Daly, G. (2009) The shrugging of Atlas: capitalism's new reformation. Invited Keynote presented to: Political Economy: Financialisation and Discourse Theory, University of Cardiff, Wales, 27-28 May 2009.
In her classic novel, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand paints a picture of a degenerate capitalism in which the ‘parasites, looters and beggars’ are rewarded while the entrepreneurs, inventors and ‘men of the mind’ are reviled and ignored. For some commentators this nightmare vision is all too evidently coming to pass. It is reflected not only through economic decay but, more especially, through the emergence of a new type of capitalism, driven increasingly by socialistic principles, wherein ‘the more incompetent you are in business, the more handouts the politicians will bestow on you’ (Stephen Moore). This paper represents an exploration of the contemporary themes and issues surrounding economic (non-)intervention. More broadly it addresses the theoretical question of political economy and how the latter tends to impact on our understanding of political logics and engagement. In this context, a central point of contention will be the failure of standard forms of post-structuralism to come to terms with notions such as totality and necessity
Conference or Workshop Item (Invited Keynote)
Political economy, post-structuralism, discourse, virtual capitalism