Neoliberalism Potemkin Meritocracy

Last edited 25th August 2020

neoliberal thought Evergreen Note markets and individualism

In Neo-liberalism, individuals with mass wealth are afforded with large government handouts so they can "raise the tide". Using tax cuts, bailouts, right to work states, "free trade" agreements, it is ideologically justified to give state assistance to these individuals, but not the poor.

The End of Policing loc 3442

“Neoliberalism can be distinguished from Fordist capitalism’s mass production of consumer goods by the ways it seeks to marketize previously uncommodified sectors of human life. Indeed, one of the questions [we seek] to explore is how design might enable this process by locating new sources of extraction and accumulation by facilitating the commodification of that which was once thought to be outside the scope of the market.”

Special Issue: Design and Neoliberalism Arden Stern & Sami Siegelbaum, Design and Culture 26 September 2019

Where's my free ride?

Neoliberal emphasis on the individual

False Narrative of the Ideal User

The American cult of the individual denies not just community but the very idea of society. No one owes anything to anyone. All must be prepared to fight for everything: education, shelter, food, medical care. What every prosperous and successful democracy deems to be fundamental rights — universal health care, equal access to quality public education, a social safety net for the weak, elderly, and infirmed — America dismisses as socialist indulgences, as if so many signs of weakness.

The Unraveling of America

Free will and human duties

The U.S. culture centered on resentment will prevent any meaningful changes which aim to improve the social safety net for the most vulnerable. Fighting culture war battles that are forgotten within a few news cycles is a hallmark of both political parties who have embraced Neoliberal ideology. Instead of enacting change which could improve the lives of their constituents, both the right and left have engaged in zero-sum political and Social Theater which deploys outrage as a way to direct energy and anger away from changes that would challenge their power and income and towards cultural outcomes which bear no meaningful fruit (thing the GOYA foods and Nike boycotts over statements of support for Trump and Colin Kapernik respectively).

The End of Policing loc 3442

Free will and human duties

The Unraveling of America