A really excellent explanation of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, its knock on effect in Europe and the austerity response. The history of austerity thinking is also analysed, going back to Locke, Hume, Smith. Made me realise that austerity is a deeply cultural idea and one which leads to the exploitation of the majority. This book improved my understanding of capital movements and the effects of exchange rates. Blyth is very critical of the EU in terms of the ECB and its preoccupation with austerity.
It has taken my a while to get through The Trial. I was interested in this as a testimony of the way in which capitalism can (and does) become a cerebral (self) disciplining experience. We construct our own ‘trial’. What Kafka does is create this in dreamlike and nightmarish way. Constant paranoia and ongoing self-judgements created by perceptions of others that we create. As well as being subconscious and surreal, there is a rationality and instrumentality in the way the trial takes place, it is absurd, but there is a logic. It keeps us within safe working parameters, safely doing our jobs, contained through our own fears. It is the rationality and instrumentality, the mechanisation, the cause-and-effect of that forces this paranoia and necessitates us to return to – or access – what Lacan refers to as The Real. In The Trial it reflects the kind of experience a person has when the day-to-day logic of the capitalism becomes unbelievable. We face the trial as we confront the Real. I am reminded of Weber and the rationality of the protestant ethic as it transforms into capitalism and Fisher’s Capitalist Realism . There is more on this theme in http://stevenwatson.co.uk/2017/01/the-politics-of-mental-illness-from-r-d-laing-the-frankfurt-school-to-mark-fisher-and-capitalist-realism/.
9 July 2017