February 18, 2013

Whose hostage crisis? I loathe Robert Samuelson. Here is his explanation for continued high unemployment: We are hostage to a stubborn, restraining psychology. Really? That's to whom or what "we" are held hostage? Is capital held hostage? Or does it just venture elsewhere, off-shore, into accounts and adventures beyond our reach? Samuelson is saying that "we" are holding ourselves hostage. That the way we think is hurting us (notice, capitalists' always blame the people who either spend too much or spend too little; they blame the people even as they refuse the people any collective will beyond the aggregate of their appetites and aversions)H. Far be it from me to do anything but applaud his venture into ideology critique ... except for the fact that he gets it precisely wrong as he assumes a capitalist perspective. And, if it is a psychology that is holding "us" hostage, might we not describe it differently? Samuelson writes: As I’ve written before, this psychological shift stemmed from the fact that the financial crisis and Great Recession were largely unpredicted. Americans aren’t just deleveraging. They’re also building wealth to protect themselves against unknown dangers. Is the implication that it's bad for "Americans" to protect themselves? That increasing their debt, buying tons of shit they don't need, thinking only about their present pleasures is a better way to live? Perhaps the shift isn't just shell shock and reaction but a waking up to the idiocy of consumerism. That was the psychology that was holding us hostage, that was...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

The Typepad Team

Recent Comments