Keynesian Imbedded Liberalism; this political-economic system was the single most important factor in making America great. The two other factors most important were separation of church and state and unions. I would guess if nine out of ten citizens were asked if they know what Imbedded Liberalism and Neoliberalism are they would either not know or give some kind of free-market-propaganda-nonsense reply.
In this post I will attempt to explain why so many people refuse to accept either ideology for what each actually is, and why explaining what they are so the average citizen understands is so important. Let us begin by stating, yes, it is about “us.” Not “individual freedom” or any of the other popular code words that actually mean unrestrained greed. We all sacrifice for a collective so individuals survive.
Those who have gained so much power or serve those with obscene wealth are playing a historically recent game and threaten the survival of the human race. They have preached their religion of rapacious acquisition of money to the point where a majority of the population is brainwashed into believing in their cult. “They” have managed to gain control of most of the civilized world. “They” as in that 1 percent who own most of what can be owned on this planet.
It must be made clear to as many as can understand that competition must be embedded in cooperation or it is predation. The best and brightest are elevated not so they can live as demi-gods reigning far above the squalid masses, but so they can raise all others up with them. For this they are given fame and fortune and everything that goes with it, but not semi-divine status relegating the rest of us to the category of subhuman.
Neoliberalism is essentially a religion that does award semi-divine status and relegates all but the very few to being not fellow human beings but commodities. We are in fact social animals and live in a society and both words come from the same root word as socialism. It is undeniable that Neoliberalism has accomplished the goal of demonizing the word socialism for a specific purpose. Embedded liberalism is understood as a capitalist (the old meaning of “liberal”) economic system that exists within, and is regulated by, a socialist political system. Regulation is anathema to Neoliberalism and socialism is thus a blasphemy.
It is fundamental that the individual cannot survive without the collective anymore than there can be a collective without individuals. This is the great sin, the primal illusion of pride and optimism bias: that each is his own master and only purpose. We are all slaves and masters to each other at the same time and our purpose is to insure the best for each other as this automatically becomes the best for each of us. Like the arrow of time, it does not work in the opposite direction.
When we take more than we are given we betray the trust we are gifted with by our fellow human beings and if others combine in this treachery at some point there is war. It never fails to amaze me when I see the reaction of those I enlighten with the fact that the only reason they own anything is because the rest of us let them have it. The strongest, cruelest, most violent person is nothing compared to a mob and will quickly be ripped limb from limb. Truth.
We gladly give treasure to the leader who accomplishes complex projects with their organizational genius, the scientist who provides the technological miracles that make life so easy compared to our stone age beginnings, and the doctor who cures disease and saves lives. But when ownership of almost everything is by a few, obscene wealth and corruption becomes all powerful, fantastic fortunes acquired and hoarded while almost everyone else labors in wage slavery and gains almost nothing in comparison- the guillotine is the inevitable consequence.
At some point in our history the medium of exchange called money evolved into a supernatural element. Where only food and shelter and safety had mattered before the magical power of money became a reality and gained ascendance over the necessities of life. It has always been an illusion of course. Something we all must agree to honor and give allegiance to. A piece of paper or rare metal that we cannot eat, will not protect us from the elements, that will not keep us from harm.
And so, the modern human being labors long hours on goods that devour far more time and resources than they provide in the way of what nourishes and protects and promotes health. All those hours they could spend with their community, all the nutritious food and clean spacious climate controlled housing and quality health care is denied them so that a tiny minority can have absolutely anything they desire.
The reason this is so is not some natural law of social and economic Darwinism. Nothing validates the low quality of life of humans who are “unsuccessful” while lavishly providing a thousand times more for a few definitely not a thousand times more intelligent or capable. The reason this is so is simply because we foolishly believe our fellow humans are doing what is right for all of us. But they are not.
Our hunter gatherer instincts drive the majority of us to sacrifice and obey the leaders who we presume want our group to survive. But that small percentage who, simply because of natural variation, are wired for the opposite set of goals, have taken over the world. They do not compete within a cooperative society for the good of all; they are predators and parasites sucking the life out of a mass of individuals who they have conditioned with propaganda and psychological marketing tricks to be their prey. They worship a predator god that has indeed taken over our world.
We must take it back. Want to know how we got here?
Ironic that the title of the book that more than any other successfully promoted Neoliberalism, was titled, “The Road to Serfdom.” It did more to impress several billion people into the 21st century version of serfdom called wage slavery.
Milton Friedman published “Capitalism and Freedom” in 1962 and in the above video at 43:46 the essential points of Neoliberalism that informed the Reagan Revolution are detailed.
Just as money for climate change denial came from the Koch brothers, the seed funding for the Neoliberal movement was the Volker fund, which was started as a socialist charity by a philanthropist and then converted by the relative who took it over as an anti-new-deal organization.
What is the solution? The Green New Deal.