Yanis Varoufakis has written a good column for the Guardian today. In the past I’ve recommended his books and his current essay is again familiar territory.
A clash of two insurgencies is now shaping the west. Progressives on both sides of the Atlantic are on the sidelines, unable to comprehend what they are observing. Donald Trump’s inauguration marks its pinnacle.
One of the two insurgencies shaping our world today has been analysed ad nauseum. Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and the broad Nationalist International that they are loosely connected to have received much attention, as has their success at impressing upon the multitudes that nation-states, borders, citizens and communities matter.
However, the other insurgency that caused the rise of this Nationalist International has remained in the shadows: an insurrection by the global establishment’s technocracy whose purpose is to retain control at all cost.
[Billions] of people in the “third” world were pulled out of poverty while hundreds of millions of western workers were slowly sidelined, pushed into more precarious jobs, and forced to financialise themselves either through their pension funds or their homes. And when the bottom fell out of this increasingly unstable feedback loop, neoliberalism’s illusions burned down and the west’s working class ended up too expensive and too indebted to be of interest to a panicking global establishment.
Previously, Varoufakis, here.
Particularly, the story of the gigantic jar of pickles…
“Take for example, Vlasic pickles, a well-known everyday brand. Walmart’s ‘innovation’ was to sell these pickles in one gallon jars for $2.97. Was this a shrewd retailer’s response to market demand? Few family refrigerators had room for such an item.
“So what was the selling point?
“It was the idea of a huge quantity at ultra-low price. Walmart’s customers, in this sense, were not buying pickles as such. They were buying into the symbolic value of cheapness; into the notion of having appropriated so many pickles for so little money. Indeed, it made them feel as if they were Walmart accomplices — in association with an icon of American corporate might, they had forced producers to make so much available for so little!
“The gigantic jar of pickles thus ended up denoting a small victory at a time of wholesale defeat. Whose defeat? That of the American worker, whose wages had never really recovered since 1973. Moreover their working conditions deteriorated as employers everywhere faithfully copied the Walmart model…