I am not sure I buy the argument that the market-friendly version of social democracy is only stable if backed by a "broader social movement". Say, rather, a broader social understanding—that, to use the Roman Republican analogue again, the whole going concern was worth maintaining via compromise: "nobles yielding from fear of the multitude, and the people out of respect for the senate" even though political clashes were "neither trifling nor raised for trifling objects": Henry Farrell: The Transformation of Left Neoliberalism: "Brad, Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein... a formal acknowledgment of a shift that has been taking place for a long time.... They have plausibly changed from being left neoliberals to neoliberal leftists.... They tacitly or explicitly realize that preferred neoliberal means of policy delivery need to be embedded in a framework that is being built up by a broader social movement.... If they are pushing for market means towards social democratic ends, that is fine and good–markets can indeed sometimes be the best way to deliver those ends.... But one key lesson of the last couple of decades is that market provision of benefits makes it harder to build and sustain coalitions–private gain and public solidarity are at best uncomfortable bedfellows...

...It is clear why Brad and others are jumping ship–apart from the intellectual problems that Mike describes, there isn’t a politically viable there there to their right. But  I am not as sure as I would like to be about the there there to their left either.... There are enormous obstacles.... First in the US (where the system seems almost deliberately designed to prevent the radical action required e.g. to tackle global warming, and where billionaires can credibly threaten to pull down the election if the Democratic candidate is not to their liking). Second, at the global level, where the soi-disant liberal order is in decay, and it is not clear that there is very much that is going to replace it. There may be no plausible choice in American politics other than the left right now. That doesn’t mean that the left has a very good chance of doing the things that it needs to do...


#noted

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