Most of the time, people get mystified seeing the bubble-discourse between the individual identity crisis and institutional pride. From my freshman days, I’ve been envisaged by this statement “When people fall in individual identity crisis, they conceit about their institutional prides” and this very ruffled saying used to be taught and encountered against whenever any institutional pride-bubble raises. People, on social media, have been quite talking about the individual identity crisis and institutional pride. “Institutional pride’’ is gradually being seen and taught as a slang almost in all the discourses of Bangladesh, as if holding any pride about the institution I belong is a sin, especially in our youth discourses. When it comes to the university students, it gets a limitless shame to talk in favor of this institutional pride.
However, I find this statement offensively hypocritical and mental-enslaving to the visage idea of neo- liberalism. Not just because it lowers your prides for almost every institution in your own country, but it also turns up your mind into a value-free agent of the ongoing neo-liberal propaganda.
Most people however opinionate in these two things seemingly in a conundrum stage of judgment. They ruffle these two things- Institutional pride and individual identity- into different dialect although they both can’t simply be segregated from a societal viewpoint. What is individual identity now, will be the chloroform of the institutions in future. Institutions are the propellers of an individual’s identity. Individual choice and preference on how good an institutional framework will decompose his or her social identity in future. Now if these institutions are denied for any pride manifesting then the people’s identity too gets shadowed and narrowed down to a level where holding “Institutional Pride” is a shame.
If you’re a ‘sophist’ of this time, a true political analyst, then you must know something about neo-liberalism. If you think “Neo-liberalism is a bubble of modern Imperialism” only then you may proceed to grasp my words after this phase. Now, of all those bubbles, neo-liberalism wants you to disbelief or put a mistrust upon all the system of your state and then Neo’s want you to believe in globalization of state functioning.
If you’re having a rough idea of what I’m telling you exactly you must grasp some history at this part. 70 years ago, in 1947, two brave visionary thinkers of that time- philosopher Frederic Hayek and economist Milton Friedman – nourished an idea. At that time, after the World War II, everything was put in the state intervention and controlling due to the post-war effect over the countries. No one can print money, so no one but the state can ensure people’s financial stability. People went to the state persons for job, and in return state imposed more intervention over individual life and choice. These two great thinkers whom analyst at that time say “Evangelist of the Neo-liberalism”, however, they truly were the initiator of this idea, proposed the idea of free trade and less intervention of the state. They believed everything should be decided in the market mechanism with the intersection of demand and supply. They knew they were hardly radical for that time, so they waited. After a long-serving ground-making theorization period, in 1990, their idea of free trade and less protectionism blew a worldwide whistle- a world with no barrier (!) of trade and less intervention of the state.
From the very starting of the half-baked idea of neo-liberalism, it was unfortunately retrieved and designed to blur the federal or civic institutions’ value in the modern state functioning. Along with the idea of another western-cooked great Gatsby in 90’s- “Globalization”- the fundamentals of the state institutions were neglected and deteriorated, in other words, were turned into private proprietorship. Instead of then slow- paced government institutions and functions, a more rapid and effective functioning was simply offered to the policy making level- let the mass public deicide what will they have.
Till now it’s revolutionary. But the same mass people who are often diverted to the idea of non-level playing global citizenship and sweetened by the multinational exercise, cultures- are now deciding the people’s choice. Companies that run the global human choice and preference about almost everything then trample them. Idea of global justice and development outrun the idea of national interests.
Of all those claims to be a good method of state functioning and economic sophistication, neo-liberalism has created the world a ‘big mess’ compared to the one it fought with- protectionism. It sharpened the inequality, harshened the imbalance in the capital accumulation, and created a more complicated state functioning with a lofty interference of the private and multinational organizations. With a non-level playing field of globalization it lowered the power of the state and decreased trust and compatibility in almost all the institutions of the civic. Simply the functioning of the state with its own federalism, indeed with people’s freedom and choice, gets faded in this global viewpoint of functioning of the state. Neo- liberalism created a sophisticated method of comparability in our mind, then it blared the pragmatism and reality of your comparison.
This thing gets dangerous if you just think how, out of nowhere, you no longer believe in your country’s education quality, not a bit. Criticism is good from the reality of the state, but when it comes to an arena of comparing this quality with almost all the countries of the world then it is merely a comparison from individual inferiority state. You do not put any fraction of trust in your universities, health system, and religious institutions. Even you get dizzy sometime to think that you are no longer a true patriot or you don’t give a good thought about patriotism, you may probably utter “Birth is an accidental case, and patriotism brings no fortune”.
Now, neo-liberalism whose byproduct is globalization make a shadow in front of the people just like the aforementioned dialectic discourse. It turns people’s mood on when they see international companies, cultural trades, and diagonal shape of the human development without taking national cost-benefit into a consideration. Then comes the bigger trouble- these people start to question “why not outrunning global level” without even diving a head into the matter of efficacy and capabilities. Then one fine stage of this questioning they start to deny national institutions and fling the idea of patriotism.
People then despise all the institutions gradually -from state functioning system to its minimum efficient roles in social management, from health institutions to education -especially universities because neo- liberalism has already blurred the efficacy of state federalism and turned global citizenship into a “God’s Thing”. Out of all bubbles, then, the citizen no longer trusts the civic institutions, state roles etc. So, no wonder why such liberal bubble-centric people always bring forth this statement and bear this idea of half- baked, non-level-playing idea of globalization as a byproduct of neo-liberalism just to look down upon the state institutions as a matter of multinational benefits and to serve capitalistic propaganda at the final moment.
Why this long voyage of moral stuffs pretty much simple? You are being an evangelist of the post neo-liberalism, day by day, out if your own accord. In a subtle way where you are not even aware of whom you are blaming by your “Institutional Pride” slang, at the end of the day all these institutions are the components of the state, your last hope. Now, you may put a last line here, how dare you say state as the last hope?
It is quite an obvious fact, though it seems plausibly satirical to some people to some extent. Nobody, not any international organization or any peace delivering platform can ensure your safety or your identity when you need that most. We realized that in this pandemic situation. We have already faced the utmost disadvantage of global citizenship in this corona pandemic. World Health Organization (WHO) can’t ensure nothing for real, world military campaigns are useless, peace talks are irrelevant, global technological giants are far away to mitigate your factual troubles in this pandemic. Then what is left beside you? It’s only you and your state left alone to handle your issues including your financial safety and health issues albeit you abandoned your state in the first place.
So, at the edge of the discussion, one point might seem interesting to note and that is: the more you advocate non-institutional pride or, worst of all, abhor institutional prides? the more you lose your individual identity.
Abdullah Al Mahmud is a freelance contributor