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Michel Foucault and the neo-liberal rot that is in America.

I am almost done reading the book "The Last Man Takes LSD: Foucault and the End of Revolution." In this book the authors, Mitchell Dean and Daniel Zamora, postulate that the French philosopher Michel Foucault became a neo-liberal during the last decade of his life. If you are not familiar with the term and definition of the word neo-liberal, a broad definition of neo-liberalism is, "the late 20th century political reappearance of 19th century ideas associated with free-market capitalism after it fell into decline following the Second World War. A prominent factor in the rise of conservative and libertarian organizations, political parties, and think tanks, and predominantly advocated by them, it is generally associated with policies of economic liberalization, including privatization, deregulation, globalization, free trade, monetarism, austerity, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector in the economy and society." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

According to the book "The Last Man Takes LSD," by Dean and Zamora, Foucault by the mid 1970's had become very disillusioned with the far left politics of communism and had basically given up on Marxism and communism. Foucault was searching for a political philosophy and came upon neo-liberalism. Now I think Foucault was one of the great philosophers of the 20th century, and can understand his disillusionment with communism because of the places like the USSR, and also what happened in China during the Cultural Revolution, but it doesn't seem to me that neo-liberalism is a sensible answer to the problems of communism.

We have had close to 45 years of neo-liberalism in America now, and while hindsight might be 20/20, neo-liberalism has had a very damaging effect in America and in the world. During the Carter years we can see the early roots of neo-liberalism with the deregulation of trucking, banking and airline industries. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism#United_States Reagan furthered the neo-liberal agenda by the 1980's and this included tax cuts, increased defense spending, financial deregulation, and trade deficit expansion. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism#United_States By the time the Clinton administration came around with Bill Clinton's passage of NAFTA, continuing the deregulation of the financial sector through the passage of the Commodity Futures and Modernization Act, and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, neo-liberalism was triumphant. When George Bush W Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and now Joe Biden took office, the neo-liberalism mentality, was so ingrained into the psyche of America again, these four administrations could do nothing but act in fashion that supports the free market and neo-liberalism.

So what do we do to get out of this predicament, that neo-liberalism has left us in, with massive wealth inequality, global climate change happening, crime an ever worrying problem, mental illness on the rise https://www.banyanmentalhealth.com/2021/07/01/rise-in-mental-illness/, a corporatist government, and a hyper race conscious society that can't seem to get along very well? While this might not be a novel answer I think it is the best option we have, in which a restarting of what begin in the 1930's under FDR, where a beginning anew again of the "welfare state" takes place. When both parties in America are captured by lobbying and serve at the whims of neo-liberalism, a broadening of the "welfare state" can help stem the tide of the massive inequality that is taking place, along with re-regulating the financial sector. Foucault might have missed the disastrous outcomes of neo-liberalism, but we can stem the tides of ruin by finishing what FDR started, by a broadening of the "welfare state," and hopefully giving candidates like Bernie Sanders (although Sanders is far from perfect), in the future a chance of becoming president.



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