BeaverFever Posted November 2, 2022 Report Share Posted November 2, 2022 The Wreckage of Neoliberalism The postwar neoliberal economic project is nearing its end. The question is who will write the last chapter, the Democrats or the totalitarians? By Chris Murphy … Broadly speaking, neoliberalism argues that barrier-free international markets, rapidly advancing communications technology and automation, decreased regulation, and empowered citizen-consumers are the keys to prosperity, happiness, and strong democracy. … But then, about 30 years ago, the project started to fray at the edges. The newly global economy moved America’s well-paying jobs—the ones that had created the U.S.’s early- and mid-20th-century blue-collar aristocracy—overseas, but the jobs that replaced them offered lower pay, fewer benefits, and less opportunity for advancement. Technology, which had promised to make our lives easier and more connected, started to get so complicated, and advance at a pace so dizzying, that it no longer felt within our control. Social media joined us, but also bred resentment and societal fragmentation. Automation and online commerce erased our local economies, our local meeting places, and our local news sources. And the consumerism that was supposed to fill our lives with the material rewards necessary for happiness instead left many feeling empty as our cultures and identities got swallowed up by the shapeless, antiseptic, profit-obsessed international economy. Read: When people were proud to call themselves ‘neoliberal’ The result, today, is a very real epidemic of American unhappiness. Surveys taken during the past decade suggest that Americans have never been so pessimistic. Despite the nonstop information flow, more Americans report greater feelings of intense loneliness today than at any time before. People know they have more access to things—shiny things, fancy things, complicated things—but they grope for meaning and sense a depressing, decreasing personal control over their own future. Although Trump’s anti-neoliberal messaging has been successful, his policies have never matched his rhetoric. By the time he left office, there were fewer, not more, well-paying manufacturing jobs in America. Trump did nothing to curb corporate excess or restore power to families and workers—his primary domestic legislative accomplishment was a tax cut in which 83 percent of the benefits would go to the same 1 percent of the population he attacked in his speeches. And he championed no legislation to rein in the corrosive influence of social media or unchecked automation. Indeed, his promises to undo economic neoliberalism was all empty rhetoric; instead, his entire term was an unending parade of gifts to the very status quo forces he condemned in his rise to power. …. Trump and his followers are frauds—mouthing critical platitudes about the neoliberal order while ultimately serving its biggest beneficiaries—and Democrats should expose them as such. No matter their rhetorical attacks on elites, Republicans’ agenda still begins and ends with using government as a crude means to deliver favors to their billionaire and corporate friends. …. And it isn’t hyperbole to suggest that the future of our democracy rests on the question of which party offers the most credible alternative to the neoliberal order. Republicans’ fake populism is just a way to secure total power. This is the era of the post-democracy Republican Party, and if their critique of neoliberalism brings their party complete power after the 2024 election, they are likely to change the rules of democracy in order to make sure Democrats never win again. Trump’s Republican Party believes that Democrats present an existential threat to America, and therefore any means—even the end of democracy—is justified to defeat the left. Whether it be a purge of thousands of professional civil servants, continued crackdowns on voting rights, or a rigging of elections, if Trump and his allies win control of Congress and the White House again, our 250-year experiment may be over. This does not have to be our nation’s fate. It is possible to reverse the damaging impacts of the neoliberal world order while saving democracy…. … https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/democrats-should-reject-neoliberalism/671850/ 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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