moral arithmetic. In principle, it may be justifiable to inflict harm on a small number of people for the greater good of a much larger number – even to kill the few to save many more lives, if thereisnoalternative (Thomas is neither a strict deontologist nor a strict consequentialist). But the terrorists made no attempt to carry out this calculation. If they had, they would have seen immediately that the end they sought did not justify the means. The same is true of the Western response to terrorism: Western governments have never seriously tried to show that
decide’ – which is everywhere articulated in anthropomorphic terms as a mythic power – ‘the Markets reacted badly today to
news of renewed protests in Greece’; ‘the further stimulus package approved
by Congress has pleased the Markets’. The first commandment in the political
theology of neoliberal Market fundamentalism is monotheism: ‘ThereIsNoAlternative.’ As it is questioned, the truth of the Market is proclaimed even
more sternly. This is the political theology of authoritarian neoliberalism. To
begin to imagine an alternative to authoritarian neoliberalism and
How Was It For You?
The first study, reported in How Was It For You? Exploring Couples’
Experiences of the First Year of Marriage, was commissioned by a marriage and relationship education and counselling organisation, and the
participants were all under forty, married and based in Dublin.4
From this study, two broad groups emerge. One group’s themes concern the demands of jobs, coping with constant tiredness, a lack of time
for family and friends, and a feeling of being constantly over-pressed. I
call them the TINA (‘thereisnoalternative’) group. Most of this
obliterate dreams, but encourages and inculcates an expansive belief in dreams through
its training. However these future imaginaries are narrow and individualised.
Dreams of a successful self who enacts normative values becomes the only dream
possible or worth having. As Massey described, neoliberalism effectively alters
the ‘scaffolding of our imagination’ by changing the way we perceive ourselves
Remaking inequalities in the neoliberal institution173
and what it is possible to do and to be. The idea that thereisnoalternative to this
format is powerfully evidenced
Finland, Utrecht and Ontario becomes available. The idea is also
being discussed by Labour parties in Britain and New Zealand.
Bauman’s pessimism and the poverty of alternatives to TINA
At the same time as Bauman raged against TINA (‘thereisnoalternative’), it is only too obvious that he seldom offered any concrete
alternatives to the present. In what sense could his be a sociology of hope? How could he claim to be defamiliarising a taken-forgranted, reified, naturalised world when he felt that consumerist
delusion had seeped so deeply into culture and personality
faith traditions (more particularly, the dominant faith traditions). In this Punch
and Judy show of the Ancients and the Moderns, the enemy is alternatively the
godless or the God-fearing Other. The effect of this false dichotomy is to conceal
the very considerable overlap in concerns and values between believers and progressive secularists; notably, the mortal danger posed to both by what might be
termed market totalitarianism.
To contend that thereisnoalternative to the Market is to argue, in effect, that
democracy is meaningless. Democracy, if it is to
political slogan, ‘thereisnoalternative’),
although he not only claimed to be a socialist but argued that ‘this
world of ours needs socialists more than at any other time, and …
this need has become much more poignant and urgent yet after
the fall of the Berlin Wall’ (Bauman and Tester 2001: 153). And
Bauman certainly had more than a streak of utopianism in his
thinking (Jacobsen 2008).
There is also what Mark Davis (2008: 107) has called Bauman’s
‘will to dualism’, which results in abstract and unhelpful dualities
such as ‘modernity’ and ‘postmodernity’, ‘solid’ and
What a thought experiment about race-colour change makes us see
Margaret P. Battin
it is not clear that making use of an alternative choice is indefensible as
Closely related, a person might want to ‘dip’ into a different skin colour to
enhance his or her status, whether social status in general or status within
specific institutions or spheres. Doing so counteracts generalised racial
prejudice, as distinct from the individual racial prejudice of the professor
in the previous case; but unlike the previous case thereisnoalternative in
avoiding the prejudice, analogous to dropping the class, other than removing oneself
verification – humans can mutually verify their own experience of the world with other members of their social group. That is, other members can affirm or reject the individual’s experience as valid. Other people provide the external reference which is lacking for the lone individual: ‘The transcendental-empirical doubling of relation to the self is only unavoidable so long as thereisnoalternative to this observer-perspective … As soon as linguistically generated intersubjectivity gains primacy, this alternative no longer applies’ (Habermas, 1987a: 297). Group members
very sensible, always nice.
Were these men to be made responsible for cooking at home they might be more eager to eat out. For example, neither Crispin nor Isaac (both in their forties), who cook simple meals at home occasionally, feel any imperative to feed their children home-cooked food when their partners are not available. They prefer to take their children out under such circumstances, cooking at home only when thereisnoalternative.
The most conservative and disengaged men tend to be older. Younger cohorts of men and women come to different forms