Neo-liberalism, communitarism and HOA government

I was quite disturbed reading the Introduction,written by Robert W. McChesney, to Chomsky’s book, Profit Over People (1989). I will let his words speak for themselves:

“Neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm [model or philosophy] of our time — it refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit.”

Just think what has been written about the real estate special interests, “HOAs are a business” (CAI CEO, Tom Skiba), and CAI’s motive to make money for its members. Read on, keeping in mind your knowledge of HOAs, and the charges and arguments that were made here and elsewhere against HOAs and planned communities. My annotations are found in square brackets.

For the good of everyone:

“A generation of corporate-financed public relations efforts has given these terms and ideas a near sacred aura. At their most eloquent, proponents of neoliberalism sound as if they are doing poor people, the environment, and everybody else a tremendous service as they enact policies on behalf of the wealthy few [we have seen the courts use equitable servitudes and its defense of ‘for the good of the community’ against homeowner rights]. Neoliberalism . . . is indeed capitalism with the gloves off [a reference to evils of unrestrained big business at the turn of the 20th century]”.

On democracy:

“Neoliberalism works best when there is formal electoral democracy, but when the population is diverted from the information, access, and public forums necessary for meaningful participation in decision making [as witnessed by the ‘don’t give an inch to any homeowner who’s against the HOA’ attitude]. Democracy is permissible as long as the control of business is off-limits to popular deliberation or change, i.e. so long as it isn’t democracy. The neoliberal system therefore has an important and necessary byproduct [a consequence] — a depoliticized citizenry marked by apathy and cynicism. In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy.”

The ‘conspiracy of silence’:

“This is no formal conspiracy by powered interests: it doesn’t have to be. Through a variety of institutional mechanisms [namely, lobbying efforts of government agencies and representatives, and the use of public interest organizations sharing], signals are sent to intellectuals, pundits, and journalists pushing them to see the status quo as the best of all possible worlds, and away from challenging those who benefit from the status quo [CAI, the real estate special interests, local government].”

The leading proponent of communitarism — individual rights must be weighed against the good of the community — is Amitai Etzione of George Washington University in Washington, DC ( In this post I will only say that the neoliberalists found an ally in the communitarian view that we need more community and less individualism in America.

Published in: on November 14, 2006 at 4:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

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