The article I chose to discuss for the week 11 blog prompt is ALSO about Neoliberalism – seems to be a popular topic. However, instead of focusing on how neoliberalism has begun to expand and impact the consumer market in the strictly social sphere, I will focus on how the author of this article interpreted and defined neoliberalism as an “unnatural” process that has destructive consequences for the environment. This argument ties in sweetly with my own essay as the author lists privatization as one of the more harmful components of a neoliberal-capitalist economy.
The article mainly addresses how neoliberalism has affected the relationship between humans and nature and “the destructive effects and complex interactions of neoliberal capitalism with nature”. The author argues that the assumption that neoliberalism is “an inevitable or natural state” of the economy is inherently flawed and incorrect and stresses the need “to consider neoliberalism as a process” rather than a mute state. The author then goes on to list three factors of neoliberalism are involved in these “complex interactions”: manipulations of governance, increased privatization, and enclosure and market variations. Each of these factors has a distinctly harmful effect on nature and our natural resources and usually involves exploiting nature to satisfy the economic agenda of man or as the article puts it “movement and reconfiguration, investment and production, and scouring, destruction, and abandonment”.
The Year of the Flood touches on these topic of capitalism vs. nature again and again. For instance, the Gardeners openly reject consumer capitalism and lead their lives by example, rebuking “worldly” things they consider sinful, wasteful, or inherently harmful for the soul or the environment. Privatization, a harmful tool for the expansion and solidification of neoliberal capitalism. Is also featured in Atwood’s novel and takes the form of the main antagonist: the CorpSeCorp and its deferential corporations. The Corp is not only responsible for the destruction of countless human lives but also for the waste and decay that characterizes the Pleeblands. These communities actively and enthusiastically engage in the rabid, materialistic consumer capitalism that the Corp advertises while producing massive amounts of waste and encouraging the growth and expansion of a harmful, self-interested economy.
The kind of destructive neoliberalism the articles discusses is certainly present in The Year of the Flood and I found this article helpful in expanding my interpretation of capitalism as something that not only effects social and socioeconomic interactions but interactions between humans and nature as well.