The Rise of Neo-Illiberalism
Keywords:Authoritarianism, Capitalism, Liberal democracy, Neoliberalism, Surveillance
This paper expands on the notion neo-illiberalism, signifying a symbiosis between neoliberal capitalism and variegated illiberal nationalisms, offering deeper reflections on its geopolitics, key drivers, and conceptual puzzles. It is argued that the West has entered an age of political illiberalization, replicating political operating logics of variegated illiberal(izing) regimes elsewhere, corroding domestic institutions and the western-dominated international liberal order, constituting an historic geopolitical shift. Although centrist parties have been variably attracted to the far right, particularly seeing center-right parties reinvent themselves as nationalist challengers to the ‘globalist’ status quo, in power they mostly radicalize the neoliberal encasement of capital, transforming a range of liberal-democratic institutions, procedures, and rights into illiberal political fortifications. Neoliberalism’s illiberal mutation is being realized amidst the intersections of rampant financial offshoring and digitization defining contemporary capitalism, allowing billionaire-class factions to ‘hack’ liberal-democratic governments and operating systems. With the rollout of data-driven technologies increasingly requiring the rollback of liberal protections by design, the fusion of digitizing capitalism and illiberal nationalisms is increasingly escaping accepted notions of liberalism.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Reijer Hendrikse
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