Populism and Neoliberalism argues that the roots of populism lay in the contradiction between the democratic ideal, which implies that the people should decide, and neoliberal governance, which seeks to make markets and competition the arbiters of major social developments.
Neoliberalism is not the product of a clearly conceived ideology but rather a set of doctrines based on a few major principles which have been embraced by decision-makers of all kinds with little reassessment along the way. In practice, a certain art of governing that exploited an economic thinking insensitive to social complexity gradually imposed itself by being wrongly identified as the successor to liberalism. The rise of populist movements poses a significant challenge to liberal democracies, yet the causes of these movements remain beyond the understanding of experts. The explanation of populism is often limited to a mere political analysis. Contrary to that, this book investigates the economic and social dynamics of the free-market system and explains how populism emerges from its imbalances. It also aims to explain the emergence of the neoliberal doctrines during the 1930s and to characterise their common features. In light of this, it explores how the rise of inequality and social discontent create a pressing duty to develop another model, and argues that we must now rethink our policies in depth in order to respond to the challenge of authoritarian populism.
This book marks a significant intervention in the debate about the rise and fall of neoliberalism. Its analysis of the links between the failings of neoclassical economics and the failings of neoliberal politics provides essential reading for anyone interested in the damaging impact of neoliberalism, the failings of neoclassical economics, and explanations for the rise of populism.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What’s Next?
1. The age of uprisings
2. Fifty shades of liberalism
3. Neoliberalism: repair it or leave it?
Conclusion: Is there life on Mars?
David Cayla is an Associate Professor of Economics and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Management at Angers University, France. His research focuses primarily on the economy of the European Union and the history of economic thought.