The Ezra Klein Show

Winner of the 2020 Webby and People's Voice awards for best interview podcast. Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

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episode 268: Neoliberalism and its discontents


“Neoliberalism” is one of the most confusing phrases in political discourse today. The term is often used to describe the market fundamentalism of thinkers like Milton Friedman and Frederich Hayek or politicians like Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. At the same time, critics often place more progressive figures like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and even Elizabeth Warren under the neoliberal banner. This raises an important question: what the hell is neoliberalism?

I decided to bring on two guests today to help us answer that question. Wendy Brown is a professor of political theory at UC Berkeley, author of Undoing the Demos and In the Ruins of Neoliberalism, and one of the foremost critics of neoliberalism, not only as a set of economic policies but a “governing rationality” that infects almost all aspects of our existence. Noah Smith is an economist, a columnist at Bloomberg, and is known for his robust defenses of some (though not all) neoliberal positions, which earned him the prestigious title of Chief Neoliberal Shill of 2018. We discuss:

- The differences between neoliberal theory and “actually existing neoliberalism”

- Neoliberalism as not only a set of economic policies but a form of “public reason” that influences our very conception of what it means to be human

- How neoliberal thought came to dominate almost every aspect of our lives

- Whether neoliberalism is an inherently anti-democratic project

- The relationship between neoliberal economic policies and traditional morality

- The differences between New Deal liberalism and Obama-era neoliberalism

- Whether a growth-driven economic model is compatible with our planet's ecological limits


Book recommendations:

How Asia Works by Joe Studwell

Law Without Future by Jack Jackson

Democracy in Chains by Nancy McLean


My book is available for pre-order! You can find it at www.EzraKlein.com.

Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com

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Credits:

Producer and Editor - Jeff Geld

Researcher - Roge Karma

Engineer - Topher Routh

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 2019-10-24  1h34m