Wednesday, 18 June 2014


[People] find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this... Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease. They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor. But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim... The worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it... Charity degrades and demoralises... It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property.

Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


"The answer to the question "Why do American liberals carry on about racism and sexism when they should be carrying on about capitalism?" is pretty obvious: they carry on about racism and sexism in order to avoid doing so about capitalism. Either because they genuinely do think that inequality is fine as long as it is not a function of discrimination (in which case they are neoliberals of the right). Or because they think that fighting against racial and sexual inequality is at least a step in the right direction of real equality (in which case, they are neoliberals of the left). Given these options, perhaps neoliberals of the right are in a stronger position - the economic history of the last thirty years suggests that diversified elites do even better than undiversified ones."

Walter Benn Michaels, 2008