Neoliberalism Link Roundup

The past week or so saw a number of pieces on neoliberalism, many in reaction to this Jonathan Chait piece. Like ‘hipster’, neoliberalism has become a term thrown about with such abandon that for many (like Chait) it’s become almost meaningless. But that may speak more to how the ideas in neoliberalism have become so commonplace, particularly among the elite, that they are now the ‘default’ view of how to organize society. This is one of the most active fault lines in the Democratic Party; while both parties once embraced neoliberalism, the Republican Party under Trump is retreating into reactionary territory.

One of the better reactions was this by Karl Smith at the Niskanen Center, the libertarianish think tank whose brand of politics I’ve become increasingly enamored with.

Further left was this response from Corey Robin at Jacobin, and this Vox piece from Mike Konczal of the Roosevelt Institute, both of which are also good perspectives.

Finally, on the more academic side is this excellent bibliographic review of neoliberalism.

In general, it’s hard to find defenders of neoliberalism these days (though there is this reddit community). Most of the enthusiasm in the Democratic Party is further on the left, and again the Republicans are becoming a party that rejects many of the basic principles of the (classical) liberal consensus. Neoliberalism is (fairly or not) associated with the entrenched political class and associated policies that led to the Great Recession.

While I can’t say exactly where I stand in all of this as yet, I can say that I am concerned with the possibility that both parties end up rejecting liberalism (again, classically; the American political use of liberal and conservative is often not helpful). Even if neoliberalism, however properly understood, has problems, it shouldn’t follow that the broader ideas of liberalism are rejected as well.

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