Join Open University of the Left on Saturday December 15, at 2:30 pm at the Lincoln Park Public Library 1150 W. Fullerton Ave. (cross street Sheffield) Chicago, free parking, wheel chair accessible (Bus route: 74 Fullerton, Red line: Fullerton)
By both its supporters and detractors, neoliberalism is usually considered an economic policy agenda. This presentation argues that it is much more than that: a complete worldview, neoliberalism presents the competitive marketplace as the model for true human flourishing. It has enjoyed great success: from the struggle for “global competitiveness” on the world stage down to our individual practices of self-branding and social networking, neoliberalism has transformed every aspect of social life in the West and beyond. This talk explores the sources of neoliberalism’s remarkable success and the roots of its current decline. Neoliberalism’s appeal is its promise of freedom in the form of unfettered free choice. But that freedom is a trap: we have just enough freedom to be accountable for our failings, but not enough freedom to create genuine substantive change. If we choose rightly, we ratify our own exploitation. If we choose wrongly, we are consigned to the outer darkness and then demonized as the cause of social ills.
Adam Kotsko is on the faculty of the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College in Naperville where he teaches in the humanities and social sciences. He is the author, most recently, of “The Prince of This World,” a study of the political legacy of pre-modern Christian ideas about the devil, and “Neoliberalism’s Demons,” which argues that the contemporary political-economic order functions on the basis of a logic of moral entrapment that echoes the theological concept of demonization.
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