The present crisis of capitalism has a history. A history of the private accumulation of wealth through property regimes which allow increasing commodification and the privatisation of resources: from land to knowledge and even to life itself. Understanding that history may allow us to imagine alternatives after Capital which are no longer private but common. After Capital explores this history, showing how the economy is linked to environmental damage, climate change, resource depletion, and to massive inequality. It takes the reader from liberalism to neoliberalism, from climate change to the Anthropocene, and shows how this history is inextricably the history of colonialism. It is a rich and detailed narrative of capitalism over the last 200 years, that explains its texture and its neoliberal endgame. This discussion frames speculation on what postcapitalist societies could be, with regimes of private accumulation replaced by a politics and ethics of a democratic and ecologically- grounded Commons.
Chapter 4: From Liberalism to Neoliberalism: A Dissident Genealogy
From Liberalism to Neoliberalism: A Dissident Genealogy
On the emergence of liberalism
I argued in the previous chapter that the addition of colonialism as a general process of dispossession and subjugation to the history of the present provides a more productive and realistic historical context for challenging the rules of the game and so opens the way for alternatives to varieties of capitalism. The search for alternatives concerns the reassessment of the grounds upon which to constitute resistance to forms of oppressive power, and it relates to the principles that should inform the political, economic, technological and ethical practices consistent with postcapitalist societies. I now explore these issues by turning to the struggles going on in the period of ...