This commentary at McClatchy by Prof. Michael D. MacDonald of Williams College sums up rather neatly how Neoliberalism went essentially unchallenged for nearly three decades and proclaims it to be now dead.
The bipartisan Neoliberal Era in America, from 1981 until last week, was devoted to economic growth, finance capital and the creative use of debt. The gray, dreary, and boring politics of economics was enlivened by a circus of sex scandals and culture wars.
I’m not so sure Neoliberalism is fully dead, as the Wall Street and D.C. vampires popping up on CNBC are starting to exhibit remarkably zombie-like behavior, but it’s certainly on life support. The U.S. House will take a vote on it tomorrow, to what ultimate effect we know not.
How quickly we forget that much of our history has involved mighty struggles between ordinary people and those with too much power. If we are indeed entering a new epoch, it is one fraught with the perils of authoritarianism, racial and other types of hatred, and outright quackery. The Great Depression analogies have been flowing fast and furious lately, so it’s worth a moment to contemplate that people like Father Charles Coughlin had huge followings in the 1930’s.
It’s a good thing our AM airwaves today aren’t filled with the demagogic ramblings of charlatans, racists and buffoons or I’d be really worried for the Republic.