Mark Twain famously wrote that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” This insight is relevant to examining the apologetics of modern-day academics in the rising neoliberal assault on the public. This subservience to power is evident in efforts to rationalize governmental attacks on the most basic of human needs: access to clean water. In seeking to numb the public to basic facts and reality, the New York Times has published an op-ed analysis piece by Hernán Gómez and Kim Dietrich: “The Children of Flint Were Not Poisoned” (7/22/2018).
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In today’s neoliberal world, colossally lucrative enterprises, making their originators some of the wealthiest people on earth, exist in a realm that can best be described as virtual: Uber and Lyft own no taxis, Airbnb owns no rental properties, eBay/Alibaba possess no inventory, Facebook generates no content of its own, TaskRabbit and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (the latter’s motto: “giving you access to a scalable workforce”) create no genuinely sustainable jobs, but use the internet to “match” individuals with substantial incomes needing someone to undertake menial tasks or run small errands with a hapless “gig” clientele prepared to do this for chickenfeed.
London and New York are the capitals of our neoliberal world, so the recent decision by the Transport for London (TfL) not to renew Uber’s licence when it expires on 30 September, on the grounds that it was not a “fit and proper” operator, comes as something of a surprise. Uber will be allowed to operate while it appeals TfL’s decision.
‘Overshoot’ is when a species uses resources faster than can be replenished. We’re already there. And show no signs of changing.
Humans have a virtually unlimited capacity for self-delusion, even when self-preservation is at stake.
The scariest example is the simplistic, growth-oriented, market-based economic thinking that is all but running the world today. Prevailing neoliberal economic models make no useful reference to the dynamics of the ecosystems or social systems with which the economy interacts in the real world.