Neoliberalism made the universal hypocrisy of the market clear, no sooner than the populists and authoritarians came to power. During the 2016 US election, Hillary Clinton made it known that she believed that the free market can tackle climate change, income inequality, racial injustice and unfair healthcare and education outcomes, all things that Clinton propagates. This ideology greatly suggests that Clinton believed that social issues can be confronted by individuals and it is the individual’s choice to do so when it really should be the state. Once again neoliberalism has successfully conned the people into challenging global problems as individuals by disguising itself as more ‘progressive’ than it really is.
In the case of Brexit, there are two opposing sides: the dubious rich neo-liberal elite that fund and organise right-wing populist referenda such as Brexit and the victims of neo-liberalism, globalisation and ‘progress’ who voted for Brexit in despair. The elite wants deregulation, embarrassing science to be ignored, and low taxation so that they alone cream off the wealth produced by their foot soldiers with zero community responsibility – the poor, struggling families that have fallen for their propaganda will pay heavily for all that. There will no longer be any ‘free’ NHS nor ‘free’ education in the neo-liberal, post-Brexit world. If you cannot afford it, you do not get it. If your tower block burns down due to worthless or non-existent regulations – tough. The elite Brexiteers will live off and increase their wealth. The poor Brexiteers who believed that they would be ‘taking back control’ will suffer higher prices, substandard employment opportunities with lower wages and reduced public services and welfare.
Similar to Clinton’s ideas, other government functions, for example, health care provision and education as well as protecting the environment and public lands, are open for privatisation and defunding in Trump’s agenda. Under Trump, the scope of federal government activities is narrowing, mostly to infrastructure, national defence, and domestic policing and surveillance, even though overall government spending increases.
With a hard, acrimonious Brexit on the horizon, along with Trumpist America and radical white nationalism, neoliberalism appears to be the route most western countries are taking. This neoliberal democracy produces consumers instead of citizens and produces large-scale commerce instead of integrated communities. Will a rule of nepotism and militarised oligarchy, which caters only to the whims of the rich, be a fierce enemy of genuine western democracy in the foreseeable future?