The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.
recollection of his earlier beliefs (Davis 1994 ), and Keynes’s philosophical thinking changed. But there were continuities, and the intuitionist epistemology and the uncertain consequences of action would become recurring themes. Keynes adopts Moore’s views with qualifications and omissions but broadly follows his half-steps away from neo-Hegelian idealism and organic unity, and from pragmatism’s realism and individualism. Figure 2.1 attempts to summarise the relations, adding a parenthetical Marx and Hegel on grounds of plausibility
Figure 2.1 Idealism and
lines outlined above, but throughout one encounters
the notion of a lost moment to which we might return, a moment to repeat
and renew the revolutionary potential of libidinal economy. Contemporary
thought therefore revisits and replays many prior aspects of libidinal
economy, including the signal moods attached to these. Mark
Fisher’s bleak vision of ‘capitalist realism’ is
perhaps the paradigmatic
In the wake of the 2008 financial
crisis, Mark Fisher’s theorisation of mental and emotional life
under the disenchanted conditions of capitalist realism was deeply
compelling for scholars. 1
His exploration of the chasm between, on the one hand, the relentless
demand on individuals to become successful ‘risk-taking’
entrepreneurs of the self, and, on the other, the
digital. It is, as admitted in the introduction too, unapologetically
idealist, but it is not alone in this. Many current authors engaging with the
growing body of literature on the Anthropocene are insisting that it is entirely
appropriate at this historical juncture to engage in idealism –what else, after all,
is to be done, when one begins to imagine a new and entirely different future?
If there is utopianism at play (although the discerning reader will realise it is
hopeful realism in actual fact), it is because at the present historical juncture
there is little to
) cannot be certain of the competence or diligence of their appointed agents, which is certainly true and explains the reason for regulation designed to protect the consumer, not all of which is simply reactive; that is, it is in place before some disasters occur.
Introducing the agents certainly does bring greater realism to asset-pricing models and can be shown to transform the analysis and output. Importantly, this is achieved whilst maintaining the assumption of fully rational behaviour on the part of all concerned. Such
economy as it
currently operates. The second half examines proposals for ‘conserving’ nature
by giving it a price, such that its destruction can be internalised to the market and its preservation handed over to financial markets. Many advocates of the
natural capital approach acknowledge certain of its risk and limitations, but nonetheless
affirm that economically valuing nature is a matter of pragmatism, realism and necessity.
This chapter is in many ways the converse of these arguments. It acknowledges certain