Polychronicity of the Market: Neoclassical Temporality in Projects of Economic Order since the 1970s
The project traces the significance of polychronic theoretical models in neoclassical economics for the design and institutionalization of competition-centered economic orders and policies since the 1970s. Neoclassical models are polychronic in the sense that they, being characterized by a high degree of formalization, allow for different temporal interpretations and understandings of economic processes, which results in a dynamic of temporal ambiguation and standardization. On a theoretical level, this dynamic is conceptualized through the notion of aisthesis, and identified as the core of the institutionalization of neoclassical modelling in economic orders and policies. The project thus challenges those analyses which highlight the hegemonic standardization of certain temporal tendencies (like acceleration) or modes (like short-termedness) in contemporary economic orders based on neoclassical premises. Instead, the working hypothesis is that it is precisely the polychronicity of neoclassical theorizing and modelling which benefits the institutionalization of competition-centered economic orders, lending itself to being applied to very variegated horizons of economic temporality and thus playing an active role in the translation of neoclassical temporality into economic orders and policies.
The project will trace reconstruct the symbolic processes of these institutionalizations through case studies related to four important stages of the implementation of competition-centered economic orders and policies since the 1970s: the emergence of the Washington Consensus and the accompanying formalization of the Structural Adjustment Programs of the International Monetary Fund; the reshaping of capitalistic economic orders by more competition- centered policies in Britain and the U.S. under Thatcher and Reagan; the so-called shock therapies in Poland and Russia at the beginning of the 1990s designed to radically transform state-socialist orders; and recent policies concerning the sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone.