Posts Tagged ‘violence’

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Corey Robin, in a second reply to his critics (of his essay “Nietzsche’s Marginal Children,” on which I commented here), further explores the connection between Friedrich von Hayek and Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

In that context, Robin shows how free-market libertarianism stumbles on the relationship between capitalism and violence:

Whether we call it primitive accumulation or the great transformation, we know that the creation of markets often require or are accompanied by a high degree of coercion. This is especially true of markets in labor. Men and women are not born wage laborers ready to contract with capital. Nor do they simply evolve into these positions over time. Wage laborers are often made—and remade—through violence, coercion, and force. Like the labor wars of the Gilded Age or the enclosure riots, Pinochet’s Chile was about the forcible creation, at lightning speed, of new markets in land and labor.

Hayek’s failure to fully come to terms with this reality—his idea of a good “liberal dictator” shows that he was more than aware of it; the fact that so little in his work on rule formation gives warrant to such an idea demonstrates the theoretical impasse in which he found himself—is why his engagement with Pinochet is so important. Not because it shows him to be a bad person but because it reveals the “steel frame,” as Schumpeter called it, of the market order, the unacknowledged relationship between operatic violence and doux commerce.

The argument, I think, is even more general. Yes, we need to remember the labor wars of the Gilded Age, the enclosure riots, and the Chilean dictatorship’s forcible creation of markets. But we also need to recognize the violence involved in forcing people to have the freedom to sell their ability to work every day, around the world, within the “normally functioning” market order.

It’s that dimension of the relationship between capitalism and violence mainstream economists of all stripes refuse to acknowledge.

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As many as 200,000 demonstrators marched through the streets of Brazil’s biggest cities on Monday in a swelling wave of protest tapping into widespread anger at poor public services, police violence, and government corruption.

The demonstrations are the first time that Brazilians, since a recent decade of steady economic growth, are collectively questioning the status quo. . .

For President Dilma Rousseff, the demonstrations come at a delicate time, as price increases and lackluster growth begin to loom over an expected run for re-election next year.

Polls show Rousseff still is widely popular, especially among poor and working-class voters, but her approval ratings began to slip in recent weeks for the first time since taking office in 2011. Rousseff was booed at Saturday’s Confederations Cup opener as protesters gathered outside.

Through a spokeswoman, Rousseff called the protests “legitimate” and said peaceful demonstrations are “part of democracy.” The president, a leftist guerrilla as a young woman, also said that it was “befitting of youth to protest.”

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