Political Economy After Neoliberalism

Neil Fligstein and Steven Vogel in Boston Review:

If anything could have dislodged the neoliberal doctrine of freeing the market from the government, you might have expected the coronavirus pandemic to do the trick. Of course, the same was said about the global financial crisis, which was supposed to transform everything from macroeconomic policy to financial regulation and the social safety net.

Now we are facing a particularly horrifying moment, defined by the triple shock of the Trump presidency, the pandemic, and the economic disasters that followed from it. Perhaps these—if combined with a change in power in the upcoming election—could offer a historic window of opportunity. Perhaps. But seizing the opportunity will require a new kind of political-economic thinking. Instead of starting from a stylized view of how the world ought to work, we should consider what policies have proved effective in different societies experiencing similar challenges. This comparative way of thinking increases the menu of options and may suggest novel solutions to our problems that lie outside the narrow theoretical assumptions of market-fundamentalist neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism implies a one-size-fits-all set of policy solutions: less government and more market, as if the “free market” were a single equilibrium. To the contrary, we know that there have been multiple paths to economic growth and multiple solutions to economic crises in different societies.

More here.