If we do not find an alternative to neoliberalism, it will simply destroy all life on this planet, which it is already beginning to do.
Unlike what Margaret Thatcher said, there are many alternatives to neoliberalism; part of its logic is to see itself as practical and the only option, in spite of being a tremendously extravagant and violent system. There are many possible alternatives we could try, things that have existed in the past and things that people are cooking up right now, but we need to try one of those alternatives if we wish to get off the course towards human extinction we are on right now.
To neoliberalism, life itself has no value aside from its market use; as a commodity to invest value in; as something plain and empty that needs extravagant ornamentation so it isnt oppressively boring. This is part of neoliberalism’s charm, as it can seem exciting and sexy. I like dynamicism and flamboyance also. Unfortunately this conceals neoliberalism’s hatred of life. In the neoliberal logic of experiences as commodities, if you are not living an exciting music video life, you are unbearably bored and numb. Commodifiable exhilaration, to invest in yourself as human capital, or pure numbness. Excitement is important; life would get monotonous is everything was pleasantly moderate.
Moving forward, we need a politics that values life as LIFE, as something wonderful and important all on its own. Not as a moment of introspection but in practice. There is no place for life, on an existential and metaphysical level but also ultimately a literal level, in the hegemony of neoliberalism. In order for life to continue being livable, we have to take it into account. It seems too grandiose and too austere at the same time, but that is part of the trap of neoliberalism disguised as pragmatism. Life can only be livable if we stop treating it as flavorless vanilla ice cream to pour the hot fudge of market growth on.
“Schopenhauer used to say “life is a business that doesn’t cover its costs”. This is untrue, not because life covers its costs in the end, but because life is simply not a business. Yet, in recent times it has become one.”-Martin Heidegger, “An Introduction to Metaphysics”.