It would be an understatement to say that Neoliberal Capitalism is dying. Right from gross inequalities and inequities of wealth and access to goods and services, to environmental destruction to glaring deficiencies in the way public services as well as the “wealth of the commons” is distributed, neoliberalism as an ideology and as a working model on how to run our societies has failed. Indeed, the only good that has come from this grotesque concept is that the Top 1% have seen their incomes and wealth grow exponentially to the point where the rest are locked in a desperate “race for even to survive”.
The Pandemic brought home the stark reality that we can no longer order our ways of living and working around Neoliberalism. For instance, as the Lockdowns forced everyone indoors and to fend for themselves, this “each for themselves” which is at the core of neoliberal free market model could not ensure that even basic healthcare and timely response to a Once in a Century Emergency was hard to get. Indeed, if not anything Covid 19 reinforced to us the “power of community” and the need for cooperation instead of competition and for solidarity instead of selfish accumulation.
Anyway, the first crisis of the Millennium, the Great Recession of 2008 was the first manifestation of what was wrong with Neoliberalism and while many of our ruling elite “convinced” us and more importantly, themselves that they “solved the problem”, it was the harbinger of a state of permanent crisis peaking in the Pandemic, where it was too late to do anything. So, here we are! Unless we find alternatives and substitutes to Neoliberal Capitalism, we are unlikely to make much headway in addressing any of the pressing problems, and worse, we are likely to end up with Conmen like Trump and Modi, who would like us to “forget” that there is anything wrong with the world and instead, let us amuse ourselves to death.
What comes next?? As the cliché goes, The Old is fading and the New is yet to be born. So, what we have now is chaos where coherent and cogent articulations of the shape of things to come is absent and instead, a veritable Tower Of Babel has taken over where we all argue and beat each other’s ideas to death (sometimes literally) and the situation on the ground worsens by the day. Moreover, with lack of any clear alternatives, Neoliberalism seems the safe bet, though the events of the past year and half have proved the opposite.
This is where we need more of our leaders to commit themselves to maintaining if not letting our present problems exacerbate to the Point of No Return. If it is Too Late to Save the World, at least, do not destroy what remains and be content with maintaining the Status Quo. However, this is where Neoliberalism’s Sinister Side comes into play, built as it is on Plunder and Deceit. So, we urgently need some balance and sanity in our public discourse to salvage what we have today, if we cannot save what is required for tomorrow. In other words, let us live our lives with no hope for the future, but the present is at least manageable.