[Y]ounger individuals have had their formative ideological experiences in an era in which labor strength is concentrated in sectors that are either public or dependent on public largesse, and these unions often place themselves squarely in the path of reforms sought by left-leaning writers. I’m sure it was easier to be sympathetic to labor when it was winning limits on truly heinous business practices rather than fighting against merit-based pay for excellent teachers.
And I think that current neoliberals think of themselves as more honestly egalitarian than traditional leftists, based on their international view of developments in human welfare. The past few decades have witnessed an unprecedented reduction in global poverty thanks to liberal reforms in China and India. Countries containing twice the population of the currently developed world are now hurtling toward middle-income status, thanks to trade, thanks to deregulation, and thanks to the introduction of market reforms. The neoliberals I enjoy reading pride themselves on fighting for access to opportunity for the disadvantaged, through reduced barriers to trade with America, increased opportunities for immigration to America, and (in Matt’s case) reduced obstacles to living, working, and starting businesses in America’s most dynamic urban centers. The neoliberal platform strikes me as much easier to understand, from a progressive viewpoint, when considered at an international level.
Mike Konczal focuses on other elements of Freddie's post:
I think it is useful to consider what the strengths of wonks are. Starting a socialist overturn of the capitalist order is not one.
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