neoliberalism a personal ‘take’

I first heard of neoliberalism via Michael Apple who talked  about its impact on education. Lately it’s become a bit of a catch cry for what’s wrong with the world.

I remember having a heated discussion with a receptionist at a local educational institute when I objected to students being called ‘clients’ or ‘customers’.

I think it’s finally having an impact.

And tonight I’ve just seen “I, Daniel Blake‘ Ken Loach’s film about a man in Newcastle fighting the ‘system’. It’s a horrifyingly universal story and reminds me of the people I taught in the early 1990s who were being forced out of work due to new technology and new systems. Some I see working around the place, some I know didn’t make it.

I see more beggars in my local city than I have ever seen in New Zealand, and there are people sleeping in cars and sheds. There is a steady black market in drugs, increasingly lethal. NZ’s suicide rate is alarmingly high.

While we all try to appease the situation the best we can, at its heart is the system of globalisation, and ‘new ‘ways of working.

I hear of people who are bullied at work and un-unionised, of workplaces that threaten those who want to join unions and young people who don’t know what a union is. A local group lets us know via FB of people who are in need, often because WINZ (the government agency for benefits and pensions) has stopped benefits for some bureaucratic reason. I receive so many requests for financial help, that I assume social agencies have had their funding cut. Our prisons are bulging at the seams.

And still people vote for the political conservatives who support this system (even though it’s called neoliberalism”).

I was taught, and recent work related case studies show me, that a community or society is only as wealthy as its poorest. That if we are all healthy and have a measure of hope we are rich. That if we can work, experience full human dignity our society is rich. That if we reach out a helping hand we all benefit. That phrases like ‘trickle down effect’ are mere rhetoric.

Remember when we were all astonished at the new words that entered our language during the Gulf War (aka Desert Storm) – words like ’embedded’ and ‘mouseholing’ .

Neoliberalism has its language too. “Dissecting the buzzwords of neoliberalism sounds like a great read.

Like the rest of the world I agree that 2016 has been a bit of a year. Let’s hope that the disenfranchised (I am not sure about the new messenger DT, however) find their voice.

Feels a bit like the Peasants Revolt, 1381.

Happy 2017





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