Economics/Class Relations

Krystal Kyle & Friends | Gary Gerstle

This week, we’ve prepared a conversation for you with the brilliant scholar Gary Gerstle, whose research on what defines the global neoliberal order can also help us understand what might bring that order to a close. We’re sharing this conversation on the heels of the news that Manchin, who’s made no secret of his opposition to Biden’s most meager proposals for social welfare, will oppose the shell of Build Back Better that remains. Specifically, he’s vetoing measures to address climate change and taxing the rich — that is, the watered-down measures that remain on the Biden agenda. The political agenda he supports — means-testing, sacrificing us all to the whims of the market — suggests that the neoliberal order is alive and well.

It’s essential that we think about how far we’ve come from FDR-style programs for public goods and social support, though, and that we recognize the role that Biden reliably plays in denying us those programs — even though his election seemed to herald to some that happy days were here again. These are strange times: Jonathan Chait has taken to New York magazine to opine on Biden’s complicity in killing the agenda that came out of his own administration. Across the political spectrum, there’s broad dissatisfaction with the way Biden’s allowed conservatives like Sinema and Manchin to forestall progress on major economic policies and relief packages. The measures that Biden ran on, in large part, remain totally unfulfilled: where’s the funding for housing, the climate action, the (insufficient, still nonexistent) public option? And Biden’s responses to major rollbacks of basic rights, as in the Dobbs decision, show a lack of investment in governing for the wellbeing of everyday people. He was right: Nothing has fundamentally changed — except where it’s gotten worse.

We hope you’ll enjoy this discussion on Episode 81 of KK&F, with Gerstle’s insights on how neoliberal economic approaches continue to shape the world we’re living in, on what could come next, and on how this all fits into the political moment we’re living through. Thanks for joining us for another week of Krystal Kyle & Friends.

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