S4 E8: The Second Redemption

April 15, 2020

The conservative, neoliberal counterrevolution in the face of expanding democracy in America: It started long before Donald Trump. Even before Ronald Reagan and his like-minded counterpart across the Atlantic, Margaret Thatcher.

By host and producer John Biewen, with series collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika. Interviews with Nancy MacLean, Wendy Brown, and Rhon Manigault-Bryant.  

The series editor is Loretta Williams. Music by Algiers, John Erik Kaada, Eric Neveux, and Lucas Biewen. Music consulting and production help from Joe Augustine of Narrative Music. 

Photo: British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan at the White House, 1981. Photo courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.

Download a transcript of the episode.

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8 comments on “S4 E8: The Second Redemption

  1. Paul “Pablo Das” Ratliff Apr 16, 2020

    I sat last night for 4 hours stopping and starting this episode, researching these people, watching videos, going to the web pages of the organizations they founded. I want to more deeply understand the people staring across a wide gulf of cultural and religious difference. They’re long viewed Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning economists, most of them and yet, seem so short sighted. I woke this morning thinking about them.
    Thank you for this well researched audio lesson. I appreciate your work tremendously.

    • Sam Sowyrda Apr 19, 2020

      Check out the work of the economist Richard Wolff for a non-neoliberal perspective on capitalism and its relationship to democracy. He gives lots of good critique of the “Chicago School” economists.

  2. Carolyn Carr Apr 16, 2020

    Thank you! I simply cannot express how much I appreciate the work you share here in these series and extra episodes. Our 9th grader and I have been eagerly listening and discussing them, encouraging others to do the same.

  3. Lionel Laratte Apr 18, 2020

    Love the series. You are doing great work.

    Is there any way you could publish links to the authors and books you cite?

    Please keep this going.

  4. Jack Huttner Apr 20, 2020

    Rather than listening again, I’d appreciate you sharing the book titles that were mentioned. thanks!

  5. MARK VISTE Apr 28, 2020

    I’ve really enjoyed Seeing White(uncomfortable, but very educational), Men(as a cis- white man, strangely even more uncomfortable and educational), and now the Land that Never Has Been Yet.

    But in the latest episode, I think you missed an opportunity to better define “market”, and the modifications or alteratives that would be desirable. The naturalness of markets was critiqued primarily on historical grounds, that there was no original state of equality that the market originated in. That’s true, but it would be true of any system we adopted. I wish you had said more about the ongoing artificiality of markets. They do not arise; they are created, and their creation is a major ongoing task of government.

    I recently made a large on-line purchase from a company I’d never dealt with before. I would not trust with the money on an isolated word that a product would be sent. But there’s a large legal system that I depend on to enforce contracts and ensure that a product will arrive, substantially as represented, or I can use the legal system to address the problem. The product would never make it half way across the continent on the resources of one small company, but there’s a continent-wide system of roads and airways that make the transaction possible. Most of the functions of government – even the ones conservatives would approve – make markets possible. They are not natural. They are created, and that creation is an ongoing, expensive, project.

    By not making this clear, I think you do Elizabeth Warren a grammatical injustice in simply describing her as supporting markets. Supporting markets in which the rules include meaningful labor representation on company boards is simply not comparable to supporting markets without child labor laws. As well say that all politicians are the same because they breath oxygen.

    Finally, if you think Warren’s project of adjusting existing markets to tilt the balance of power in a more democratic direction is inadequate, I’d like to hear more about an economic system that would be adequate. I haven’t heard of alternatives to fight for that strike me as viable, and I’d love to be better educated about the possibilities.

    Thanks for great thought-provoking work.

  6. Doug Healy May 14, 2020

    It’s interesting that the Right supports all sorts of uses government of government power so long as it preserves hierarchies – National Guard to break strikes, Jim Crow laws etc. – most of which maintain the structure of the free market. It’s only when government tries to flatten hierarchies that they step up and cry tyranny.

  7. Jamie Edmonds May 25, 2020

    Neoliberalism is America’s Death Cult: