About Me

Find out more about me here.

14 April 2017

Scapegoating Neoliberalism for the Sake of Capitalism

All of a sudden, I feel like everyone is talking about neoliberalism. Peter Kaufman has a nice write-up over at the Everyday Sociology Blog. I worry, though, that renewed interest in neoliberalism as a cause of or explanation for current ills (e.g. the election of Trump, increased nationalism, etc.) at best may divert attention away from the more basic role of capitalism broadly and at worse may serve to absolve capitalism of any culpability. To me, neoliberalism is little more than a new name for capitalism. It emerges in the 1980s as a reaction against the dominant global political-economic trajectory that favored progressive tempering of naked capitalism. From at least the 1930s, advanced industrialized states found an increasingly large role for government to play in insuring social stability, especially in intervening in markets at the macro level and offering safety net programs at the micro level. After fifty years, the opposition found a foothold in the rhetoric of "freedom" and "prosperity." If we allow ourselves to critique the status quo by blaming neoliberalism, we run the risk of ignoring the more fundamental issue posed by capitalism. Neoliberalism may be a problem--but it is not the problem

No comments:

Post a Comment