alternatives to capitalism

Joelle Gamble, Paul Mason, Bryce Covert, William Darity Jr., and Peter Barnes, “What Will Kill Neoliberalism?” The Nation, May 4, 2017.


Ways to replace the crumbling neoliberal system are discussed in an article in The Nation by critics of the system. Joelle Gamble, director of the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, explained that Western democracy is being undermined by “the dramatic effects of deindustrialization, automation, globalization, and the growing disparities of wealth and income—including by race and region.” [i] She suggests that pro-state and pro-regulation leftist populism could theoretically end “the neoliberal order” with policies such as universal health care and free public colleges, but they lack organization and unity. They lack leadership but Gamble gives some examples of leaders she respects—Democratic members of Congress Pramila Jayapal (Washington) and Keith Ellison (Minnesota and Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee). Nationalist populism on the right could lead to fascism, although Dutch nationalist Geert Wilders and French nationalist Marine Le Pen were defeated in their presidential bids. However, rightist parties remain active including Le Pen’s National Front, UKIP in the UK, the Law and Justice Party in Poland, and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

British author Paul Mason predicted in Postcapitalism (2015) that globalization would fall apart if the neoliberal system wasn’t replaced after the financial crisis of 2008, but in 2017 he is surprised that it happened so quickly. He advocates a “low-work, high-abundance society” with a basic income for all and breaking up corporate monopolies and points to existing co-ops and other alternative economies. To get to that goal he suggests that the left “that reveled in aimlessness and horizontality needs to split the difference between that and effective, organized politics.” He advocates that the left move beyond capitalism by using “diagonality,” combining horizontalism with more organized politics focusing on taking power in big cities and then national governments–“taking power and diffusing it at the same time.”

Writer Bryce Covert thinks that the way to change the system is to unify the Americans who suffer from the “crisis of care” as they struggle to balance work and family in a country with few support systems, i.e., no paid leave, lack of affordable quality childcare. He thinks fathers are especially upset; more than 45% feel they don’t have enough time with their children, compared to less than a quarter of mothers. As the Baby Boomers age, the sandwich generation will be even more stretched thin and realize they have to change the system together. Professor William Darity Jr. looks to the new managerial class to make changes in the economic system, defined as intellectuals, artists and government workers. Author Peter Barnes suggests the best solution is a universal base income similar to Social Security payments to the elderly, funded by fees on pollution and financial speculation. He thinks the groups that unify in this movement are Millennials, the precariat, women, African Americans, the poor and retired people.



[i] Joelle Gamble, Paul Mason, Bryce Covert, William Darity Jr., and Peter Barnes, “What Will Kill Neoliberalism?” The Nation, May 4, 2017.



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