Nowadays, the U.S. is more divided politically than ever before. Thus, it is essential to study this process and explore its causes, one of which is neoliberalism. It is an entire economic paradigm that the U.S. entered during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. The speaker in the video states that neoliberalism is “the most important component of America’s political polarization” (The Cynical Historian 00:01:27-00:01:31). Overall, there are many definitions of this concept, and one of them is “a revival of calls for small government and globalization” (The Cynical Historian 00:02:52-00:02:54). There are many factors that should be taken into account when trying to understand the essence of this ideology.
Overall, neoliberalism consists of several important steps, among which one can be distinguished as the most impactful piece. In my opinion, deregulation is precisely its key component as it contains great value. Since the power of government over capital markets is reduced or eliminated, the barriers to competition also disappear. Businesses can operate more freely, a vast number of restrictions get removed, and there are more benefits for consumers. Hence, this can have positive effects on the economy, which is an aim of neoliberalism.
Basically, there are four steps of neoliberalism: deregulation, privatization, shift to individuality, and globalization. These components are listed in importance because, as mentioned above, deregulation is the most significant. Further, the federal privatization of the public sphere allows to reduce spending and improve government finances. Shift to individuality is another vital step that may seem unimportant but actually guarantees the success of neoliberalism.
This video was rather interesting and allowed me to learn new information about neoliberalism. For example, I now know that the characteristics of this economic paradigm include rejection of groups and emphasis on individuality, market liberalism, privatization of public goods, and free trade agreements (The Cynical Historian 00:03:19-00:03:39). Additionally, it was surprising for me to hear that the very psychology of neoliberalism prevents class solidarity and makes it more difficult to form a union. Since neoliberalism is about individuality, it is now more challenging for persons to unify (The Cynical Historian 00:33:32). What is more, I was surprised by the fact that Ronald Reagan’s neoliberal idea was that government was not the solution to the economic problems but their cause. However, the reduction of government is not the real objective of neoliberalism. It was also interesting to explore how some presidents contributed to neoliberalism, and some of them, together with adverse circumstances, managed to eliminate the progress of previous years.
“Neoliberalism | U.S. Political Polarization.” YouTube, uploaded by The Cynical Historian, 2021.