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On Contact: The nature and consequences of neoliberalism

On the show, Chris Hedges discusses the nature of neoliberalism and its consequences with Professor Wendy Brown of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University.

Does the eruption of ethnonationalist movements defined by hyper-patriotism, xenophobia, racism, religious chauvinism, and so-called traditional moral values signal the end of neoliberalism? Or are these protofascist movements the natural consequence of neoliberal policies that allowed corporations to corrupt and seize governing institutions and the press, impoverish the working class, and orchestrate the largest transference of wealth upwards in American history? There is no doubt, as the political scientist Wendy Brown writes, that the constellation of principles, policies, practices, and forms of governing reason that may be gathered under the sign of neoliberalism has importantly constituted the catastrophic present, but, she argues, this was not neoliberalism’s intent, rather its Frankensteinian creation. By generating antidemocratic forms of state power above its natural consequence, she claims, was antidemocratic culture from below. The synergy between these two forces sees an increasingly undemocratic and antidemocratic citizenry ever more willing to validate an increasingly antidemocratic state.

Professor Wendy Brown teaches at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton University, and is the author of ‘In the Ruins of Neoliberalism: The Rise of Antidemocratic Politics in the West’.

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