But the aggressive brand of individualism promoted by neoliberalism -- the sorts of subjects it requires -- doesn't allow for personal development so much as it indoctrinates us into a myopic insatiability. Dean argues:
The very incentive structure that would be necessary for competition to replace something like normalization is missing. The internet, pay for view, video on demand, DVR, instant messaging -- our entire media habitat conditions us to immediate gratification rather than self-discipline, self-control, self-governance. Fast food and convenience -- again, we focus on what we want now, not what we might need or use later. The neoliberal attitude is that markets and competition induce certain behaviors (laws of supply and demand) and that this is sufficient for self-governance on its own. It isn't--as Hegel and Adam Smith already knew.The way I interpret this situation is that neoliberalism necessarily promotes convenience and expediency as its values to accelerate the circulation of commodities, the consumption of goods and services, as a consumerism-based economy requires. Repressive desublimation, to use Marcuse's phrase, characterizes neoliberal subjectivity more than any sort of internalized self-control. Consumers work better for the system when they have outsourced self-control, seek it in further acts of consumption -- buying diet books and exercise books, subscribing to magazines that preach simplifying your life, etc. Dean notes that "the culture of immediacy, of communicative capitalism, dissolves these sorts of mechanisms [of self-governance] and instead provides instant tidbits (lichettes) that entrap us in circuits of drive." My translation: the emphasis on real-time applications and technology short-circuits the possibility of reflexivity; we become too focused instead on updating and refreshing the content available to us instead of governing our own output and intake. As a result, we become to incompetent to be trusted with power, and democracy, as Dean points out, begins to seem impossible.