The Inglorious Game of Neoliberalism


As usual for Glenn Greenwald, he has wise post-election remarks on the dominant media narrative maligning the supporters of Brexit and Donald Trump.

Snapshot of his remarks here:

“The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much — when they caused a ruckus — and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.

That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard — not without reason — as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.”

Greenwald describes what seems to be a surging backlash against the ideology of capitalism’s latest phase. What is “new” about “neoliberalism” is the hyperbolic pursuit of the anti-paternalist tendencies of classical liberalism – that each individual is the only effective arbiter of what is good for oneself and that the free market is the glorious mechanism for making a good life realizable. The collective control of the means and conditions of political life is rapidly eroding; almost every sphere of human life is dominated by market relations, including the increasingly narrow and regressively impotent sphere of academic philosophy. Classical liberalism’s slow creep upon the spheres of modern life has been intensified by the most recent phase of global capitalism. Of course it remains to be seen whether Trump is an actual force against this global ideology, rather than just another ruse to continue the oppressive intensification of neoliberal politics, as I suspect his lifelong political inactivity forewarns. At least now it is obvious that many U.S. voters rejected the candidacy of Hillary Clinton in large part because it relied yet again on the smug playbook of the economic elite.






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