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Unraveling the Neoliberal Dilemma

Unraveling the Neoliberal Dilemma


January 23, 2024


In the intricate web of modern governance, a paradoxical relationship exists between democracy and neoliberalism. Neoliberalism emerged in the 1980s and is distinguishable by its unwavering faith in the market and individualism. However, this belief system has created a complex interplay of crises, including climate, inequality, and poverty (Rotmans, 2023).

At its core, neoliberalism’s almost absolute trust in the market has reshaped societal structures, leading to a system that predominantly serves corporations and the wealthy. This has had profound implications for democracy, eroding its foundations as the system prioritizes market interests over the needs of the people. The resulting exclusion and distrust among voters in the system are pervasive issues discussed even at forums like the World Economic Forum in Davos.

This text aims to demystify neoliberalism, clarifying that it extends beyond a mere economic philosophy. It has permeated various facets of society, including healthcare, education, urban development, and housing. The consequences are tangible in the form of exclusionary practices contributing to a fractured democratic framework.

In essence, neoliberalism, rooted in the 1980s, champions the idea that the market is the ultimate problem-solver. However, the unintended consequences have been far-reaching, impacting democracy and fostering exclusion in crucial societal sectors. This text sheds light on neoliberalism’s intricacies and role in shaping our socio-political landscape (van Rossem & Pegtel, 2019; Monbiot, 2016; Goede, 2024).



Monbiot, G. (2016, April 15). Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems. Retrieved from

Rotmans, J. (2023). De P{erfecte Storm. De Geus.

van Rossem, M., & Pegtel, A. (2019). Ernst Hirsch Ballin: ‘Het neoliberalisme heeft ons in zijn greep’. Retrieved from


Miguel Goede

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