Balloon Theory

Today's short post is continuation on the topic of neo-liberalism, involving a wooden frame, a bicycle pump, a bit of string, an onion net and a water balloon.


source: YouTube

In fact, the above are the ingredients needed for an experiment that illustrates the working of the economy under neo-liberalism. The professor conducting the experiment first gives some background, illustrating very clearly the relationship between the classes in society and the different social groups that are the subject of many a culture-scrimmage in the culture-war, as well as how the neo-liberal socioeconomic paradigm shapes those relationships. This video is from a decade ago, and I must see I find it brilliant. If you've read my recent posts, you'll already have a good understanding of the introductory explanation, but this professor gives it all his own twist. I also like that he mentions how this neo-liberal model grows the gap between the rich and poor, and how the water balloon experiment illustrates this perfectly.

The pyramid-shaped diagrams he uses are a near perfect representation of the current neo-liberal oligarchy, but the really brilliant part is the experiment itself. In it, the onion-net is the social safety net, and it holds up above the poverty-line the water-balloon, which represents society and its classes, from the poorest to the insanely rich. As the professor goes through the explanation of how the rich have kept the poor relatively satisfied, by means of introducing the credit-card economy and deregulation of financial markets, he works his way to the spectacular end of the experiment. You see, under neo-liberalism wages are kept low, which would result in consumers that don't have enough money to buy all the stuff produced. Instead they just make it easier to go into debt. I'll just say that the experiment ends rather abrupt, as I imagine the real life neo-liberal experiment will do as well. Watch the video, listen to the professor and hope for the best...

Neoliberalism as a Water Balloon

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