Neoliberalism is a failed ideology that has immiserated millions of ordinary citizens.
Like communism, neoliberalism benefits a small cohort of elites at the expense of everyone else. Under communism, the vanguard of the proletariat, i.e. members of the Communist Party, made all of the important decisions. Under neoliberalism, affluent professionals have assumed this function. These affluent professionals maintain liberal social policies but favor conservative economic policies that concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands.
Under communism, dissidents were exiled to Siberian gulags. With neoliberalism there is no need for such clumsy methods of control. Americans are so desperate for employment that they punish and control themselves by slaving in dystopian Amazon warehouses, where workers are monitored 27/7 and dissent is suppressed. In this manner, neoliberalism has created and sustained a modern day precariat.
According to former journalist Chris Hedges, neoliberalism, despite its many failures, is still our ruling ideology because it’s immensely beneficial to our liberal elite.
“The liberal class, ranging from Hollywood and the Democratic leadership to The New York Times and CNN, refuses to acknowledge that it sold the Democratic Party to corporate bidders; collaborated in the evisceration of our civil liberties; helped destroy programs such as welfare, orchestrate the job-killing North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, wage endless war, debase our public institutions including the press and build the world’s largest prison system.”
In my opinion, neoliberalism benefits the ruling elite precisely because it immiserates everyone else. In fact, if truth be told, that was the whole point of neoliberalism. However, neoliberal intellectuals and corporate media exist to countenance the deprivations of neoliberalism and insist that the system is the best of all possible economic arrangements and even if it isn’t, there’s no alternative.
Unlike communism with its crude propaganda that the citizens knew to be false, the corporate media disseminates a sophisticated world-wide capitalist message that is believed by most everyone. The really good stuff like the New York Times and NPR, is aimed at liberal decision makers in costal enclaves. The corporate media controls most of what is seen and heard on television, the ideas and events that can be discussed in the mainstream media and what orthodoxies, including neoliberalism and endless war, that must never be questioned. We suffer an intellectual straight-jacket as stifling as that imposed by communism.
Despite the ongoing onslaught of propaganda about the perfidy of evil Russians, it’s the failures of neoliberalism that have set the stage for a petty tyrant like Trump. Despite such knowledge, it’s clear from the actions of the Democratic Party, who have come to represent affluent professionals, that they will cling to neoliberalism rather than allow a real alternative to Trump.
Hedges believes, as I do, that we desperately need a genuine opposition party in the age of Trump.
“A genuine populism, one defined and often articulated by Bernie Sanders, could sweep the Democratic Party back into power. Regulating Wall Street, publicly financing campaigns, forgiving student debt, demanding universal health care, bailing out homeowners victimized by the banks, ending the wars in the Middle East, instituting a jobs program to repair our decaying infrastructure, dismantling the prison system, restoring the rule of law on the streets of our cities, making college education free and protecting programs such as Social Security would see election victory after election victory.
But this will never happen within the Democratic Party. It refuses to prohibit corporate money. The party elites know that if corporate money disappears, so do they. The party’s hierarchy, pressured by Obama and the Clintons, elevated Tom Perez over Keith Ellison—whom a major donor to the party, Haim Saban, condemns as an “anti-Semite” because of Ellison’s criticism of the Israeli government—to head the Democratic National Committee. They will press forward repeating the same silly slogans and trying to use the now ineffective Force choke on their political enemies. They may have lost control of the Congress and the White House and hold only 16 governorships and majorities in only 31 of the states’ 99 legislative chambers, but they are incapable of offering any meaningful alternative to neoliberalism and empire. They are devoid of a vision. They can only moralize. They will continue to atrophy and enable the consolidation of an American fascism.”
Neoliberalism was sold as the economic system that would produce “freedom” for everyone. By now it’s quite apparent that the “freedom” conferred by neoliberalism has been exclusively for the 1% and their affluent professional apparatchik, while the rest of us are offered the freedom to starve.
PAUL JAY: “Is part of what’s happening here an overall decay, if you will, of the state itself, of the American government? Which is a reflection of what’s going on in the economy. You have so much of Wall Street is about pure parasitical investment. There’s more money being invested in derivative gambling and billionaires gambling against billionaires and shorting, kind of manupulating commodity markets and so on, more money in the parasitical activity than there is investment in productive activity. And these are the guys that are financing political campaigns even electing presidents, in the case of Robert Mercer, who ‘s the billionaire who backed Trump and Bannon. Bannon worked for Mercer. The whole state and the upper echelons in the economy they seem to be into such practically mafioso short-sightedness. Like, “What can we do today for ourselves and damn what happens later?”’