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A Contest of IdeasCapital, Politics, and Labor$
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Nelson Lichtenstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037856

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037856.001.0001

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Market Triumphalism and the Wishful Liberals

Market Triumphalism and the Wishful Liberals

(p.167) Chapter 12 Market Triumphalism and the Wishful Liberals
A Contest of Ideas

Nelson Lichtenstein

University of Illinois Press

This chapter focuses on the triumphalism of the free market that emerged in the decade that followed the end of the Cold War. The idea that capitalist markets are essential to, or even define, the democratic idea has always been present in the West, but the idea achieved a near hegemonic power after the fall of the Berlin Wall. New Dealers and old-fashioned populists once held that laissez-faire capitalism presented the gravest danger to freedom, democracy, equality, and the material well-being of most citizens. But Americans were now told to believe that democracy and the free market are identical. And in a maddening piece of ideological larceny, market triumphalists invoked that ultimate sanction—once the principal asset of the left—the stamp of historic inevitability.

Keywords:   capitalism, democracy, capitalist markets, free market

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