“Neoliberalism” and “The Cathedral” are the Same Damn Thing

Everyone knows that modern corporate entities love to wrap themselves in the imagery of social justice.


Some might say this is just a generational thing: the Boomers and Millenials both identify with the ideals of social justice movements and civil rights, and corporations go where the money is.


Or perhaps it is, as the biologists say, protective coloration. Google emphasizes its commitment to “Black Girls Code,”  for example, to dismiss  criticism and discourage litigation for hiring and empowering a mainly male, mainly white or Asian workforce. The sponsors of Aspen Ideas welcome Ta Nehisi Coates to come talk about reparations because it pushes off more uncongenial methods of redistribution of wealth.


Or, maybe this is money going where the power is. Barack Obama was re-elected president in 2012 helped by record non-white turnout, a majority non-white country is more-or-less assured in the next few decades- corporations know what is coming, in political terms as well as economic.

President Obama Holds Election Night Event In Chicago

But maybe it is change itself that is welcomed: the blurring of lines of culture, nation, and even biology:


Capitalism always sells dreams. For a long period, those dreams centered around highly-leveraged, single family housing:


But that approach ran into its own intrinsic limits:


So the culture offers new dreams in its stead. An indefinite, urban extended adolescence for the empowered and native born:


And a new people to supplement the old:


As David Harvey says of Marx, “the circulation and accumulation of capital cannot abide limits. When it encounters limits it works assiduously to convert them into barriers that can be transcended or by-passed. This focuses our attention upon those points in the circulation of capital where potential limits, blockages and barriers might arise, since these can produce crises of one sort or another. Capital, Marx insists, is a process of circulation and not a thing. It is fundamentally about putting money into circulation to make more money.”

What college-town socialists call “neoliberalism” and what would-be reactionaries call “The Cathedral” are just two sides of the same thing- the restless desire of Capitalism to transcend its limits.

Nation and tradition, family and home are barriers that capital must transcend or bypass, not through a sinister cabal, but through the gradual transformation of culture, the blurring of distinctions, the eradication of the received self and the offer that a new, infinitely malleable self is available for purchase.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s