This is the neoliberal period of capital in all its fetid glory: the ruthles marketization of everything existing - including itself, in th sense that the marketization is itself marketed as, among other things, 'natural', 'fair', 'win-win', 'progress', and other empty signifiers. [...]
Neoliberalism triumphant presents us with the more frightening specter of what I am calling educational eliminationism, by which i mean a state of affairs in which elites no longer find it necessary to utlize mass schooling as a first link in the long chain of the process of the extraction of workers' surplus labour value. It has instead become easier for them to cut their losses and abandon public schooling altogether. Any remaining commitments are purely vestigal and ahve more to do with social stability rather than with education proper, as vast swaths of our school system (particularly in urban areas) are decisively repurposed as holding facilities for (putative) proto-criminals, lost within what Henry Giroux decries as a 'youth crime-control complex', with a special layer of legal menace for urban kids in what Michelle Alexander pointedly calls 'the new Jim Crow'. [...]
It should now be clear to everyone that neoliberal education policy is not about reforming public schools. It is about obliterating any remaining vestiges of the public square via a market discipline that is officially supposed to apply to everyone but in reality is selectively applied only to those lacking sufficient wealth to commandeer state policy; ironically the sacred market applies to public schools not to megabanks. It is in essence the strategy of the gated community, where those at the top 'have theirs' and withdraw from the educational commons and into their state-backed corporatist enclaves. Our elite capitains are abandoning the public educational ship in whose hold lie nearly 90% of US school children. [...]
The newer kind of non-recognition involves not merely reducing people to means but simply wishing them away and ignoring them altogether; in this way at the level of the concern for the Other, we are transforming from abuse to neglect. An increasing proportion of humanity - in the global South but also here at home - grows non-exploitable economically. Their labour is incapable of importing enough value to render them serviceable for traditional capitalist production and so they are economically 'out of the loop'[...] They have become 'extra people' and superfluous. At best their realtion to the formal economy is occasional and precarious as evidence by the stunning growth of those living most of their lives in what anthropologist Keith Hart desceribes as 'the informal economy', living, for example, under subsistence conditions of 'forced entrepreneurship' such as prostitution or the selling of odds and ends. They are the disposable ones[...] Their main productive function now is to serve as part of a disciplinary warning to precarious remaining workers that 'but for the grace of the (job)Creator, there go I'. [...]
From a wider lens, what is actually occurring is that monopolistic neoliberal elites are asserting their grip more strongly by more directly harnessing all social institutions as adjuncts for their ever-more desperate drive to accumulate capital[...] the end result is [...] a flattening-out and homogenising of the range of what human beings value, where every activity is to be translated into the language of only one would-be totalizing sphere. This in the end is the neoliberal leviathan in all its monomaniacal glory. It seeks only itself, a monomaniacal sameness, ultimately offering the existentially terrifying boredom of absolute self-identity. [...]
Who are the these rugged competitive heroes who live by the global free market alone? Who actually embraces this? It is manifestly not today's capitalist class, who by now by and large enjoy secure monopoly positions from which they can watch at a distance the little people tear each other apart as gladiatorial economic sport.
David J. Blacker, The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame