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Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative?
Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher - Book Overview and Thoughts
“It's easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” - Mark Fisher
This is how Mark Fisher begins Capitalist Realism with an immensely profound and devastating truth that is hard to admit.
But, before we go into detail, here are some highlights:
The term "Capitalist Realism" refers to society's inability to imagine alternatives to capitalism, accepting the current political and economic system as the sole viable option.
Capitalism transforms objects into commodities, fostering a culture of consumption and spectacle for the sole purpose of profit.
Nihilism is so deeply embedded in our culture that even "anti-capitalism" is viewed as a useless act that creates cynicism and disarms those who may be motivated to organize against it. In other words, anti-capitalism encourages people to accept the system.
Capitalism produces more of the same, preventing the creation of real new experiences.
While fascism and Stalinism need propaganda to survive, capitalism can function without anyone making a case for it. This is because capitalism is widely regarded as post-ideological.
Capitalist realism sees mental health as a natural fact rather than a political issue.
Late capitalism promotes hyper bureaucracy, emphasizing appearances and symbols over actual achievements.
The "big Other" is a collective fiction or symbolic structure that underlies social reality; it is an invisible phenomenon that is represented by individuals and institutions, and it's constantly shaped by public relations and propaganda.
Postmodernism overlaps with capitalist realism because of the crisis caused by the decline of trust in the "big Other" and its impact on traditional ways of seeing the world. Fisher argues that viewing ourselves as having transcended the necessity of the big Other unavoidably supports capitalist realism, since we limit our ability to envision alternatives.
Post-Fordism has a decentralized nature and unpredictable work environment that increases mental distress.
Selfish capitalism's competitive and aspirational nature contributes to unrealistic expectations and pressures, affecting mental well-being.
Neoconservatism and neoliberalism are two distinct ideologies. However, in the realm of capitalist realism, the market becomes the primary arena for making decisions. As a result, the coexistence of opposing ideologies without significant critique or transformation hinders the creation of true alternatives.
Fisher argues that the media in capitalism reflects the permissive and hedonistic society of postmodernity, in which we emphasize desire and pleasure. This leads to parents viewing their duty as a failure if they impede their children's right to enjoy themselves.
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But, without any more delay, let's dive right in!
To begin his book, Fisher describes the main idea of his work by comparing it to the film Children of Men by Alfonso Cuarón, which takes place in a dystopian future where humanity is confronted with infertility, leaving no hope for the future.
Furthermore, Fisher says that the film gives a sense of despair and a lack of hope for change. The massive infertility and the absence of children symbolize a cultural stagnation and a loss of potential for progress.
With this, Fisher claims that the film reflects the difficulty of imagining alternatives to capitalism because no one knows how the current society came to be; all they know is that it is what they have and there is nothing they can do about it.
Moreover, the film implements crisis-response measures such as authoritarian regulations and the closure of public places, which, according to Fisher, it's something that can be observed in our modern society under capitalism, where systems have been put in place to deal with the consequences of the system. Some of these measures include the authoritarian measures implemented after 9/11 and the 2008 banking crisis. In these scenarios, the state, which is intended to be less involved under capitalism, takes over to handle its own problems with measures that it regards as impossible to set aside even after years have gone.
All of this is what Fisher refers to as "Capitalist Realism," a state of mind that society has within capitalism in which we see no potential of change and nothing can be reverted or improved. A state of mind in which all we can do is accept the current political and economic way of organizing the world.
Now, according to Fisher, the infertility issue might be considered a metaphor for our late capitalism.
As previously said, infertility represents a loss for progress, and hence a loss of something new, which, according to Fisher, is extremely characteristic of capitalism.
This brings us to his claim about history and culture, and how capitalism absorbs everything. According to Fisher, capitalism produces more of what already exists, leaving us with nothing new or exciting to experience. Furthermore, once culture can no longer be viewed through a new lens, it is no longer culture and is instead given monetary value and stored as an artifact of the past, such as in a museum; this transforms capitalism into a system that transforms objects into commodities, fostering a culture of consumption and spectacle for the sole purpose of profit.
But, according to Fisher, this idea of having nothing new is a sign of something.
To explain this, Fisher mentions Francis Fukuyama, an American conservative politician who wrote a book that suggests that the end of history happened with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the victory of capital liberalism. Fukuyama used his enthusiasm for Hegelian dialectics to reach the conclusion that liberalism is ultimately the Absolute Idea that Hegel envisioned.
However, Fisher disagrees with Fukuyama, and says that even if the idea came to be rejected, it still tends to be the default way we think about capitalism on a subconscious level. In addition to this, he argues that Fukuyama's concept of the end of history reflects a Nietzschean influence, which according to Fisher's interpretation of Nietzsche's "Last Man,” reflects a sense of disengagement and spectatorship.
Now, I will briefly mention some Nietzschean concepts in order to explain what he means by the “Last Man.” The majority of people are more familiar with Nietzsche's concept of the Übermensch, which is a type of humanity powered by the pursuit of self-realization. The “Last Man” concept, on the other hand, shows a condition in which mankind is primarily concerned with avoiding suffering and chasing pleasures, which, in turn, reduces engagement in life and turns humans into just spectators.
This explains Fisher's belief that Fukuyama's work is fundamentally Nietzschean. The assumption that capital liberalism is the end of history reflects our actual reality, in which people have become passive consumers and spectators rather than active participants in shaping their own lives and society. In other words, we have become blind to the system, mindlessly following it and failing to see any alternatives of living.
Lastly, at the end of the first chapter, Fisher discusses Kurt Cobain and how he perceived this new commodification in society.
According to Fisher, Cobain is a good example of a response against the dominant capitalist system in which everything, including culture, is commodified. Fisher says that Cobain marks a critical point at which the cultural phenomenon of grunge was predetermined to become a mainstream media product even before it was born. In other words, what was meant to be new became a spectacle and a commodity, and despite Cobain's attempts, his acts and image were quickly co-opted by the mainstream music industry, media, and consumer culture. It is a capitalist paradox in which acts of subversion and resistance are ultimately assimilated and commodified by the very system they seek to challenge.
Protesting or Going Against the System Just Reinforces It
To start the second chapter, we need to understand the nihilism that lives within capitalism. This idea that anything is meaningless, and that even our attempts to rebel against the system become useless since all our actions are somehow determined to have a certain outcome that was repeated before, and will therefore, repeat itself.
Furthermore, this nihilism is so deeply embedded in our culture that even "anti-capitalism" is viewed as a useless act that creates cynicism and disarms those who may be motivated to organize against it. In other words, anti-capitalism encourages people to accept the system.
To explain this, Fisher uses the film Wall-E, in which capitalism's consumerist culture has finally destroyed Earth and humanity has become overweight and dependent on their screens while they live elsewhere in space. Moreover, the film, more than making the consumer an spectator, invites them to interact with the movie and realize the terror that capitalism is creating.
On top of that, this film rather than creating what it intends, gives a sense of “interpassivity,” in which the viewer consumes the content without feeling guilty. To put it another way, despite the film being leftist, the fact that a company is doing the job for us and coming up with solutions makes us passive. It causes us to watch the film without feeling terrible about not doing anything about it.
This leads to the claim Fisher makes that, while fascism and Stalinism need propaganda to survive, capitalism can function without anyone making a case for it. This is because capitalism is widely regarded as post-ideological; nevertheless, according to Slavoj Žižek, capitalism has the ideology of cynicism, in which people do not believe in ideology and the mere act of ignoring it creates an unconscious fantasy that shapes our reality.
For instance, Žižek explains that even though we know capitalism is wrong, we nonetheless participate in it. We know money is only a piece of paper or numbers on a screen, but we continue to act as if it has some value.
Finally, Fisher uses the Live Aid 1985 benefit event to illustrate this concept. This was a concert that generated funds for famine help in Ethiopia. With this, Fisher emphasizes that, while this event intended to reduce global inequality and separate ourselves from capitalism's flaws, the very act of relying on consumption and major corporations to achieve these aims promotes capitalist realism.
In other words, philanthropic acts as main solutions to system problems reinforce capitalism as the only sustainable system. Once again, it turns consumers into spectators and makes them a part of an event in which companies profit from the suffering of others and turn it into a global media spectacle.
Work, Education and Healthcare under Capitalist Realism
After Fisher has taken us through how capitalism has transformed culture and art, he focuses on how it has impacted work, healthcare and education in such a way that it constrains thought and action.
As we have seen, just criticizing capitalism from a moral position, emphasizing its negative consequences and the misery it causes, promotes capitalist realism; hence, Fisher asks, "Where can the challenge come from?"
With this in mind, Fisher argues that one way to destroy capitalist realism is to expose its flaws and contradictions.
However, what appears realistic is not the same as actual reality, because in an ideological reality, everything is defined by the ideology itself, and what appears "natural" becomes unquestionable.
This introduces us to the Lacanian concept of the Real, which illustrates capitalism's unrepresentable and traumatic aspects. Environmental catastrophe is one example of this, which is included into capitalist culture but isn’t fully assimilated due to capitalism's demand for everlasting resource exploitation.
“For Lacan, the Real is what any ‘reality’ must suppress; indeed, reality constitutes itself through just this repression. The Real is an unrepresentable X, a traumatic void that can only be glimpsed in the fractures and inconsistencies in the field of apparent reality. So one strategy against capitalist realism could involve invoking the Real(s) underlying the reality that capitalism presents to us.” - Mark Fisher
Another aspect that Fisher highlights is mental health. Capitalist realism sees mental health as a natural fact rather than a political issue. The rising rates of mental distress in capitalist societies are viewed as an issue that each of us must address, without taking into account the conditions in which people live on a daily basis.
To conclude the chapter, Fisher discusses how bureaucracy persists in capitalist societies, despite claims that neoliberalism would abolish it and that bureaucracy would remain a "relic of unlamented Stalinist past."
Fisher gives the example of how, rather than focusing on educating students, teachers focus on maintaining the appearance of being effective teachers since they are constantly monitored by bureaucracy. Teachers must be perceived as productive, which paradoxically leads to a distorted performance comparison across teachers, because we are comparing the image or representation of a performance, rather than the performance itself.
Another aspect discussed by Fisher is the concept of "reflexive impotence" among students.
He says that they are generally more disengaged, and that this disengagement is due to a sense of powerlessness under the system, rather than apathy. Students believe they can't change anything, and this, in turn, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
To add to this, Fisher claims that this sense of powerlessness has led to a variety of issues among teenagers, including mental health issues and learning difficulties such as dyslexia, and that this has led to a state of "depressive hedonia" in which teenagers are unable to do anything other than seek pleasure. This idea of being hooked up into phones, computers and social media creates an incapacity to create a coherent narrative, which in turn creates demotivation.
To support this claim, Fisher mentions an analysis from Jameson titled Postmodernism and Consumer Society, in which he emphasizes the concept of the Lacanian schizophrenic, which reduces all experience into pure and unrelated pieces of time.
This leads to his claim that conditions such as ADHD are disorders of late capitalism, because people cannot be "unwired" from consumer culture inside the system.
Furthermore, he says that our "new ability" to process data in the form of images has rendered us unable to process information in the form of a text, and that as a result, we have lost our ability to read and engage in books.
With this in mind, Fisher says that in late capitalism, individuals who struggle to retain information are illiterate, but they must nevertheless succeed and stick to evaluation standards, resulting in education being a reproduction of a social reality with inconsistencies. One example is how teachers must continually adjust to their students' boredom in order to preserve their interest in learning, while still appearing to be teaching the way they should, because they are constantly supervised by a higher-level manager.
Fordism and Post Fordism
Now we go on to Fisher's explanation of Post Fordism and how it differs from the Fordism of the past. Karl Marx got all of his ideas about alienation from a Fordist society, which was a system defined by rigid organizational structures, loyalty to companies, and a predictable career path consisting mainly of repeated meaningless work.
However, our current reality is a Post-Fordist society, which is far more decentralized and indirectly asks individuals to be more flexible, respond to unforeseen events, and adapt themselves in order to meet market demands, which can be seen as an invisible structure that is deeply embedded in the mind of every individual living in a capitalistic society.
Furthermore, Fisher claims that the transition to a new Post-Fordist society has had psychological implications. The persistent insecurity and unpredictability of work in this new system has increased mental distress, making capitalism fundamentally bipolar, with the economy swinging between periods of irrational exuberance, such as the bubble thinking we occasionally see, and depressive downturns, which by definition reflect the psychological distress associated with severe economic contractions.
After this, Fisher discusses the concept of the Selfish Capitalist, which comes from another study cited by James. The research shows a correlation between the rise of selfish capitalism and increased rates of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Fisher argues that the competitive and aspirational nature of selfish capitalism leads to unrealistic expectations and pressures, which can negatively affect people's mental well-being. This creates a toxic environment in which people feel constant pressure to achieve wealth and success, regardless of their history or circumstances.
On this point, I'd like to point out that when Fisher wrote the book, we didn't have social media as we do now, and today, not only is material wealth assumed to be the only way to be considered successful, but also the following and appearance you portray on the internet, which leads to even higher levels of mental distress.
Postmodern Capitalism and the Big Other
As we said earlier, late capitalism is characterized by claims of being anti-bureaucratic. However, as we already saw, this isn’t the case.
To make the point, Fisher used the film Office Space to exemplify “hyper individuality” in the workplace. In this movie, employees are asked to wear seven badges or personal tokens to express their individuality and creativity, illustrating how self-expression has become integral to labor in modern societies.
Furthermore, the badges show us a hidden phenomenon since one of the employees is asked why she did not wear more, to which she replies, “Well, if you wanted me to wear 37 pieces, why didn’t you just make 37 the minimum?.” Then the manager replies, “Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to express yourself.”
This scene, according to Fisher, shows how doing the minimum isn’t enough, and how it imposes demands on workers without actually expressing it.
In other words, Fisher means that the demands of capitalism are in some ways invisible. People are continuously striving to be more than average to attain success, which drives them to surpass the "unspoken rules" of the workplace in order to reach the top.
This returns us to the idea that neoliberalism tried to remove bureaucracy and move away from the concept of a Stalinist society. The rhetoric of decentralized control has resulted in the flattening of workplace hierarchies, which has boosted worker monitoring since information technology gives top managers wide visibility and, as a result, we get more self-monitoring.
This is what we call "hyper bureaucracy," and it is the result of neoliberalism's initial attempt to eliminate it. It is distinguished by an emphasis on appearance, with capital being more concerned with this than with the work itself. We are constantly striving to create the illusion of good performance rather than achieving the actual goals of the work. Fisher refers to this tendency as "market Stalinism," because it prioritizes symbols of achievement over actual achievement, transforming late capitalism into a system that favors public relations and appearances, similar to how Stalinism prioritized symbols over useful developments.
To give an example, Fisher mentions the propaganda of Stalin's white canal, which was practically used to represent a symbol of accomplishment but was in reality an entirely useless achievement for society.
Furthermore, this gives us the conclusion that effects are meaningless if they are not registered at the level of appearance. Which, as a side note, it's interesting to consider how social media and the way individuals engage with it and real life are so similar. This idea that if you don't show an appearance of your life to others, you're not making it. If you did not register that moment or real accomplishment on an appearance level it did not matter, it was pointless. Which can lead to actually just striving to accomplish the appearance rather than the outcome itself.
Now, all of this has become an end in itself rather than a means of measuring achievement, just as students are geared towards passing tests rather than knowledge itself. Another example is the stock market and how it creates value based mostly on our perception of the company rather than what the company actually accomplishes.
This leads Fisher to his saying that "all that is solid melts into PR," or public relations, and he goes on to describe how the Lacanian psychoanalytic concept of the "big other" might help us understand this phenomenon.
First, the "big Other" is a collective fiction or symbolic structure that underlies social reality; it is an invisible phenomenon that is represented by individuals and institutions, and it's constantly shaped by public relations and propaganda.
For instance, in the case of the white canal example we mentioned, it wasn't Stalin himself who represented the big Other, but rather the Soviet and foreign writers who had to be convinced of the project's greatness, and hence to the media and the appearance the project gives. This phenomenon needs constitutive ignorance, meaning it doesn’t know everything. This allows the public to continue the belief even when individuals are aware of certain flaws.
Now, the distinction between what the big Other officially knows and what individuals know and experience is significant. This gap plays a crucial role in maintaining everyday social reality, since it allows people to believe in and conform to the symbolic structure, even if they personally have knowledge or experiences that contradict it.
However, when the illusion of the big Other's ignorance can no longer be sustained, hence when people become aware that the big Other is aware of certain flaws or truths, the underlying social reality starts to fade away.
This leads us to Jean-François Lyotard’s claim about Postmodernism, which encompasses the crisis triggered by the decline in belief in the big Other, as it challenges traditional ways of seeing the world.
With this in mind, Fisher argues that we can see this concept in the context of capitalist realism, and how the belief that we have somehow moved beyond the need for the big Other actually reinforces capitalist realism.
In other words, by believing that the big Other is no longer relevant, we unintentionally reinforce the power of capitalist ideology and limit our ability to imagine alternative possibilities.
Furthermore, Fisher claims that postmodernism can sometimes be naive in its belief that people in the past genuinely believed in symbols and the stories they represented, when in fact reality worked precisely because of the distinction between what I see and what it signifies.
For example, we treat someone with respect if they have an important title, like a judge, even if we personally know they are corrupt. This shows how symbols, like the judge's title, influence how we perceive and interact with reality.
In fact, this is what the philosopher Baudrillard said in his work, and how the absence of symbolic representations did not result in a direct sense of reality, but rather in a distorted form of reality that he referred to as "hyperreality." One clear example is reality shows like Big Brother, where cameras and the fact that the participants are being subjected to polls affect how they act in the first place.
To put it another way, the fact that these shows let the audience decide does not submit them to any external authority, but rather makes them part of a system in which their desires and preferences are returned to them as the desires of the "big Other."
Finally, these systems are no longer limited to television; they are everywhere, which brings us back to the topic of post-Fordist bureaucracy, where bureaucratic systems have a tight link with the “big Other.”
This means that in our late capitalism, where there is no ultimate authority to provide a definitive official version, dealing with bureaucracy becomes frustrating because officials often lack decision-making power, and refer only to decisions already made by the “big Other,” which represents the influential system or entity that shapes our behavior and decisions, including the way reality is perceived and experienced.
The Blurred Line Between Neoliberalism and Neoconservatism: The Nanny State and Personal Responsibility
According to Fisher, capitalism is a reality that is infinitely malleable and able to readapt and change constantly.
To prove his point, Fisher starts by providing an analogy with dreams. He says that when we dream, we forget the gaps and contradictions in our memories, creating a consistent narrative, and how this is similar to how power operates in society, where conflicting ideas can coexist and be manipulated constantly.
With this in mind, capitalist realism blurs the boundaries between political ideologies. It allows conflicting ideas to coexist and be manipulated for the sake of maintaining the capitalist system.
For example, we might think that neoconservatism and neoliberalism are two distinct ideologies. However, in the realm of capitalist realism, the market becomes the primary arena for making decisions, where politicians may take seemingly contradictory positions or make promises that contradict their previous positions in order to appeal to different voter segments while avoiding any fundamental challenges to the current economic system.
As a result, the coexistence of opposing ideologies without significant critique or transformation hinders the creation of true alternatives.
To go deeper, Fisher points out Wendy Brown's essay "American Nightmare," in which she discusses how neoliberalism's belief in free markets, limited government intervention, and individual self-interest intersects with the neoconservative belief in a strong state authority, traditional values, and the use of military force for national security purposes. Furthermore, Brown claims that, despite their different ideological foundations, these two ideologies ultimately serve to reinforce and weaken democracy.
To prove her point, she gives an example of how these two ideologies converge in their opposition to the welfare state and the concept of a "Nanny State," which is a term used to describe a government that is perceived to be overly involved in its citizens' lives, particularly in terms of regulation and social welfare programs. To put it another way, they both rejected government intervention, viewing it as a threat to individual freedom and personal responsibility.
Now, Fisher mentions a contradiction within neoliberalism that he sees as important, and that is that despite its opposition to state intervention, it has reinforced the state during moments of crisis, like it did in 2008 during the bank bailouts, in order to fix the problems that capitalism caused.
Furthermore, he claims that the "Nanny State" has a psychological function within a capitalist society since it acts as a scapegoat for failures and flaws allowing people to direct their anger and frustration at the government rather than private companies, which are, by definition, the foundations of capitalism.
One example Fisher mentions is the UK government being blamed for the issues produced by the 2007 flood, despite the fact that the problems were caused by house builders and the privatization of water companies.
In addition to this, Fisher claims that capitalism’s emphasis on individual responsibility and ethics often fails to address the behavior of corporations or the systemic issues of capitalism.
To exemplify this, Fisher mentions Campbell Jones' work titled 'The Subject Supposed To Recycle.' In it, Jones explores the widely held assumption that recycling is an unquestionable duty and questions who is expected to fulfill this responsibility.
Moreover, by asking this question, Jones wants to draw attention to the fact that recycling is a socially constructed idea that is commonly accepted as a duty. In other words, recycling is presented as something beyond ideology, implying that it is seen as an unquestionable duty that is simply demanded of everyone.
However, by putting everyone in charge of recycling, the actual responsibility is shifted onto individual consumers, allowing corporations and industries that should bear a significant share of the blame for environmental degradation to avoid responsibility, as is the case with climate change as well.
Finally, this makes capitalism an invisible centerless force that can't be traced back to its foundations, putting the blame on virtually anyone, and therefore separating humans from what they all share, their limited resources.
Marxist SuperNanny, Spinozism and the New Left
Finally, for the last topic of the book, Fisher refers again to Žižek, who exemplifies the failure of the father figure and the crisis of parental authority in modern society by appealing to the TV show "Supernanny,” which is a popular show about how parents struggle to raise their children.
Furthermore, Žižek claims that even if the TV show addresses the issues, the real problem comes from the fact that parents prioritize their children's enjoyment and resist challenging or educating them, which is different from what parenting was in the past, where being a parent was more of a guiding duty.
With all this, Fisher argues that the TV show reflects the permissive and hedonistic society of postmodernity, in which late capitalism emphasizes desire and pleasure. This leads to parents viewing their duty as a failure if they impede their children's right to enjoy themselves.
After all this, Fisher suggests that the philosopher Spinoza offers valuable insights for understanding a form of paternalism that can exist without the traditional concept of the father.
To begin his claim, Fisher references Žižek’s book called “Tarrying With the Negative,” which interprets Spinoza’s ideas and aligns them with capitalism. The work says that Spinoza rejects the moral framework based on obligations and instead focuses on an ethic centered around the concept of health. This, according to Žižek, corresponds to the amoral affective engineering of capitalism.
To illustrate this point, Žižek mentions Spinoza's interpretation of the myth of the Fall. In Spinoza's view, God doesn't punish Adam for eating the apple because it is morally wrong. Instead, God warns Adam not to eat the apple because it will harm him. Žižek sees this as a symbolic termination of the Father function, suggesting that right and wrong are no longer dictated by a paternal authority figure, but are determined by their effects on health.
By taking this perspective, we can understand how Spinoza weakens the foundation of Law, which is based on punishment and rules imposed in a sadistic manner. Spinoza's worldview, according to Žižek, condemns both the harsh exercise of power and the belief in infinite personal responsibility that is so essential for capitalism to work.
Additionally, Spinozism shows that freedom can only be achieved if we understand the reason for our actions, and if we can set aside “sad passions” that control us.
With this in mind, Fisher claims that in late capitalism people are trapped in addictive and repetitive behaviors influenced by illusions created by media and society, which is the opposite of what Spinoza sees as “true freedom.”
Furthermore, even if it looks like late capitalism is concerned with health by, for example, banning smoking in public areas. It primarily appeals to a narrow definition of "health," focusing just on "feeling good and looking good," and limiting the whole concept of well-being in terms of mental health and intellectual development. In other words, everything is reduced to an oppressive and elitist view of health.
Now, the interesting part is that all these things are seen as socially relevant and desirable, as if they were part of a regime of consent, but how did this happen?
Fisher mentions an interview with the filmmaker Adam Curtis, where he discusses the influence of television on shaping people's emotions. TV programs guide viewers on how to feel by presenting emotional journeys of characters and suggesting the agreed form of feeling.
Furthermore, he discusses Curtis' notion that morality has been replaced by feeling, and how all media promotes individualism, where people have become solipsists, which essentially implies that the media has changed people into becoming self-centered. In addition to that, Curtis claims that the internet, rather than expanding people’s minds, often just confirms and enhances people’s beliefs through interconnected like-minded networks.
Finally, even if we believe capitalism innovates, it primarily seeks to avoid risks, limiting innovation and creativity. The rise of consumerism means that the more it grows, the less it risks. This causes short-term profits and instability to lead to stagnation and conservatism rather than stimulating innovation, and so failing to respond to people's demands for the strange and unexpected, which sounds very similar to what we're seeing with all those Disney live-action films.
To conclude the book, Fisher argues that the new left cannot rely on Marxian old ideas, but must instead focus on what neoliberalism cannot provide. It should strive to decrease bureaucracy and provide employees more autonomy rather than managerial control. He also thinks that it is critical to transform mental health problems from medicalized disorders into effective antagonisms aimed against the capitalist system.
Finally, he argues that rather than implementing authoritarian measures when it is too late, we should focus collectively on solving environmental catastrophe and the concept of rationing goods and resources reasonably.
In conclusion, I believe Mark Fisher provided the best explanation for our ideological fantasy, and I have done my best to explain it in such a way that everyone can understand the deep message he had to give. It is critical that we avoid the dichotomy of "if it isn't capitalism, then it's communism," and recognize that the loss of credibility that socialism and communism have currently does not indicate that similar or even different approaches will fail.
The collapse of communism does not automatically mean the goodness and everlasting praise for capitalism. We live in an ideological fantasy, a “reality” that happened accidentally on purpose, and that begs to be transformed.
Fisher, M. (2008). Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? Zero Classics.
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