Neoliberalism's war against democracy and how to resist it How do we explain the strange survival of the forces responsible for the 2008 economic crisis, one of the worst since 1929? How do we explain the fact that neoliberalism has emerged from the crisis strengthened? When it broke, a number of the most prominent economists hastened to announce the 'death' of neoliberalism. They regarded the pursuit of neoliberal policy as the fruit of dogmatism.
For Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, neoliberalism is no mere dogma. Supported by powerful oligarchies, it is a veritable politico-institutional system that obeys a logic of self-reinforcement. Far from representing a break, crisis has become a formidably effective mode of government.
In showing how this system crystallized and solidified, the book explains that the neoliberal straitjacket has succeeded in preventing any course correction by progressively deactivating democracy. Increasing the disarray and demobilization, the so-called 'governmental' Left has actively helped strengthen this oligarchical logic. The latter could lead to a definitive exit from democracy in favour of expertocratic governance, free of any control.
However, nothing has been decided yet. The revival of democratic activity, which we see emerging in the political movements and experiments of recent years, is a sign that the political confrontation with the neoliberal system and the oligarchical bloc has already begun.
Publisher: Verso Books
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 210 x 140 mm
For the most maximalist theorists of neoliberalism in thought and practice, look no further.- Quinn Slobodian, author of Globalists : The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism
Dardot and Laval present the post-2008 radicalization of neoliberalism as a nightmare and an opportunity. The nightmare is the stranglehold of a system of norms and treaties that benefit the oligarchy while immiserating the rest of us. The opportunity stems from the complete break between the elites and everybody else; neoliberalism has lost even the veneer of legitimacy. The challenge facing the Left is whether we can develop the political vision - and capacity - that will make this an opportunity for us. - Jodi Dean, author of The Communist Horizon and Crowds and Party
Building on their previous historical analysis of neoliberal rationality, Dardot and Laval now paint a much starker, more terrifying portrait of neoliberalism, that is alert to its violence and unyielding political logic. Never Ending Nightmare presents us with a bleak but compelling account of how neoliberal government has abandoned all pretence of democratic legitimacy.- William Davies, author of Nervous States: How feeling took over the world
Dardot and Laval's provocative study offers important insights with regard to the current state of radicalization of neoliberalism. Although the interpretation of the EU as a quintessential ordoliberal project will surely trigger objections, their emphasis on legal norms as social technology to advance neoliberal transformations is very well taken. Critical examination of forms of neoliberal oligarchy goes beyond staples of post-democracy. Aficionados of both national populism and traditional party organizations will dislike their message for those on the left who are keen to develop an alternative imaginary of the future.- Dieter Plehwe, co-editor of The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective