Neoliberal Tango

postitleswirl

In economics, ‘neoliberal’ is a confusing term that doesn’t actually mean anything useful, but refers to the current dominant contemporary national and international economic policy. Neoliberalism sacrifices domestic production and security, the domestic social contract (wages, benefits, unions, and social programs), and environmental regulation in favor of cheaper exports to maximize trade.

The name of this policy is confusing for Americans because we tend to associate the word ‘liberal’ with Social Justice Lite and the Democratic Party. That is political liberalism. But in economics it’s a half-hearted revival of obsolete economic theory from the early 1800s.

It has been violently imposed on post-colonial nations through Structural Adjustment Programs and Free Trade Agreements.

Neoliberal economists claim that their theory is a natural or scientific law. The rest of economists insist that the economy is a political choice and that the discipline should be restructured to accept “heterodox” concepts, of which neoliberalism is only one with many worthy competitors.

Neoliberal national economic policy affects the operation of business (externalization), the rights and entitlements of citizens (austerity), as well as product safety and environmental protection laws (deregulation), even those proposed at sub-national levels. Basically any decision that increases the costs of production is vilified and any way to decrease the costs of production is valorized. That includes assaults on workers rights and working conditions.

Most of us are familiar with deskilling in manufacturing. It means designing the production line so that each worker does only one small job over and over, and it’s easy to train anyone to do that one thing. This increases flexibility and power for the company while decreasing the meaning, opportunities for development, and power of workers. Deskilling also applies to retail, where workers are no longer experts on what they are selling, and do not provide personal service to their customers, but just stock shelves and ring cash registers. I observe that the deskilling of manufacturing and retail depend on the deskilling of the customer, who is no longer able to assess quality of products, nor repair them.

That was a long windup to a short punchline:

Fundamentalist tango is neoliberal.

Fundamentalists distort and coopt a complex history by denying fusion, evolution, and the possibility of a heterodox tango.

Fundamentalism is bigoted and exclusionary toward those who don’t conform, insisting that its way is the “only” correct (“authentic”) way.

It prioritizes aesthetics over ethics, resulting in a homogenous tango scene.

Like neoliberal manufacturing priorities, Fundamentalist tango deskills the people you depend on.

I want you to know that you are not alone…

embrace orig crop

… neither in your dreams for tango nor in your frustrations.

My deepest desire is the same as all my students and friends … those who have yet to start dancing and those who dance a lot.

It’s partnership.

One thing I’ve learned on this quest, we need to:

Stop Waiting for Partners, and start Building them.

I’ve written a 10-step Action Plan.

Are you ready to find the Partners you want?

 

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2020 TangoForge

6-19.February Wellington NZ
7-9 February Bruges Neo Tango

…DISTANCE…

See you at

Reflect and Train

and

Exercises from Maui

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Important Insights

Books

Power is the courage, confidence, and competence to make things happen. I want to create in a way that’s incomparable and define my own compensation package. You too?

Syntax of Power is a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day.

This book is not about tango, it’s about everything else.

It’s about stepping into the darkness of change, learning how to take care of yourself, and making things happen.

Dyv stands for Duro y Vio. We were inspired by a 2007 conference at Harvard University about tango as a transnational culture. Also we wanted to create something that would help people to imagine a queerer tango. We forbid ourselves to use the word ‘passion’ and instead tried to articulate the experience more precisely.

Argentine Tango is more than an elaborate and difficult dance, it is an international culture of intimacy, desire, and dignity. No mere romance or memoir, the intricately woven stories evoke tango’s true mysteries … the elation, the frustration, the compulsion…

We published the book in 2009. Dancers asked “how did you know what I was feeling?”

Silences in history. Silences by code. Silences of fear. You already know that Tango’s silences can be sublime and they can be devastating.

What I do in my blog is use myself as a lens – sometimes a microscope, sometimes a telescope. I try to be as honest with myself and you as words concede. Then I try to find a deeper meaning and imagine a pathway for us.

A blog post can be a fragment, a wisp of inspiration, an outline for thinking. A book must complete and reconcile it all. Now I drag the social scientist to the scene to enumerate the facts of the case, the mystery which brought both stardom and tragedy to my life.

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