What’s Right with What’s Left?
European social democracy is in crisis. Rather than being the prime challenger of the neoliberal consensus, social democratic parties are struggling with their Third Way legacy. Increasingly alienated from its traditional social base having given in to the neoliberal status quo, social democracy is in danger of becoming an anachronism.
Colin Hay distinguishes between two phases of neoliberalism, ‘normative neoliberalism’ and ‘normalized neoliberalism’ (2007, 98) In the first phase, in the late 1970s and 1980s, neoliberalism was advocated by politicians like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to be the answer to the inefficient economic management of the Keynesian model that marked the post-war period. The second phase of ‘normalized neoliberalism’ signifies its triumph as it was able to solidify its school of thought into a widespread consensus. A particular strength of neoliberalism is that it successfully advocated its inevitability and its necessitarian character.
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