Austerity dressed up as cultural renaissance

In: Uncategorized

25 Jan 2009

Benjamin Barber, an American political theorist writing in the Nation, favours austerity but dresses it up as a cultural renaissance.

On the one hand he says that people must consume less: “The crisis in global capitalism demands a revolution in spirit–fundamental change in attitudes and behavior. Reform cannot merely rush parents and kids back into the mall; it must encourage them to shop less, to save rather than spend.”

In Barber’s romanticised imagination this will lead to a better world: “Imagine all the things we could do without having to shop: play and pray, create and relate, read and walk, listen and procreate–make art, make friends, make homes, make love.”

The reality is likely to be working harder to make the same amount of money as in the past along with enforced leisure for the growing army of unemployed.

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