Home Financial responsibility What is breaking democracy? by William H. Janeway

What is breaking democracy? by William H. Janeway


The internationalization of economic and financial relations has undermined the authority of the nation-state and created the conditions for the current confluence of global crises. Worse, the dismantling of neoliberalism has not led to incremental renewal, but to something more politically contingent and uncertain.

CAMBRIDGE — My colleagues Gary Gerstle and Helen Thompson share an academic home at the University of Cambridge, and their new books share a common goal: how to understand the dysfunction that has beset Western democracies. They explore this question in very different but complementary ways, offering deep insight into the disequilibrium dynamics of democratic capitalism. When read together, it is clear how the dissolution of Gerstle’s neoliberal Order fueled the disorder analyzed by Thompson.

The contrast between the two books owes a lot to the paths of the authors. Gerstle, a historian of political ideas, ideologies, and cultures, writes from an American perspective. In The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Age of the Free Market, he follows how initially radical political programs become institutionalized as global “orders” when the opposition agrees to their terms. Thus, the New Deal Order was established when the Republican Eisenhower administration chose not to try to repeal the central institutional reforms of the Democratic Roosevelt administration.

Similarly, after its failed attempt to renew the New Deal order through health care reform, the Clinton administration embraced the liberated markets of the Reagan Revolution and thus prolonged the neoliberal order until it died out in the “eternal wars” after 2001 and the wars of 2008. financial crisis. Gerstle presents Donald Trump’s ethno-populist appeal as signaling the exhaustion of the neoliberal Order, whose disintegration has left the United States polarized and paralyzed in the face of long-standing racial issues and the inescapable challenge of climate change.

To continue reading, register now.

As a registered user, you can enjoy more PS content every month – free.



Subscribe now for unlimited access to everything PS has to offer.