The Cash of Civilizations
A philosopher sizes up the brave new excesses of the market age
IT WASN’T SO LONG AGO that commentators on all sides were proclaiming the death of neoliberalism. How could the free-market credo survive the pounding it took in the wake of the 2008 financial crash?
Tolerably well, it seems. Even though the calamities wrought during the financial meltdown will likely endure for decades to come, the crisis delivered only a glancing blow to the principle of the global sovereignty of markets. Indeed, by some estimates, the rapid conversion of public goods into commodities has barely missed a beat, as market values march on into every corner of our waking lives. So the philosopher Michael J. Sandel is in fairly uncontroversial territory when he argues that the neoliberal mentality has gone too far, and that we should unite around the need “to keep markets in their place.” A
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