Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

On the Rise of NeoLiberalism in West During the 1968-2008 Era: Part 2

February 15, 2018 14 comments

A few months ago, in the first part of this series, I wrote about a confluence of factors responsible for very high rates of support for neoliberal ideas and policies among whites in USA during the 1968-2008 era. To make a long story short, white support for neoliberalism (in USA) was largely due to a combination of post-WW2 prosperity, desire for continuing racial discrimination as well as a delusion that people in the ‘rest of the world’ could never catch up with them. As we all know, things did not turn out as expected towards the end of that era- and it has been clearly downhill for them since the early 2000s.

Neoliberalism, did however, spread past the boundaries of USA into other countries- especially those in western Europe. However, most popular accounts of neoliberalism tend to ignore, or give very little attention to, its spread in European countries (other than in UK). But why? Well.. there are some reasons. Firstly, the spread of neoliberalism into the institutions and popular psyche of those countries was never as thorough as in USA. Even today, people in those countries enjoy universal healthcare coverage, a largely functional social safety net, affordable higher education and many other things which CONservative idiots in USA believe to be ‘pipe-dreams’.

So why did neoliberalism spread, albeit in a limited manner, in western Europe? But perhaps more importantly, why was it never able to gain the sort of popular following it achieved in USA (except, maybe in UK)? Why were politicians, elites and capitalists in those countries never able to successfully push for neoliberal changes of the magnitude seen in USA? Why did neoliberalism fail to change the belief systems of a majority in those countries, unlike the USA? How could corporations in those countries remain relevant and profitable without jumping on the Anglo-American neoliberal project? What, exactly, was different over there?

1] The first reason for the relative inability of neoliberalism to spread in Western Europe comes down to a simple, if very unpleasant, fact about the nature of USA as a society and nation-state. Modern west-European nations states, unlike USA, have never been racially segregated societies. Also, unlike USA, they never allowed race-based slavery to occur on their own soil. Consequently, one of the most important boosters for public support of neoliberalism based policies such as shredding the social safety net, job precarization and union busting (in post-WW2 era) never existed in those countries. USA until 1968, in contrast, practiced legalized race-based Apartheid in a form identical to the now defunct pre-1994 state of South Africa.

Now, some of you might say that it has something to do with “racial diversity causing low trust societies”. But was that really the case? Widespread public acceptance of neoliberalism in USA came in the era before large-scale non-white immigration. That is right! The population of USA was somewhere between 85-90% white as late as the early 1980s. Reagan was elected in 1980 by an electorate that was close to 90% white. So why did they vote for him? In case you do not remember, he won because he promised to restore law and order (screw over “uppity” blacks) and make america great- like “it used to be”.

Which brings us to an odd question.. why was a self-identified and dominant (at that time) group making up almost 9/10ths of the population so concerned about the quest for equality by a historically marginalized group making up the other 1/10th? While it is possible to come up with many clever sounding reasons to explain this behavior, the most straightforward, if tasteless, explanation is that a significant percentage of 9/10ths enjoyed screwing over the 1/10th for reasons that had nothing to do with self-interest or money. Maybe they were getting off by screwing more vulnerable people- which leads to the next reason for Europe’s partial immunity to neoliberalism.

2] Most people looking at Europe today forget that it was once a hotbed of nationalism, racism and support for mass murder at a level that makes USA today look tame in comparison. But then WW1, numerous conflicts after WW1 and WW2 happened. While these wars and conflicts killed tens of millions of people in that part of the world, they really cut down the numbers of young CONservative minded men (also known as ‘useful idiots’) in those countries. Many of you might have noticed that the strongest non-rich supporters for neoliberalism in USA are almost always white men of average intelligence and mediocre ability who are delusional enough to believe that they too can become rich by following and defending the rich.

In contrast to that, american casualties in WW1 and WW2 were (sadly) minimal and too many men of a CONservative mindset, average intelligence and mediocre ability were left alive after those wars. It certainly did not help that post-WW2 economic growth and prosperity reinforced their beliefs about things “ought to be”. That is why USA as a society embraced neoliberalism so thoroughly when it was near the peak of its relative prosperity in the 1960s and 1970s. It was easy money, not hard times and non-white immigration, which made white american society embrace neoliberalism. Remember, Reagan was elected as governor of a very prosperous California in the 1960s, before he was elected president in 1980.

Even today, older white voters who grew up during the “good times” in USA are far more likely to vote for republican or establishment democrat candidates (aka neoliberals). The point I am trying to make is that the lack of large-scale casualties in WW2 along with immediate post-WW2 prosperity for even the most average and mediocre cannon-fodder is why neoliberalism took such firm roots in USA. That is also why even larger west-European countries which took heavy casualties in both world wars, such as France and Germany, ended up becoming and remaining more socialistic after WW2.

In the next part of this series, I will share my thoughts on why neoliberalism in European countries took off in the private sector after the late-1980s, but was not able to start dominating it till the early 2000s. Will also write about why UK went neoliberal about a decade earlier, and far more systematically, than neighboring countries.

What do you think? Comments?

Pedestalling of Women by American vs Non-American Men: 1

June 13, 2017 34 comments

While I am not a big fan or user of Instagram, it is an interesting social network to keep track of how people all around the world want to present themselves to others. Over the years, I have noticed an interesting, but seldom talked about, pattern that is most obvious if you don’t use Instagram as an active participant. The observed pattern can be summarized as follows..

Fairly mediocre looking North-American women who post even somewhat revealing photos of themselves on Instagram get far more positive comments from obviously male user accounts than even more revealing photos of gorgeous women from countries in Europe and South-America.

Initially, I considered that this discrepancy in number of online male admirers might be related to the total numbers of Instagram users across various countries. It is no secret that a significant percentage of the first bunch of large-scale users of some internet-based social networks such as Instagram do live in North America. However, I noticed that the geographical discrepancy between number of positive comments to revealing pictures of women has persisted over the years.

Therefore, the far fewer number of male admirers writing worshipful comments in response to revealing photos of women from other parts of the world is not an artifact of userbase composition. Furthermore many of the comments by ostensibly male accounts on photos of young, attractive, thong-bikini (or less) clad women living in countries outside north america are also far less worshipful of the woman (or women) in those photos.

Local men who comment on photos of thong-bikini wearing hotties in Brazil almost never sound desperate, eager to please or otherwise submissive. Similarly, local men who comment on photos of topless (or even less) continental European cuties lounging on the beach seldom write comments that come across as pathetic or worshipful. Curiously, a significant number of worshipful comments towards such photos are in English rather than he language of the country of residence for the women in those photos.

Instagram is however not the first social network where I have seen this pattern.

As some of you might know, Flickr was the best online photo-sharing network before the idiots at Yahoo screwed it up. Many (maybe 5-7) years ago, I noticed that most of the corny worshipful comments for beach vacation photo albums of European girls were written in English rather than German, French, Italian, Dutch etc. However, it was also obvious that the majority of viewers of those photos were local.

And this brings me to my explanation for this apparent discrepancy. Men in North America are significantly more likely to be, or act like, beta orbiters than men in most other parts of the world. They are far more likely to compliment mediocre looking women for a basically non-existent chance of having sex with them than men in other parts of the world. Their pathetic online behavior is therefore merely an extension of their pathetic behavior in real life.

But why would they do that? Are they stupid enough to believe that a woman who they have no realistic chance of meeting in real life will suddenly want to meet them and have sex with them. Perhaps there are a few who think like that, but they are clearly not the majority. In my opinion, it is far more likely that this peculiar online behavior is a reflection of how they have been taught to behave towards women when they were growing up.

In other words, the dominant pre-internet cultural trends in North America were (and to some extent still are) far more female-centric than those in other countries. A lot of men raised in North America still believe, at some level, that being beta-orbiters of women is normal. These men appear to lack any significant amount of self-esteem and appear to accept being abused, exploited and ignored by even mediocre women as “normal”.

Of course, as many of you know, this state of affairs has changed a lot in the previous decade. However, it is also clear that a significant number of men who still live in that mental world. maybe that will change, or maybe it won’t. In any case, there is not much you can do for people who believe in something that is is clear contradiction with observable reality.

What do you think? Comments?