2010 Abstracts Stage 2

Protecting the Wealth of the Nation. A Study of the Ideological Structures of Radical Capitalism

David Manasse, 2010, Stage 2

As anyone may notice there is an obvious assumption in my title which I should first work to explain, namely my assertion that current, late capitalist power structures are radical. I use this term in its meaning of ‘extreme’. As I will seek to show, while the values of the majority of people, across most societies of the world, are those, broadly speaking, of freedom, democracy, choice and fairness, and of respect for the dignity of human life, these are not values that are followed through in the operating of modern states or the capitalist system.

In my project I intend to explore how this radical state manages, through its prevailing Ideology, to continually reproduce the conditions of production, and so continually assert itself over the rights of the majority of the people.

In order to do this, I shall use Guy Debord’s concept of the visible manifestation of ideology – the spectacle – in order to show the spectacle/reality distinction in several examples, centred in the last ten years of Neo-Liberal Capitalism.

EXAMPLES INCLUDING: The Illusion of Democracy Capitalist Realism and The Myth of the West’s Civilizing Force

I shall expand on these examples with comparison to Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four as a paradigm for a radically oppressive ideological system, as well as theory and analysis from Slavoj Žižek, a prolific writer on the functioning of ideology, Noam Chomsky, an outspoken critic of modern state manipulation and the manufacturing of consent, Louis Althusser’s theory of Ideological State Apparatuses and Mark Fisher’s book Capitalist Realism. In this way I intend to show how Ideology dictates what is thinkable in life, how our free market Neo-Liberal system, is really just a system for funnelling rights and capital into the hands of the incredibly wealthy, and how our free and fair democracy is in fact a cynical sham, in which policy is dictated by corporate leaders.

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