© Juergen Bauer

The return of the repressed as the beginning of the end of neoliberal capitalism

» The road to the future, to a new expansion as is always close to the heart of capital, led outwards, to the still pleasantly unregulated world of a borderless global economy in which markets would no longer be locked into nation-states, but nation-states into markets. «
Wolfgang Streeck

Neoliberalism arrived with globalization or else globalization arrived with neoliberalism; that is how the Great Regression began. In the 1970s, the capital of the rebuilt industrial nations started to work its way out of the national servitude in which it had been forced to spend the decades following 1945. The time had come to take leave of the tight labour markets, stagnant productivity, falling profits and increasingly ambitious demands of trade unions under a mature, state-administered capitalism. The road to the future, to a new expansion as is always close to the heart of capital, led outwards, to the still pleasantly unregulated world of a borderless global economy in which markets would no longer be locked into nation-states, but nation-states into markets.

The neoliberal about-face was presided over by a new goddess by the name of TINA – There is No Alternative. The long list of its high priests and priestesses extends from Margaret Thatcher via Tony Blair down to Angela Merkel. Anyone who wished to serve TINA to the accompaniment of the solemn chorus of the united economists of the world had to recognize the escape of capital into the world as both inevitable and beneficial, and would have to commit themselves to help clear all obstacles from its path. Heathen practices such as controls on the movement of capital, state aid and others would have to be tracked down and eradicated; no one must be allowed to escape from »global competition« and sink back into the cushioned comfort of national protections of whatever kind. Free trade agreements were to open up markets and protect them from state interference, global governance was to replace national governments, protection from commodification was to be replaced by enabling commodification, and the welfare state was to give way to the competition state of a new era of capitalist rationalization.