10 July 2016

We Don't Need Trump or Brexit to Reject the Credo of Neoliberal Market Inevitability

By Michael Meurer, Truthout | Op-Ed

In the wake of the June 23 Brexit vote, global media have bristled with headlines declaring the Leave victory to be the latest sign of a historic rejection of "globalization" by working-class voters on both sides of the Atlantic. While there is an element of truth in this analysis, it misses the deeper historical currents coursing beneath the dramatic headlines. If our politics seem disordered at the moment, the blame lies not with globalization alone but with the "There Is No Alternative" (TINA) philosophy of neoliberal market inevitability that has driven it for nearly four decades.

British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher introduced the TINA acronym to the world in a 1980 policy speech that proclaimed "There Is No Alternative" to a global neoliberal capitalist order. Thatcher's vision for this new order was predicated on the market-as-god economic philosophy she had distilled from the work of Austrian School economists such as Friedrich Hayek and her own fundamentalist Christian worldview. Western political life today has devolved into a series of increasingly desperate and inchoate reactions against a sense of fatal historical entrapment originally encoded in Thatcher's TINA credo of capitalist inevitability. If this historical undercurrent is ignored, populist revolt will not produce much-needed democratic reform. It will instead be exploited by fascistic nationalist demagogues and turned into a dangerous search for political scapegoats.


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