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Steve Davies

Eric I think this is a very valuable and thoughtful piece. I agree completely with your two diagnosed problems or challenges. I do think though that it is clear what we need to do to roll back financialisation, it's just difficult given present circumstances. So a political challenge really. The problem of for-profit media has been enormously exacerbated by the way the internet and social media have developed (I don't think this was inevitable but that's where we now are). Also simply the over-production of media is a problem. Jason Lanier had one solution but I think we are too late for that. I think the long term solution is not to do away with for profit media per se but to revert to charging for it. Subscription has the be the main way to go. The problem is that doesn't pay journalists enough. I would that this kind of loss of faith in the public that you refer to has happened before. I don't know if you have read John Hall's account of this liberal 'failure of nerve' as he calls it, in the 1900s and immediate aftermath of WWI? (It's in his Liberalism if you haven't).

I would add a third problem, which is the dire social and cultural (and educational) effects of meritocracy. I think a central aspect of the current so-called populist upsurge is a reaction not so much against liberalism as against meritocracy (which is the ideology in the classic sense of our ruling groups). It has an anti-liberal content because since the 1980s our meritocratic elites in most spheres have bought into certain aspects of liberalism - but always combined with the core meritocratic belief that they are the smart people, therefore they should be in charge, and they know best.

Eric Schliesser

Hi Steve,
Yes, we agree on the effects of meritocracy (and perceived meritocracy); I blogged about that, too: http://digressionsnimpressions.typepad.com/digressionsimpressions/2015/11/against-merit-i-think.html
I agree that the loss of faith has happened before (that's the gap between 1914-45 in my pseudo-historical narrative). I have not read Hall; will order the book and do so.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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