This was an interesting lecture.
The postwar era can be divided into two periods: reform liberalism or embedded liberalism, which was when the ideas of John Maynard Keynes and social democracy was ascendant in the West, which lasted from around 1945 until 1980. The Thirty Glorious Years ended in the Crisis of the 1970s which were the oil shocks and stagflation of that decade. In response to that crisis, neoliberalism triumphed and became the dominant liberal paradigm in the West in the late 1970s and early 1980s under Reagan and Thatcher and other European leaders.
This lecture by Professor Jacqueline Best zeroes in on that turning point in history. She digs into the details of how three neoliberal theories – monetarism, supply side economics and rational expectations theory – were put into practice in the 1980s and how the model quickly and quietly failed. In the long run though, it didn’t matter because the policies associated with neoliberalism endured and became an elite consensus. She goes on to argue that we have been trying to create a Homo economicus since the 1980s which conforms to the assumptions of the neoliberal model. In other words, the model failed but maybe we can reprogram people to conform to it.
What do you think? Are we trying to create a new Neoliberal Man? The West’s equivalent of the new Soviet Man of communism?