It’s hard to avoid conversations about ‘neoliberalism’ these days. The meaning of the term—indeed its very existence—is hotly contested. Adam Kotsko argues in Neoliberalism’s Demons: On the Political Theology of Late Capital (Stanford University Press, 2018) that self-denial is part of the mystifying agenda of neoliberalism itself. Not only is neoliberalism real, it’s the defining ethos of modernity.
Neoliberalism’s Demons posits we can best understand neoliberalism through the lens of political theology. Kotsko challenges the dichotomy of economics and politics, suggesting that neoliberalism permeates and unites these two. It does so by importing the moral schema of Christianity which creates the conditions for failure for the express purpose of assigning blame to those who fail. Neoliberalism’s Demons is a concise and persuasive account of the political, economic, and moral universe we inhabit, and is therefore essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand their own condition.
Jonathan Megerian is a doctoral candidate in history at Johns Hopkins University. He works on late medieval and Renaissance England. His dissertation explores the role of historiography in the formation of imperial ideologies in Renaissance England.