Over the last few decades, neoliberalism’s allegiance to a fantasy of frictionless economic activity has fundamentally recalibrated processes of capital circulation, treating a new aristocracy to an extraordinarily luxurious existence born of an extractive political disposition that actively funnels wealth into an orbital realm inhabited by an increasingly distant and distinct elite. At the same time, the rest of us have lived through an era of growing uncertainty, impermanence, stagnation and decline in which life and livelihood have fallen into a downward spiral of collapsing incomes, precarious employment and growing resentment. Indeed, for at least the last decade, if not considerably longer, western capitalism has proved to be profoundly incapable of reproducing living standards and yet UK consumer spending has proved to be remarkably resilient, growing at a slow but steady rate since 2011, surpassing its pre-recession peak in 2014 and reaching a record high of £322 billion in the second quarter of 2017. It’s almost as if, as Streeck (2016: 3) remarks, increasingly insecure, poorly paid workers somehow remain relatively confident consumers “happily discharging their consumerist… obligations in the face of the fundamental uncertainty of labour markets and employment”.
|Title of host publication||Crime, Harm and consumerism|
|Editors||Steve Hall, Tereza Kuldova, Mark Horsley|
|Publication status||Published - 31 Jan 2020|
Horsley, M., & Lloyd, A. (2020). Mass Indebtedness and the Luxury of Payment Means. In S. Hall, T. Kuldova, & M. Horsley (Eds.), Crime, Harm and consumerism Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Crime-Harm-and-Consumerism/Hall-Kuldova-Horsley/p/book/9781138388628