Thu, 12 January 2023
Emma is back for her first Thursday show of 2023! She hosts Neil Vallelly, researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand, to discuss his book Futilitarianism: Neoliberalism and the Production of Uselessness. First, Emma runs through updates on a second set of classified documents being found at Biden’s Wilmington home, House GOP introducing two anti-abortion bills, Kevin McCarthy’s quid pro quo to obtain the speakership, the NYC Nurses’ strike reaching a tentative agreement after three days, and Barbara Lee’s potential run for Senate in Dianne Feinstein’s seat, before Emma parses through updates on Israel’s apartheid expansion as Bibi Netanyahu’s far-right coalition comes into power, and Rashida Tlaib’s statements on the House floor. Neil Vallelly then joins as he dives right into the inspiration for his book coming out of direct exposure to budget slashes at University, and the impacts they have in driving students into specific realms of study more suited to capitalist endeavors, exploring how the humanities and social sciences are painted as indulgent and useless for occasionally challenging capitalism rather than seeking to serve it. This brings Professor Vallelly to the topic of how different things get constructed as “useless” in our world, following how the emphasis on utility in education came alongside a shift towards privatized and debt-driven universities, thus requiring students to shape their own educational path alongside the universities’ economic projects. Next, Neil steps back as he traces the path from Jeremy Bentham’s theories of utilitarianism to contemporary neoliberalism, first exploring how he came to view money as the objective quantifier of utility, justifying the growing capital accumulation in the world and the growing economic theories of the time, with even the anti-utilitarian theories of the 20th Century, namely Keynesian and Hayekian economics, grounding themselves in this concept of maximizing happiness (whether for the masses or individuals). After tackling how the Friedman-Hayek form of anti-utilitarian utilitarianism won out over New Deal economics, Neil and Emma explore neoliberalism’s separation of the market from “democracy, the greater relationship between enfranchisement and utility, and how nihilism can help us analyze it, before wrapping up by walking through more specific examples of utilitarianism’s impact on neoliberal policy.
And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Brandon Sutton and Matt Binder as Matt discusses his time at the CES Tech Conference, and they talk with Bro Flamingo on the NFL and punitive measures against political coups. They also cover updates on Matt Schlapp’s alleged sexual assault, Prince Harry on the relationship between his family and his family jewels, and the Daily Wire’s flunking filmmaking endeavor and the celebs they’re taking down with them. Tony from San Jose calls in to parse through the potential Saudi acquisition of the WWE, with Binder filling in many of the gaps of what led up to this, plus, your calls and IMs!
Check out Neil's book here: https://mitpress.mit.edu/9781912685905/futilitarianism/
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