Legends of Fordism

Between Myth, History, and Foregone Conclusions

in Social Analysis
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Over the past four decades, politicians and government officials of the so-called advanced industrial countries have scaled back state-sponsored programs in education, healthcare, welfare to the poor, and housing subsidies. In conjunction, international economic organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have imposed fiscal policies upon developing nations, which disadvantage the poor by retrenching public services. These broad level shifts in the global political economy have been legitimized through a planetary newspeak that centers on such buzzwords as ‘globalization’ positing a ‘new economy,’ which require ‘flexible’ and ‘multicultural identities’ (Bourdieu and Wacquant 2001). In this way, free trade advocates naturalize these political processes with reductive biological models of society that often assume an autonomous individual, as Kapferer discusses in his contribution to this forum (see also Taussig, Rapp, and Heath 2003).