To be honest,I know nothing about the word ‘Neoliberisim’ before I google this word. ‘Rich grow richer, poor grow poorer’ is the central idea of neoliberism. It seems to be a side-product of capitalism. In general , neoliberism is bad. It is understandable that everyone wants to make their life better, everyone wants to be rich, logically, under the ‘free market’ of neoliberism, the corporations with strong background are the one who benefit most. Think about Apple, how much do they pay their sales associate? The part-time salary in Ontario is higher, around $12 / hour, in BC? $10.25/hour. And how much is iPad, iPhone, Macbook…?
Walks highlighted his article by starting with ‘Canadian cities are at crossroad’, which I strongly agree , we are at a very unbalanced point, the gap between the rich and poor is HUGE! ‘At its heart, neoliberalism is a political project with utopian overtones that seeks to restructure welfare states and reinstate class power (see Harvey 2005, 2007; Hackworth 2007; Peck 2008).’ (Walks, P.346. 2009) According to Walks, the neoliberalism was meant to be good, meant to have a ‘utopian overtone’. It turns out to be a evil policy which is a treat for the rich and a torture for the poor.
Before I start this course, everything in the society seems very peaceful and balanced to me. The words in my mind are always ‘eating’, ‘studying’, ‘shopping’, ‘have fun’. I never noticed those graffiti on the wall, those people yelling around eaton center…Now it seems like i am a well-protected girl under my parents. As I read more readings for the course, and through the discussion during the course, those graffiti and people just suddenly jumped into my mind. I could strongly feel their pain, their anger under the pressure and torture the society given to them. When I first came to toronto, I asked one of my friend in toronto. “CN tower is an icon of toronto, why it looks so…old?” He told me that people will just complain that the government are using their money to do the useless stuff if they repaint the CN tower. The relationship between the government and its people is intense.
Through Zimmerman’s description of the life of those ‘cool creative class’, makes a huge contradiction to the poor. They are cool, they could enjoy a $5 Starbucks twice a day while there’s people get less than 2 cups of coffee as their pay per hour. What do you think the part-time worker would feel? I know it, I worked before for a company as a part-time during the summer, I worked very hard during that time: replenished the products, do the stock, flat the boxes, garbage run, take care of the customer, do the demo, even fix the light bulb! And what did our district manager do? She just comes to the store and comment why our sales are so low today, then left. Everyone was working hard in the store, and everyone was so pissed every time the DM came and comment. The creative class in the city makes other people feel bad, sorry i couldn’t find a better word to describe this feeling. They are cool, they are on the top of the pyramid, no matter how they expoilt their worker, they will still work for them, because other people has to pay their rent, their food and their insurance.
Gap, huge gap.
Walks, A. 2009. The urban in fragile, uncertain, neoliberal times: towards new geographies of social justice? The Canadian Geographer, 53 (3), 345-356.
Zimmerman, J. 2008. From brew town to cool town: Neoliberalism and the creative city development strategy in Milwaukee. Cities, 25, 230-242.