guardian, 5/8/11)

9 May 2012 to 11 May 2012
Banner depicting scenes from middle ages - king versus peasants.

 

 

This conference explores the relationships between consumption, accumulation, production, reproduction and politics today. Taking the apparent generalisation of conditions of austerity as an opportunity to re-visit longer ongoing debates surrounding the extra-economic nature of commodity consumption, and its complex relationship to commodity production, the conference asks whether traditional conceptualisations of the politics of consumption require revision.... more

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