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Sat Jun 11, 2016, 10:59 AM

Our Neoliberal Nightmare: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Why the Wealthy Win Every Time [View all]

This discussion thread was locked as off-topic by tammywammy (a host of the General Discussion forum).

Here is the cold slap of reality.


Can we still rely on conventional distinctions like liberal versus conservative, or Democrat versus Republican, to understand what is going on in this election? We need to understand the framework of neoliberalism, rather than the distraction of personalities, to grasp what would be good or bad for the US public under each candidate.

Over the last fifteen years, editors often asked me not to mention the word "neoliberalism," because I was told readers wouldn't comprehend the "jargon." This has begun to change recently, as the terminology has come into wider usage, though it remains shrouded in great mystery.

People throw the term around loosely, as they do with "fascism," with the same confounding results. Imagine living under fascism or communism, or earlier, classical liberalism, and not being allowed to acknowledge that particular frame of reference to understand economic and social issues. Imagine living under Stalin and never using the communist framework but focusing only on personality clashes between his lieutenants, or likewise for Hitler or Mussolini or Mao or Franco and their ideological systems! But this curious silence, this looking away from ideology, is exactly what has been happening for a quarter century, since neoliberalism, already under way since the early 1970s, got turbocharged by the Democratic party under the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and Bill Clinton. We live under an ideology that has not been widely named or defined!


It cannot be emphasized enough that neoliberalism is not classical liberalism, or a return to a purer version of it, as is commonly misunderstood; it is a new thing, because the market, for one thing, is not at all free and untethered and dynamic in the sense that classical liberalism idealized it. Neoliberalism presumes a strong state, working only for the benefit of the wealthy, and as such it has little pretence to neutrality and universality, unlike the classical liberal state.


When Hillary Clinton frequently retorts -- in response to demands for reregulation of finance, for instance -- that we have to abide by "the rule of law," this reflects a particular understanding of the law, the law as embodying the sense of the market, the law after it has undergone a revolution of reinterpretation in purely economic terms. In this revolution of the law persons have no status compared to corporations, nation-states are on their way out, and everything in turn dissolves before the abstraction called the market.


Neoliberalism expects -- and education at every level has been redesigned to promote this -- that economic decision-making will be applied to all areas of life (parenthood, intimacy, sexuality, and identity in any of its forms), and that those who do not do so will be subject to discipline. Everyone must invest in their own future, and not pose a burden to the state or anyone else, otherwise they will be refused recognition as human beings.


Neoliberalism will continue to perpetuate reduced opportunity, because one of its characteristics -- as in any system that wants to thrive on the world stage -- is to constantly refine the field upon which the human subject can operate.


(Thus, also, Hillary Clinton's animus against free college education; that form of expansion of opportunity, which was a reality from the 1950s to the 1980s, cannot be allowed to return, human beings are supposed to invest in their own future earnings potential, they are not entitled to a transcendent experience without barriers manifesting in discipline and self-correction. Education, like everything else, including one's own health, becomes an expensive consumer good, not a right, no longer an experience that might lead to a consciousness beyond the market but something that should be fully encapsulated by the market. If one is a capable market player, education as we have classically understood it becomes redundant.

What, indeed, does happen beyond Sanders, because as we have seen Hillary Clinton is one of the founders of neoliberal globalization, one of its central historical figures (having accelerated the warehousing of the poor, the attack on trade unions, and the end of welfare and of regulatory prowess), while Trump is an authoritarian figure whose conceptions of the state and of human beings within the state are inconsistent with the surface frictionlessness neoliberalism desires? To go back to Hillary Clinton's opening campaign commercial, to what extent will Americans continue to believe that the self must be entrepreneurially leveraged toward maximum market gains, molded into mobile human capital ever ready to serve the highest bidder?

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Reply Our Neoliberal Nightmare: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Why the Wealthy Win Every Time [View all]
Ferd Berfel Jun 2016 OP
RKP5637 Jun 2016 #1
Ferd Berfel Jun 2016 #2
RKP5637 Jun 2016 #3
dinkytron Jun 2016 #21
840high Jun 2016 #53
lewebley3 Jun 2016 #8
JaneQPublic Jun 2016 #11
arendt Jun 2016 #15
newthinking Jun 2016 #18
IDemo Jun 2016 #28
RKP5637 Jun 2016 #12
tecelote Jun 2016 #26
pangaia Jun 2016 #35
oberliner Jun 2016 #4
lewebley3 Jun 2016 #9
arendt Jun 2016 #16
oberliner Jun 2016 #42
arendt Jun 2016 #49
newthinking Jun 2016 #20
Phlem Jun 2016 #23
arendt Jun 2016 #50
notadmblnd Jun 2016 #34
LineLineLineLineReply !
Phlem Jun 2016 #39
Ned_Devine Jun 2016 #37
oberliner Jun 2016 #41
Ned_Devine Jun 2016 #43
charlyvi Jun 2016 #5
redstateblues Jun 2016 #6
Octafish Jun 2016 #7
arendt Jun 2016 #17
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Todays_Illusion Jun 2016 #10
nolabear Jun 2016 #13
Phlem Jun 2016 #25
SharonClark Jun 2016 #14
roguevalley Jun 2016 #19
rgbecker Jun 2016 #22
beastie boy Jun 2016 #24
Phlem Jun 2016 #33
beastie boy Jun 2016 #48
Phlem Jun 2016 #52
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beastie boy Jun 2016 #51
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zentrum Jun 2016 #27
notadmblnd Jun 2016 #30
chknltl Jun 2016 #31
ChiciB1 Jun 2016 #32
stupidicus Jun 2016 #36
Cryptoad Jun 2016 #40
cheapdate Jun 2016 #44
tammywammy Jun 2016 #55