How Decades of Neoliberalism Led to the Era of Right-Wing Populism

In the heated year of 1968, the Chicago economist and Nobel Prize winner George J. Stigler jotted down some thoughts on how to introduce the “price system” into the process of democracy. Stigler had been one of Milton Friedman’s closest friends and part of his neoliberal “thought collective” since its inception. Both men participated in the first meeting of the Mont Pèlerin society in 1947, one of the founding events of the neoliberal movement.

In the following decades, the two Chicago economists made vital contributions to what, according to Wendy Brown, became the overriding objective of the worldwide neoliberal agenda: “the economization of all features of life,” a project that sought to substitute the price system for more political forms of collective decision-making.