“The modification of gender from being a variable of sex to an independent cultural order of knowledge entailed a shift in the intelligibility and governability of sexual lives, bodies and selves. By defining it as explicitly separated from sex with its own series of data, [Robert J.] Stoller introduced gender as a phenomenon with its own constituent parts (gender, gender role, gender identity) and formative mechanisms that needed to be discovered, examined and exploited to cure, placate and normalize sexual deviancy. In the process it was a mechanism not only of psychiatric power but also of disciplinary power and biopower, pathologizing minds and normalizing bodies to fit the reproductive imperatives of postwar US capitalism.”
Gender equality policy operates as a biopolitical mechanism for raising and optimizing below level fertility rates and promoting the industriousness of the population. Gender equality policy has therefore been formulated to accommodate aims that are both biopolitical and bioeconomic, that is, the capitalization of vitality in liberal capitalist societies. The political deployment of gender provides biopower with new access to an array of social relations, multiplying and optimizing the reach and utility of biopower in society. The accompanying attempt to induce female subjects to make choices that allow them to free themselves from the antiquated baggage of gender roles to both produce the species and create capital only makes sense in the context of neoliberal governmentality. Jemima Repo, The Biopolitics of Gender (Oxford, 2016)
Culturally engineered humans are being produced to meet the design specifications of the neoliberal, capitalist system. Those specifications call for the production of psychologically modified individuals to view human and non-human life like the stock that is traded on Japan’s Nikkei or the New York Stock Exchange. Concepts such as emotion, gender, ethics, morals, sex, religion, living, dying, war, soul, spirit or work are relevant only in as much as they have value to capital. More importantly, such individuals must be made to believe that their worth, and their “meaning in the universal scheme of things”, is as human capital, as living tradable stock, nothing more.
Perhaps within 200 years, more or less, the neoliberal capitalist system will create a reality in which some sort of intelligent human machine life will rapidly reproduce itself and come to dominate what will be considered to be legacy models of culturally engineered and genetically altered humanity. Naturally, the latter will be phased out and, perhaps, used to create new biological parts for the new models. Whatever beliefs systems exist then will likely have their origins in the neoliberal capitalist system in which value, buying and selling, costs and benefits, and return on investment are the equivalent of the Ten Commandments.
There should not be any hue and cry over this likely future. Are not we already programmable creatures? Television, cinema and computer screens are packed with science fiction programming that depicts the merging of human and non-human life with machines.
A perpetual war on terror undertaken by the USA has provided the opportunity for science, engineering, computing and medicine to build prototype human machines. World War II and the Cold War produced a stunning array of scientific and technological movement (we can’t say conclusively that it was advancement).
What will World War III produce? Somewhere in the backrooms and thinks tanks of the world’s most powerful countries, that cost/benefit calculus has been done.
The use of conservative or liberal tradition, morality, religion (let’s include art too) for the psychological and demographic control by the world’s elite has fallen into disfavor. The next generation tools for such whipsawing are far more subtle and effective and have been or are being created by the new wizards of the day: Computer Scientists, Psychopharmacologists, Financiers, Venture Capitalists, Social Scientists, Physical and Biological Scientists, Geneticists and Cognitive Neuroscientists, among others.
These grand brains, brilliant in their respective fields, exist largely on the dole thanks to the good graces of neoliberal capitalist taskmasters who have the wealth to fund research or steer funding to one program over another.
The key questions for the neoliberal capitalist financiers/funders concern costs, benefits, return on investment, profitability and marketability.
On a grander scale, those same questions apply to war-making (Bush II and Iraq II), government overthrows (Obama and Ukraine), currency manipulation (Western financiers and Russia), who eats and who doesn’t (Capital’s imposition of austerity), or which masses of people can be culled or sacrificed (Syrians, Iraqi’s, Palestinians, American Blacks, Native Americans, etc.).
But what about wealthy politicians, lobbyists, academia and dedicated military commanders dedicated to uphold the US Constitution?
They are pawns within the neoliberal capitalist system serving either as errand boys or muscle for their masters. If they serve well, they are rewarded with a relative modicum of wealth like US politicians Bill and Hillary Clinton. The US general’s payoff is a quick turn through the revolving door into the board rooms of defense corporations or venture capital firms.
Show Me the Money!
The rest of “us” are peasants scurrying about to make ends meet, worrying about paying the bills, rushing to get home to sit down and watch television or play video games, and praying to the Capitalist Gods to ensure the health and welfare of the children; who, by the way, are little more than consumer durables in Human Capital Theory and, it would seem to marketers, in practice.
According to Becker (1960): “The theory of the demand for consumer durables is a useful framework in analyzing the demand for children. As consumer durables, children are assumed to provide “utility.” The utility from children is compared with that from other goods. In principle the net cost of children can be easily computed…Children are viewed as a durable good, primarily a consumer’s durable, which yields income, primarily psychic income, to parents. Fertility is determined by income, child costs, knowledge, uncertainty, and tastes. An increase in income and a decline in price would increase the demand for children, although it is necessary to distinguish between the quantity and quality of children demanded. The quality of children is directly related to the amount spent on them…”
The beauty of the neoliberal capitalist order is its ability to liquidate, or create, belief systems for the sake of creating virtual and real value, and profit. The neoliberal capitalist system, in this sense, is “just” and “nondiscriminatory.” Take, for example, the gender equity movement, the legitimization/legalization of LGBT lifestyles, diversity campaigns in schools and offices, and the women’s movement.
The dollar, yen, ruble or British pound abhor limitations on their ability to exponentially reproduce. Prejudicial regulations that limit the amount of labor value that can be exploited for profit are senseless in the neoliberal capitalist model.
All must work, all must “be” value and create more value for the system. Belief systems that keep someone in the home to take care of the kids are now antithetical to the prevailing order. The spouse/partner should be in agreement that the children should go to the day care center. The day care center relies on two working couple households to keep the center operational and as a place of employment for locals. The neoliberal imperative coerces the couple into work not only for basic life security needs, but because by working more the couple ostensibly earns more to spend on its offspring and in the economy at large (not to mention the profit they enable their employer to turn).
Heterosexuality: So Lame
According to Experian, gay males make more money than heterosexuals. From an economic perspective, this is real value, even stability. “…gay males actually have higher discretionary spending per capita than heterosexual men. In fact, gay men live in households that devote $6,794 per capita annually to nonessentials, which is $753 more than what heterosexual men spend. Specifically, the average household income of a partnered gay man is $115,500 versus $102,100 for a heterosexual married/partnered man…36% of LGBT adults today are aged 18 to 34 versus 26% of the heterosexual population in that age range.”
The atheist in the neoliberal capitalist world is arguably someone like Pope Francis, not the wealthy and ruthless financier or currency manipulator. Compassion and empathy matter only in as much as they can be used to generate value and profit. The Pope’s pleas before the US Congress to limit the activities of the world’s arms sellers/merchants of death was an abomination, at least from the perspective of the neoliberal capitalists.
After all, the benefits include: reduction of populations with limited disposable income; profits associated with replacement of used/dated weaponry; acquisition of territory; technology transfer from battlefield to local law enforcement, and so on.
The sooner the old school belief systems can be dumped, the better according to the capitalists. After all, markets await. For example, the LGBT market is valued at approximately $800 billion. Who in their right mind would ignore the money making opportunities in that burgeoning market? And besides, there is the matter of the neoliberal capitalist system’s need to maintain an appropriate fertility rate.
If straight men and women aren’t doing the job in the reproductive arena then someone has to mind the store. Productive economies depend on new crops of children. According to Steve Roth, Principal of OutThinkPartners, in a presentation titled Targeting a Dream Market, “More gay men and lesbians are having babies.” IN the not too distant future, same sex couples will have their own genetically minted kids.
Writing in 18 March 2015 edition of Time Magazine, Dr. Guy Ringler notes:
“There likely will be a time when reproductive science could create an embryo from the cells of two men or two women… Stem cell research has demonstrated that human skin cells and fibroblasts (a different kind of adult cell) can be turned into embryonic stem cells. Now, researchers at Cambridge University and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel have shown that embryonic stem cells can be programmed to form primordial germ cells. These are the stem cells that can go on to form either eggs or sperm. If scientists can figure out how to turn a primordial germ cell that originated from the skin of a man into an egg, could it be fertilized with his partner’s sperm? Research using primordial germ cells in mice has shown that these cells can be turned into eggs and sperm capable of forming pups (baby mice). Many experiments were required, but tremendous knowledge was gained.
Just like straight couples, many gay men and lesbians are eager to have a genetic relationship with their children. At times, I’ve taken sperm from one gay man and matched it with the eggs of his partner’s sister to create a stronger genetic bond between the couple and their child. But these new scientific developments could bring that process full-circle.”
So you say marriage should be confined to a union between a biological man and biological woman. You say that the children—whether adopted, surrogate birthed, test tube, or genetically created—will suffer at the hands two same sex parents? That’s incorrect.
According to the American Pediatrics Association,
“Many studies have assessed the developmental and psychosocial outcomes of children whose parents are gay or lesbian and note that a family’s social and economic resources and the strength of the relationships among members of the family are far more important variables than parental gender or sexual orientation in affecting children’s development and well-being… Because marriage strengthens families and, in so doing, benefits children’s development, children should not be deprived of the opportunity for their parents to be married. Paths to parenthood that include assisted reproductive techniques, adoption, and foster parenting should focus on competency of the parents rather than their sexual orientation…Thirty-one percent of same-gender couples who identified as spouses and 14% of those who identified as unmarried partners indicated that they were raising children, more than 111 000 in all.5 In addition to these parents, many single gay men and lesbians are also raising children. Combined, current estimates suggest that almost 2 million children younger than 18 years are being raised by at least 1 gay or lesbian parent in the United States.
The reproductive imperatives of the 21st Century have been engineered in accordance with the demands of the neoliberal capitalist model. Was there any other way to get to there?
What an incredible waste of time it was kowtowing to those moralities, ethics, religions and codes of social conduct from yesteryear. There’s nowhere to go on this planet to escape the globalized neoliberal capitalist system (or its influence). We all live or die in it. As the Outlaw Josie Wales said to Ten Bears:
Ten Bears: You are the grey rider. You would not make peace with the Bluecoats. You may go in peace.
Josie Wales: I reckon not. I got no place else to go.
Ten Bears: Then you will die.
Josie Wales: I came here to die with you. Or to live with you.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org