Quickly mentioning a book on antipolitics and the transnational capitalist class

Julian Brash’s Bloomberg’s New York: Class and governance in the luxury city (2011) is a good read, which is not always what you expect from books about ‘class’. The analysis is rolled out, in a very reader friendly way, via a large corpus of data. While I think that the motivations for and consequences of various project set ups is interesting, before I read Brash’s work I would not have expected a written account of them to be anything better than dry.

So what is the Bloomberg Way?

Bloomberg’s refusal to participate in the glad-handing, back-slapping, baby-kissing theatre so often described as “politics” received much attention. But the Bloomberg Way attempted a more profound submergence of politics, a denial of the inevitability, let alone the desirability, of conflict in a city teeming with diversity and inequality. (130-131)

How about Brash’s politics?

The fact that the softening of the Bloomberg Way’s antipolitics and the concomitant acknowledgment of its rooting in upper-class power only cemented its dominance of New York City’s politics represents an object lesson for those who imagine a more just urban order. The battle for the future of the city will be won not by unmasking the class politics at the core of neoliberalism but by articulating and, if given the chance, demonstrating the effectiveness of an alternative linking of governance, urban imaginary, and class that defines and achieves a radically new form of the good of the city as a whole. (279)

While this conclusion suggests that Brash does not expect his ‘unmasking’ to change the direction of the city, reading this book has certainly raised my expectations of academic writing.

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