‘The West’ is at the beginning of the end of the Neo-Liberal Age. It is a time of great uncertainty and the stakeholders of that old order, like Mr. Schama, are experiencing a kind of panic, best described as fear of an uncertain future.The political stirrings of that unknown future, represented by not just the ‘Left’ but the ‘Right’ under the rubric of ‘Populism’ is the specter haunting our politics. Should one even be surprised at this development?
Without really expressing it Mr. Schama posits himself as the Political Center between the two extremes he names Populism, the Corbyn, Sanders and Trump trio to express it in reductive terms. Yet that Political Center is Neo-Liberal without doubt: New Labour and the New Democrats define that Center’s politics and both Parties are steeped in Neo-Liberal Dogma. The Rise of Thatcher/Reagan were it’s beginnings and both New Labour and New Democrats predicated their political ambition on a ‘reform’ of their Party’s platforms/ideologies, in light of the fact that the Neo-Liberal dispensation was the winning formula: a New Politics for a New Age? yet that yearning for a New Politics lacked the critical ability to think historically but was captive to a narrow pragmatism, or more simply opportunism!
The watershed of 2008, and the seven years of economic blight that have followed, were instructive to the populous. If not to the stakeholders like Mr. Schama and his historically sophisticated retrograde defense of that Political Center. In the past few weeks we readers at The Financial Times have been offered all manner of political melodrama and nearly unhinged political hysterics: what is clear is that the future of the Neo-Liberal Center looks subject to what Mr. Schama might call political irrationalism. What is lacking in that retrograde defense is anything like political honesty or the exercise of historical candor. What is quite puzzling in the American political context with the passage of the TPA and TPP is that Corporatism is the political future of America, and as such there should be jubilation at the Financial Times, with this total victory of the Corporate Ascendancy! Or is the realization that Hayek’s epistemology, that the Market expresses the only necessary form of knowledge, is no longer the only economic construct worth consideration, attention or even long term allegiance?