Neoliberalism: the deep story that lies beneath Donald Trump’s triumphRoundup
tags: neoliberalism, Trump
The events that led to Donald Trump’s election started in England in 1975. At a meeting a few months after Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative party, one of her colleagues, or so the story goes, was explaining what he saw as the core beliefs of conservatism. She snapped open her handbag, pulled out a dog-eared book, and slammed it on the table. “This is what we believe,” she said. A political revolution that would sweep the world had begun.
The book was The Constitution of Liberty by Frederick Hayek. Its publication, in 1960, marked the transition from an honest, if extreme, philosophy to an outright racket. The philosophy was called neoliberalism. It saw competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The market would discover a natural hierarchy of winners and losers, creating a more efficient system than could ever be devised through planning or by design. Anything that impeded this process, such as significant tax, regulation, trade union activity or state provision, was counter-productive. Unrestricted entrepreneurs would create the wealth that would trickle down to everyone.
This, at any rate, is how it was originally conceived. But by the time Hayek came to write The Constitution of Liberty, the network of lobbyists and thinkers he had founded was being lavishly funded by multimillionaires who saw the doctrine as a means of defending themselves against democracy. Not every aspect of the neoliberal programme advanced their interests. Hayek, it seems, set out to close the gap.
He begins the book by advancing the narrowest possible conception of liberty: an absence of coercion. He rejects such notions as political freedom, universal rights, human equality and the distribution of wealth, all of which, by restricting the behaviour of the wealthy and powerful, intrude on the absolute freedom from coercion he demands.
Democracy, by contrast, “is not an ultimate or absolute value”. In fact, liberty depends on preventing the majority from exercising choice over the direction that politics and society might take. ...
comments powered by Disqus
- State lawmaker files bill to remove Virginia's Robert E. Lee statue from U.S. Capitol
- Massive Data Project Will Help People Identify Enslaved Ancestors
- U.S. Democracy Experienced Biggest Drop In 40 Years
- New Fox Series: Bill Clinton's Scandals
- Thailand drops royal insult charges against elderly historian
- Robert Caro says he’s reached 1966 in his next book on LBJ
- AHA asks members to "Help Protect the Census"
- Sports Historian Explains Why She Wrote that the NCAA is the Modern Jim Crow
- Ibram X. Kendi says "The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial”
- Historians Call Trump’s ‘Sh*thole’ Comment "The Most Openly Racist by a President in Decades"