Neoliberalism is the Bipartisan Consensus, Not the Lesser of Two Evils

Neoliberalism is the Bipartisan Consensus, Not the Lesser of Two Evils

West’s incorrect partisan conceptualization of neoliberalism is not only wrong, but it is misleading. While the word “neoliberal” is etymologically related to the word “liberal,” it has no relationship with the current political usage of the term “liberal” and its modern association with the Democratic Party. Rather, it harkens back to the 18th century Scottish economic philosopher Adam Smith who advocated the removal of all tariffs and restrictions on free capital so that the “invisible hand” of the market could bring prosperity to all. In the post-WWII years of the 20th century, Smith’s ideas about the liberalization of capital were brought back into the spotlight by economist Friedrich Hayek and, later, Milton Friedman whose goal was to completely dismantle the social safety nets of FDR’s New Deal, which, it was argued, hampered free capital. Thus, neoliberalism is a “neo” form of 18th century economic liberalism and has no connection to the political “liberalism” of today’s Democratic Party.