The U.S. public is beginning to learn a new word: neoliberalism. This is in spite of the fact that neoliberalism as an ideology has informed the policies of our political leaders for the last four decades. It has brought us lax environmental regulations that have added to the pollution of our air, water and land. It has brought us cuts in social programs that have made life more precarious for many. It has brought us privatization of social services such as education, health care, public housing and more. It has brought us curtailment of social benefits that we had taken for granted. It has brought us free trade treaties and the off shoring of jobs to the global South. And it has made a few immensely rich and the rest of us struggling to just get by. All of this has been done in the name of getting government “off our backs” (as Ronald Reagan put it), leaving the economy to be guided by a free market.
Betsy Bowman and Cliff DuRand, co-founders of the Center for Global Justice, will present a critical analysis of neoliberalism. The claim this ideology made was that by unchaining markets from government regulation, the economy would grow and everyone would benefit. But the outcome has been slow growth and stagnant incomes as the vaunted middle class has been hollowed out. Freeing the economy from government regulation has meant that democracy has been chained instead. We seem to have forgotten that democratic government is the means by which “we the people” can guide our lives together. By turning that over to a free market, our lives fall under the control of giant corporations that control that market.
By the adoption of neoliberal policies by both Republicans and Democrats alike, the parties have abandoned the people in favor of Wall Street. It was this betrayal that produced the popular anger that elected Donald Trump president in 2016. And the irony is that you can see that he is doubling down on neoliberal policies – that is you can see it if you look beyond his distracting tweets and heartless immigration policies. Is the public beginning to wake up to this con artist? Will they wake up in time for the 2020 election?
La Biblioteca Publica, Rejoj 50A, Centro
San Miguel de Allende, GUA 37700