Home > Critical Thinking, Current Affairs, Dystopia, Musings, Philosophy sans Sophistry, Reason, Secular Religions, Skepticism > On the Rise of NeoLiberalism in West During the 1968-2008 Era: Part 2

On the Rise of NeoLiberalism in West During the 1968-2008 Era: Part 2

A few months ago, in the first part of this series, I wrote about a confluence of factors responsible for very high rates of support for neoliberal ideas and policies among whites in USA during the 1968-2008 era. To make a long story short, white support for neoliberalism (in USA) was largely due to a combination of post-WW2 prosperity, desire for continuing racial discrimination as well as a delusion that people in the ‘rest of the world’ could never catch up with them. As we all know, things did not turn out as expected towards the end of that era- and it has been clearly downhill for them since the early 2000s.

Neoliberalism, did however, spread past the boundaries of USA into other countries- especially those in western Europe. However, most popular accounts of neoliberalism tend to ignore, or give very little attention to, its spread in European countries (other than in UK). But why? Well.. there are some reasons. Firstly, the spread of neoliberalism into the institutions and popular psyche of those countries was never as thorough as in USA. Even today, people in those countries enjoy universal healthcare coverage, a largely functional social safety net, affordable higher education and many other things which CONservative idiots in USA believe to be ‘pipe-dreams’.

So why did neoliberalism spread, albeit in a limited manner, in western Europe? But perhaps more importantly, why was it never able to gain the sort of popular following it achieved in USA (except, maybe in UK)? Why were politicians, elites and capitalists in those countries never able to successfully push for neoliberal changes of the magnitude seen in USA? Why did neoliberalism fail to change the belief systems of a majority in those countries, unlike the USA? How could corporations in those countries remain relevant and profitable without jumping on the Anglo-American neoliberal project? What, exactly, was different over there?

1] The first reason for the relative inability of neoliberalism to spread in Western Europe comes down to a simple, if very unpleasant, fact about the nature of USA as a society and nation-state. Modern west-European nations states, unlike USA, have never been racially segregated societies. Also, unlike USA, they never allowed race-based slavery to occur on their own soil. Consequently, one of the most important boosters for public support of neoliberalism based policies such as shredding the social safety net, job precarization and union busting (in post-WW2 era) never existed in those countries. USA until 1968, in contrast, practiced legalized race-based Apartheid in a form identical to the now defunct pre-1994 state of South Africa.

Now, some of you might say that it has something to do with “racial diversity causing low trust societies”. But was that really the case? Widespread public acceptance of neoliberalism in USA came in the era before large-scale non-white immigration. That is right! The population of USA was somewhere between 85-90% white as late as the early 1980s. Reagan was elected in 1980 by an electorate that was close to 90% white. So why did they vote for him? In case you do not remember, he won because he promised to restore law and order (screw over “uppity” blacks) and make america great- like “it used to be”.

Which brings us to an odd question.. why was a self-identified and dominant (at that time) group making up almost 9/10ths of the population so concerned about the quest for equality by a historically marginalized group making up the other 1/10th? While it is possible to come up with many clever sounding reasons to explain this behavior, the most straightforward, if tasteless, explanation is that a significant percentage of 9/10ths enjoyed screwing over the 1/10th for reasons that had nothing to do with self-interest or money. Maybe they were getting off by screwing more vulnerable people- which leads to the next reason for Europe’s partial immunity to neoliberalism.

2] Most people looking at Europe today forget that it was once a hotbed of nationalism, racism and support for mass murder at a level that makes USA today look tame in comparison. But then WW1, numerous conflicts after WW1 and WW2 happened. While these wars and conflicts killed tens of millions of people in that part of the world, they really cut down the numbers of young CONservative minded men (also known as ‘useful idiots’) in those countries. Many of you might have noticed that the strongest non-rich supporters for neoliberalism in USA are almost always white men of average intelligence and mediocre ability who are delusional enough to believe that they too can become rich by following and defending the rich.

In contrast to that, american casualties in WW1 and WW2 were (sadly) minimal and too many men of a CONservative mindset, average intelligence and mediocre ability were left alive after those wars. It certainly did not help that post-WW2 economic growth and prosperity reinforced their beliefs about things “ought to be”. That is why USA as a society embraced neoliberalism so thoroughly when it was near the peak of its relative prosperity in the 1960s and 1970s. It was easy money, not hard times and non-white immigration, which made white american society embrace neoliberalism. Remember, Reagan was elected as governor of a very prosperous California in the 1960s, before he was elected president in 1980.

Even today, older white voters who grew up during the “good times” in USA are far more likely to vote for republican or establishment democrat candidates (aka neoliberals). The point I am trying to make is that the lack of large-scale casualties in WW2 along with immediate post-WW2 prosperity for even the most average and mediocre cannon-fodder is why neoliberalism took such firm roots in USA. That is also why even larger west-European countries which took heavy casualties in both world wars, such as France and Germany, ended up becoming and remaining more socialistic after WW2.

In the next part of this series, I will share my thoughts on why neoliberalism in European countries took off in the private sector after the late-1980s, but was not able to start dominating it till the early 2000s. Will also write about why UK went neoliberal about a decade earlier, and far more systematically, than neighboring countries.

What do you think? Comments?

  1. February 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Seems to me (maybe I’m wrong) that neoliberalism did not originate in USA, then spread. I have always sensed it originated in western Europe, especially England, then spread and USA is close behind.

    Your thoughts?

  2. February 16, 2018 at 11:05 am

    “But why? Well.. there are some reasons. Firstly, the spread of neoliberalism into the institutions and popular psyche of those countries was never as thorough as in USA. Even today, people in those countries enjoy universal healthcare coverage, a largely functional social safety net, affordable higher education and many other things which CONservative idiots in USA believe to be ‘pipe-dreams’.”

    This implies that you associate the opposition to universal health care with neoliberalism. Do you?

    The general picture painted by media is that progressives i.e. neoliberals support universal healthcare, not oppose it. Although I agree that CONservatives are a subset of neoliberals (and wolves in sheep’s clothing their constituents fail to recognize) I do not see how opposition to universal healthcare is a tenant of neoliberalism.

  3. February 16, 2018 at 11:19 am

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

    I now understand what you are getting at.

  4. February 16, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I have misunderstood the meaning of neoliberalism by assuming it meant “the new liberals’ when in fact its most accepted definition is not liberal at all, but “CONservative” where the haves keep what they have including their continued increasing greed.

    • February 17, 2018 at 8:20 am

      Yep.
      Now you understand the term correctly.

  5. Anon1
    February 16, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    Wow, this image really sums up what neoliberalism does to a country:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DWK6hppUQAAs3lm.jpg:large

    • MikeCA
      February 16, 2018 at 10:33 pm

      What this graph shows is the USA does a remarkably bad job of providing health care to poor people compared to most of the rest of the western world.

      • Yusef
        February 17, 2018 at 5:33 pm

        What’s more, the OECD’s current membership includes Chile, Estonia, Latvia, Mexico, Slovenia, and Turkey, countries not usually compared as peers to the USA.

  6. Ed
    February 17, 2018 at 8:11 am

    Neoliberalism and Neoconservativism are both the same ideology, which is better labeled “globalism”, or “invade the world invite the world” as Steve Sailer puts it.

    Globalism is a product of the victory disease affecting the USA, particularly the elites, after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The project is to roll back the concessions made to gain public support for the struggle against communism, though its being done slowly, more slowly I think than they really need to.

    It pretty much involves dismantling as much of the welfare state as possible, crony capitalism, a thuggish foreign policy, high rates of immigration from less developed into more developed countries, strong support of Israel which is kind of a pit bull for these people, and increased surveillance of populations.. No ordinary person who is sane would support any of this, so the idea is to get the leadership of all political parties on board, with neoliberals working on the ones supposedly on the left and neoconservatives the ones supposedly on the right, with lots of well funded propaganda, and the police measures are being put in place for when that fails.

    It hit the USA first and most visibly, but then the USA dominates the world so other countries fall into line more slowly.

  7. Gp
    February 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    AD I keep hearing the soundbite that OZ banned assault rifles and there has not been a mass shooting since. Now, acc. to you OZ is neoliberal place and basically another Anglo country, has banning assault rifles led to people killing each others in less obvious ways there as you predicted would happen in US if guns were banned?

    Australia still has universal health coverage, legalized prostitution, no prison-industrial complex, inexpensive education (for its citizens) and tons of jobs.. and that is why mass killings are uncommon. Remember that mass killings were almost unknown in USA till the 1980s.

    • P Ray
      February 19, 2018 at 4:33 am

      I’d say it’s the has-no-expiry unemployment benefit (unlike the 99 weeks in the US) that have kept the violence low in Australia (and New Zealand by extension).

      Australia doesn’t have tons of jobs, just like the USA, UK, NZ … there is a “Generation Rent” problem (that also disguises a “Generation NoSex unless you can pry it from a hypergamous woman” epidemic).

      From what I saw in university at NZ, New Zealand (and by extension Australian) women were extremely racist towards Asian men.
      Asian women were in demand by white men.
      Asian men face very poor job prospects in Australia and NZ.

      smh.com.au/business/the-economy/chances-of-finding-work-for-australias-skilled-migrants-improving-20160722-gqc09a.html
      JULY 24 2016
      SAVE
      PRINT
      LICENSE ARTICLE
      Australia’s skilled migrants: job outcomes improve but many skills still wasted
      Inga Ting

      smh.com.au/business/the-economy/generation-y-overqualified-but-unprepared-for-work-20151106-gkt2ud.html
      LICENSE ARTICLE
      Gen Y: Australia’s most educated generation faces worst job prospects in decades

      Amy Wenham’s generation are desperately arming themselves with qualifications in the face of the toughest jobs market in more than 20 years.
      Inga Ting

      • Gp
        February 19, 2018 at 7:15 am

        Yo, Ray, why don’t you write a small blog(maybe something larger) about your experiences in Oceania. You seem to have lot of experiences to share and your analysis is very sharp. Would love to read your posts

      • P Ray
        February 19, 2018 at 10:48 am

        Looks like I left out Vancouver in that list, it’s equally a hellhole in terms of “Generation Rent”.

        @GP Thanks for the upvote, might do so in future.
        I just consider myself an interested bigmouth, cowardly enough to carefully lived without dying for someone else’ ideals, since I watch what people do, not what they say.

        Right now coming up with ideas about “Pickup without Pickup”, since a non-White-regular guy/ugly guy (maybe equivalent?) has got a bit of unlearning to do since we got all bluepilled to “fit in with society” (that mostly only caters for the 1% and women) – and conventional dating tips … are only for the people who are attractive
        (Same idea as “A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.” ― Mark Twain.)

  8. Gp
    February 18, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Put up the third part soon AD. This series is turning out to be one of your best.

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