Category Archives: Capitalism

Alienation reigns (415)

From an essay by Elizabeth Breunig, published in today’s WashingtonPost, which is directly relevant to the things we’ve been discussing in class.

In fact, both Sullivan’s and Mounk’s complaints — that Americans appear to be isolated, viciously competitive, suspicious of one another and spiritually shallow; and that we are anxiously looking for some kind of attachment to something real and profound in an age of decreasing trust and regard — seem to be emblematic of capitalism, which encourages and requires fierce individualism, self-interested disregard for the other, and resentment of arrangements into which one deposits more than he or she withdraws…. Capitalism is an ideology that is far more encompassing than it admits, and one that turns every relationship into a calculable exchange. Bodies, time, energy, creativity, love — all become commodities to be priced and sold. Alienation reigns. There is no room for sustained contemplation and little interest in public morality; everything collapses down to the level of the atomized individual.

Employability (415)

If there were any doubts that students are interpellated as consumers at SFSU, a quick glance at the  Campus Store website should dispel them. Even in this apparently trivial fashion, the institution of higher education functions to produce neoliberal subjects who conceive of themselves as market actors and their educations as enhancements of their “employability.”

Take 2 minutes to listen to Omar Aktouf:

I take it that when he mentions Socrates, Rimbaud, etc. he’s gesturing at an intellectual inheritance common to all of us extending beyond a purely western tradition.