Sadly, Ismail Lagardien’s observation about students runs very much deeper than we think, especially on US campuses (Avid critics blind to lure of neoliberalism, April 10).
The antineoliberal lobby has become an insulated system of self-referential rhetoric. Any cursory review of their academic journals will reveal it as being long on mongering animosity and short on offering new insights. Paradoxically, it thus reproduces the liberal economies, as Lagardien’s student so vividly illustrates.
At a reputable conference I once proposed to organisers to articulate the top three actions to lobby around to begin the task of dismantling neoliberal governments. At first it was met with humour, then with ridicule, and finally I was castigated for belittling and misunderstanding the cause. As such shocks often do, it opened my eyes to the fact that ending neoliberalism is anathema to the "movement" as it is tantamount to hoisting its philosophical rock.
Antineoliberalism is parasitic on a functioning free-market economy, much as trade unions are symbiotically linked to corporate economies and anti-apartheid lobbies are vacuous without apartheid in place. As in religions, critical thinking leads to more defections and less mobilisation.
Yet, interestingly, the most disruptive threat to neoliberalism today has already taken root. It is not the Occupy Wall Street or Seattle Protests, but the internet and now blockchain technology that are digging away — not chipping — at the sovereignty of the Washington Consensus institutions and national governments alike. Without such centres of power, where remains the movement?
It seems to me the world is marching rapidly from neoliberal economies to a hyper-liberal global one. In it, even Grameen Bank savers can participate directly, as there will soon be more smartphones than human beings. In turn, the ultra-rich will have their acquisition methods exposed, as more Julian Assanges will inevitably appear.