On Fetishism and the City

After years of hearing that Marxism has nothing to say about the economy,  even that bastion of new economy neoliberalism, Fast Company, is turning to Marxism to make some sense of the mess. In "David Harvey’s Urban Manifesto: Down With Suburbia; Down With Bloomberg’s New York," Fast Company’s Greg Lindsay recounts some of Harvey’s recent thinking on the economy and the suburbanization of the city.

My only quibble is that Harvey doesn’t give us enough credit when he says (in the admittedly out-of-context quote): "We’re all suburbanites now, without knowing it," he said. "We’re all neoliberals now, without knowing it."*

I think we know full well. As Octave Mannoni, French Lacanian psychoanalyst, said of fetishism, "I know very well but nevertheless…" And what else is the urban hipster, that contemporary flâneur, but a fetishist? 

*One more quibble: once again, the term suburbanite is not really serving us well anymore. But I’ll admit that it is a convenient shorthand. 

Read more