Reading Capitalist Realism Ten Years On

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2186 ... September 7, 2020
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Reading Capitalist Realism Ten Years On

Matthew Flisfeder

Today, in the interregnum of the post-crisis, austerity-driven, global neoliberal capitalist society, we are confronted with a range of contradictions potentially threatening our very way of life on Earth. From looming ecological catastrophes and the threat of the capitalocene, to the rise of artificial intelligence and digital automation threatening stagnation, to refugee crises and culture wars, and even to a resurgence of new economic crises unforeseen by mainstream economists, it would appear as though it is more necessary than ever to challenge the old Thatcherite dogma that "there is no alternative" (TINA) to the existing system. That hopeless, cynical claim that even if capitalism is full of flaws and fissures, it is still the least bad system we’ve got, so grin and bear it…

But resisting this reified and disavowed root of the conundrum in the very capitalism that the TINA formula defends -- if we are to confront these problems head on -- perhaps it is time for us on the Left to be somewhat... more pragmatic about what or how we even envision the future of the post-capitalist world. We need, perhaps, to be much more realistic; but in what sense?

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