Saturday, 9 April 2011

All The Better To Eat You With

There's no such thing as a free lunch. 
Milton Friedman

What took place in the 1980s was therefore an extension of the Carter years, not a reversal of them. The process of deregulation and redistribution up the chain accelerated under Reagan, who was broadly sympathetic to these goals. Yet it happened not because he was sympathetic to them, but because his sympathies were allowed free rein in a political environment where the opposition was muted and the expected coalition of interests opposed to the changes never materialised. After all, as Hacker and Pierson point out, Richard Nixon, who might have been expected to share some of Reagan’s sympathies, had gone the other way in his actual policies a decade earlier, shoring up the legislative framework of the welfare state and maintaining a broadly progressive tax system. (Something similar happened in Britain under Edward Heath.) He acted like this because he felt he had little choice: the organised pressure ready to resist change appeared much too strong. It was only during the Carter years – and to some extent the Callaghan years in Britain – that this pressure turned out to be weaker than anyone thought. The politicians of the Reagan/ Thatcher revolution did what they did not because they were committed ideologues, determined to stick to their principles. They did it because they found they could get away with it.

Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable.
Milton Friedman

Homo Economicus
A person that desires to maximize his/her needs or desires. Homo economicus is used most of the time to refer to the rational economic actor, who desires wealth, does not desire to work if it can be avoided, and is able to find ways achieve those ends. This assumption is accepted by many economists, especially those who follow rational choice theory, but it remains controversial. The concept of homo economicus was developed by utilitarian thinkers, and contrasts with the constructs of behavioral economics.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2009 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Moreover, the neo-military syntax of contemporary architecture insinuates violence and conjures imaginary dangers. In many instances the semiotics of 'defensible space' are just about as subtle as a swaggering white cop. Today's upscale, pseudo-public spaces - sumptuary malls, office centers, culture acropolises, and so on - are full of invisible signs warning off the underclass 'Other'. Although architectural critics are usually oblivious to how the built environment contributes to segregation, pariah groups - whether poor Latino families, young Black men, or elderly homeless white females - read the meaning immediately.
Mike Davis City of Quartz

The question "Who eats and who gets eaten?" reverberates in the material of bogeydom. How cannibalistic impulses beat in the cultural imaginary and what significance they carry can still be heard in the tread of the flesh-eating ogre and his progeny, whether he rattles his bones, strides in in seven-league boots or comes whiffling through the tulgey wood. Control of food lies at the heart of the first werewolf story, the transformation of Lyacon, or famous fairy tales like 'Hansel and Gretel' and less familiar ones that feature ogres and ogresses like Baba Yaga. Vampires and the undead progeny of Bram Stoker's Dracula (1897), who walk abroad in the shadows of our culture, form part of the larger family of fatal monsters who cannibalize humans. Food - procuring it, preparing it, cooking it, eating it - dominates the material as the overriding image of survival; consuming it offers contradictory metaphors of life and civilization as well as barbarity and extinction.
Marina Warner No Go The Bogeyman

(A tip of the wig to Greyhoos for his lupine post)

1 comment:

Molly said...