Remembering the Birth of Neoliberalism on April 1, 1947

By Zachary Alexander on

As you protect yourself from April Fools’ jokes, you may want to take a little time to consider the birth of Neoliberalism. Professor Friedrich von Hayek organized a conference on this date in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, to combat the growing threat posed by socialism circa 1947. For those tasked with supporting sustainability, there is now a need to hold similar events to counter act Neoliberalism before the next Presidential Election.

Members of the Obama Coalition face the very real challenge of how best to maintain the momentum that led to the election and re-election of President Barack Obama. Organizing for Action is a start but you have to wonder if the leadership team is stuck in the past when it comes to developing its online presence. More specifically, there aren’t any online conversations between OFA and bloggers who talk about economic development.

Senator Rand Paul and the Freedom First Crowd are pressing their competitive advantage, which is the tacit acceptance of Neoliberal principles by the economic development community writ large. The Obama Coalition would do well to use the strategies of Professor Hayek to define an alternative to Neoliberalism. For those tasked with supporting sustainability, this means developing post-Globalization economic development practices.

This is the same tactic that was successfully used by President Obama when he co-opted President Ronald Reagan’s bus driver driver quote about the need to pay equal taxes. It’s the same tactic that he used with the Affordable Care Act to protect himself against challenges made by Mitt Romney. The Obama Coalition would be well-advised to use this time to re-define free market economics for a post-Globalization world instead of promoting progressive strategies, which Neoliberalism was designed to ultimately destroy.

Zachary Alexander