I took aim to neoliberalism in multiple occasions recently, to the point of almost forgetting all that was good and came from it in the last 4 decades.
Tesla, Boston Dynamics, whole branches of Robotics and A.I…. Neoliberalism takes money from the middle and lower class and concentrates it into fewer hands.
These hands have so much wealth, that they could start wasting it in a number of R&D projects that literally produced 0 results for years to decades… Tesla is still to produce financial results after well over a decade of activity, but the value of the knowledge humanity accrued thanks to the engineering work of Tesla, it’s invaluable.
Elon Musk similarly exploited neoliberalism in nearly every other company he is leading: Space X, the Boring Company and the related idea of Hyperloop… None of those really made any money yet, but if he was to make those work, humanity as a whole would be immensely better off.
Anthropomorphic Robots have been under development for well over a decade now, once again: 0 return on investment yet, but the whole humanity reap the benefits.
Research has been progressing at such a speed in the past few decades that we as a society struggle to cope with it. We are so baffled in fact, that our collective fear of the unknown that is coming, is beginning to manifest itself through all channels of our culture, from politics to pop culture.
Whoever is at least 30 today, can be thankful to neoliberalism for at least one immense reason: we squeezed 3 lives worth of novelty and innovation in less than a lifetime already. We saw some vintage black and white tv in an old grandma’s home when we were kids, played with ridiculously low fi video games, saw cds rise and decline, remember the thrill of entering a chat room for the first time with our real name because it wasn’t taken yet, bought our 6th mobile, the 1st without a physical keyboard and something called a “touch screen”… Remained incredulous in front of a self driving car, and are thrilled at the prospect of seeing men landing on Mars.
By comparison, life in the 18th century sounds like a monotone, constant, infinite boredom in which the certainty of death feels like a final relief!
It’s bittersweet that we have to let it go, it’s bringing cross border social equality levels up too… Meaning that the difference in wealth between the average North American and the average African, today is slightly less outrageous than it was 40 years ago.
Unfortunately humanity is not fine tuned for this type of reasoning, it is instead well equipped to build group thinking and biologically inclined to xenofobia, so the progresses made by the Chinese population in response to our perceived decrease of purchase power, doesn’t really matter as much as one would think when it comes to deciding whether or not to vote for the continuation of the current economic model, or its end.
On the other hand, it would also feel unjust to put this on people’s shoulders, when the richest 1‰ of the population is literally eating away their wealth and pushing them to lower classes. There’s no solution that will bring us the best of both worlds, one way or another the end of neoliberalism is nearing, and it will probably mean that innovation will slow down… maybe we collectively need that, to take some breath and start making sense again of the world we revolutionised in the last few decades.