At its core is the belief in the supremacy of free ant opposition to government intervention

At its core is the belief in the supremacy of free ant opposition to government intervention

The intellectual foundation of neoliberalism started off in the mid 40’s from right wing reactionaries led by Fredrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman, eventually gaining currency during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile where he employed the economic advice of Chicago Boys trained by Friedman at the University of Chicago.

(This ideological underpinning is what totally collapsed during the Great Recession of 2008 and the pandemic wave of 2019 as referred to in the Joseph Stiglitz article).

It aims to replace the dominant grand narrative of history not with another of its own devising, but with the outline of a picture, only just becoming visible, of a human past replete with political experiment and creativity

After the Pinochet experiment, much of neoliberal heft was gained during the terms of Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK – that duo operated on the principle of “government is the problem, not the solution” and that there is no alternative (TINA) to free market capitalism.

In the 90’s, Democrat Bill Clinton turbocharged the free market agenda with a wave of deregulation, global free trade (NAFTA, WTO), title loans MD and unleashed the power of Wall Street banks.

These are questions that Graeber, a committed anarchist-an exponent not of anarchy but of anarchism, the idea that people can get along perfectly well without governments-asked throughout his career

Ah, clear synopsis, thanks. I’m no longer confused. I think there should be no such thing as freedom, just structure that is healthiest for all.

“They go further, making the case that the conventional account of human history as a saga of material progress was developed in reaction to the Indigenous critique in order to salvage the honor of the West. We’re richer, went the logic, so we’re better. The authors ask us to rethink what better might actually mean.

The Dawn of Everything is not a brief for anarchism, though anarchist values-antiauthoritarianism, participatory democracy, small-c communism-are everywhere implicit in it. Above all, it is a brief for possibility, which was, for Graeber, perhaps the highest value of all. The book is something of a glorious mess, full of fascinating digressions, open questions, and missing pieces.

“How did we get stuck?” the authors ask-stuck, that is, in a world of “war, greed, exploitation [and] systematic indifference to others’ suffering”? It’s a pretty good question. “If something did go terribly wrong in human history,” they write, “then perhaps it began to go wrong precisely when people started losing that freedom to imagine and enact other forms of social existence.” It isn’t clear to me how many possibilities are left us now, in a world of polities whose populations number in the tens or hundreds of millions. But stuck we certainly are.”

“Is “civilization” worth it, the authors want to know, if civilization-ancient Egypt, the Aztecs, imperial Rome, the modern regime of bureaucratic capitalism enforced by state violence-means the loss of what they see as our three basic freedoms: the freedom to disobey, the freedom to go somewhere else, and the freedom to create new social arrangements? Or does civilization rather mean “mutual aid, social co-operation, civic activism, hospitality [and] simply caring for others”?

The Dawn of Everything is framed by an account of what the authors call the “indigenous critique.” In a remarkable chapter, they describe the encounter between early French arrivals in North America, primarily Jesuit missionaries, and a series of Native intellectuals-individuals who had inherited a long tradition of political conflict and debate and who had thought deeply and spoke incisively on such matters as “generosity, sociability, material wealth, crime, punishment and liberty.”