Neoliberalism has been and continues to be out of view and in disguise. In addition, neoliberalism exhibits a curious quality in that it is not just dependent on, but gives rise to, the enigmatic status it assumes. The analysis hitherto presented explores this state of affairs from three angles: the first pertains to neoliberalism’s normative expanse; the second involves its institutional heterogeneity; and the third entails the parasitic tendencies of neoliberal agency. This paper argues that, taken together, these dimensions more or less account for neoliberalism’s durability in the face of persistent opposition to it.
This is part 1 of my analysis of Anges Heller’s ‘The Dissatisfied Society’. Part 2 can be found here. Both blogs are written in their own right and one can be read without the other.
The aim of this paper is to show that while Agnes Heller’s 1985 essay ‘The Dissatisfied Society’ provides a resonant account of modernity, its treatment of the dilemma facing the modern individual stands in need of refinement. In ‘The Dissatisfied Society’, Heller introduces a vision of modernity couched in an unlimited symbolic need structure and universal, as opposed to particularistic, values. Heller’s core proposition is that the defining motivational patterns of this dissatisfied society are generalised because they rest on the individualist enterprise of Enlightenment agency and choice. This paper critically analyses this dynamic from four angles, encompassing Heller’s views on needs, values, and progress.