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Neoliberalism is about the shifting of assets and wealth to a small group by cutting off public services and subsidies to others.

That raises the question, of course, of how that gets justified. How do you tell one part of a society to cut off the other? In some cases you just do it - see Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine - but when some measure of voter approval is needed, you instead demonize those you're cutting off, blaming them for everyone's problems.

Some neoliberals make arguments based on individual factors - that those who are wealthy are either better people, smarter, harder working, etc; and those who are poor and cut off are lazy, stupid, incompetent, and therefore undeserving of aid.

But much, MUCH more common are arguments based on various forms of sectarianism. In the US it's usually about race - whites not wanting to provide aid to blacks and Latinos. In Belgium it seems that ethnicity and language are the terms of division.

It's easier to cut off people, to make them the victims of neoliberalism, if you see them as an "other." Instead of seeing them as Belgians they're instead greedy, lazy, French-speaking Walloons. So neoliberalism stokes these divides, and then when individuals take them up, neolibs cheer them on in the service of their wider goals of destroying the public sector and attacking social solidarity.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Wed Sep 19th, 2007 at 11:50:46 AM EST

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