Post-Probabilist Neoliberalisms (1 of n)
I’m working my way through the literature on post-probabilist or post-Gaussian neoliberalisms. I’ve written up some stuff trying to work through Lisa Adkins’s The Time of Money. There is a lot (10 pages), so I’ll list some of my big takeaways/discoveries here and link to the rest:
- The logic of speculation is a regime of intensification (cf. Nealon), but instead of intensifying the quantity of money (which is what probabilist neoliberalisms do), the logic of speculation intensifies capacity or, indeed, possibility. It intensifies not substance but ability–not more stuff but more doing.
- Probabilist math measures frequencies (see The Sonic Episteme or Mader’s Sleights of Reason). Post-probabilist maths used in contemporary finance don’t study frequency but correlation. This means that ‘consonance’ in particular is essential to post-probabilist neoliberalisms (whereas ‘resonance’ more generally characterizes probabilist ones). Adkins frequently uses the idea of rhythm, for example.
- The status of women in post- and popular- feminism as capable of reform and overcoming makes them perfect candidates for the ideal speculative subject, who must constantly remake oneself in order to gain new capacities, both for themselves and for the money they handle.
- Just as the classic social contract uses the figure/practice of contract to misrepresent a relation of subordination as a freely chosen relation, post-probabilist neoliberalisms use the figure/practice of contract to misrepresent a relation of subordination as a freely-chosen relation. In both cases structural inequality is hidden behind the rhetoric of individual choice and equality. In classical contractarianism, domestic unfreedom is the hidden ground that gives civil freedom meaning; in post-probabilist neoliberalism’s use of contract, discourses of legitimacy and legitimation (in Melinda Cooper’s sense) are the hidden ground that give discourses about personal responsibility meaning.
I need to go back and revisit Cooper’s Family Values & Life as Surplus, as well as start Martin’s Knowledge LTD and Keeling & Bhang’s books on alternative models of speculation…