Sunday, 5 February 2012

Questioning Neoliberalism

"Neoliberals argue that making the market the ultimate arbiter of social worthiness will eliminate politics and its accompanying irrationality from our educational and social decisions." (Apple, 2006).

This quote brings several questions to my mind. First, the assumption appearing to underlie this neoliberal view is that pure rationality, or pure logic is the only true means to egalitarianism.


Is self-interest rational or irrational?

Wouldn't pure and rational logic, removed of self-interest (if self-interest is considered irrational/emotional), favour the health of the planet over the existence of humans?

Perhaps, to the neoliberal, self-interest is rational, therefore desiring short-term survival strategies over long-term well-being is logical because human life-spans are relatively short?

Is an egalitarian society only possible on the basis of a rational, non-emotional approach?

Is there nothing to be said for compassion? What about the human capacity for anger in the face of injustice? How can we create genuine egalitarianism without emotional intervention? Is there not a reason humans have emotion?

From a Darwinian standpoint, there must have been an advantage to having emotions which allowed our species to survive. How is denial or repression of that advantage a rational approach?

Apple, M. (2006). Educating the right way: Markets, standards, god and equity. New York: Routledge.