Centre for Change Governance

How the young in the US can save the American Dream

Thu 19 October 2017Professor Henrik Bang / 11:00am - 12:00pmThe Dryzek Room (22B13), Building 23, University of Canberra

Morning tea at 10:30am

Open Invitation to lunch

About the Talk:

It is common place to discuss populism as an interim obstacle to liberal democracy’s development. It was the same kind of denial of self-created problems that enabled Fascism and Nazism to take hold in the 1930s. Nativist populism is a natural response to globalist neoliberalism’s ‘cosmopolitan’ and technocratic threat to American exceptionalism and equality. The American dream is about combining achievement and equality, and when the two get out of sync controversies are bound to happen. Populism is a response to neoliberalism’s silent takeover of liberal democracy and demolishing of the American dream’s popular aspect. It’s an enigma that mainstream political science did not see neoliberalism coming and therefore did not see populism coming either. Neoliberalism has turned parties into a vehicle for managers and other professionals to conduct their permanent reform efforts for boosting competition and growth. And neoliberalism has nudged individuals to seek self-realization, be successful and become more self-appreciative. Populism is also a reply to the accelerating inequalities that have resulted from these changes. It considers ‘the system’ rigged and wicked, because it has robbed the American people’ of its sovereignty. Democratic participation and deliberation in the political system have shrunk to an issue of what networking professionals say and do. However, populism cannot remedy this situation by simply opposing itself to the globalist neoliberalist system. The problems that face humanity can never be solved by de-professionalizing parties and de-individualizing participants. Only the young can get democracy out of its deadlock. They have been exposed to nudging neoliberal professionals from the day they were born. They all feel the threat of failure and exclusion that this nudging imposes on them. As a consequence they are beginning to connect online and offline to create new public spaces for easing their anxieties and encouraging each other to ‘think globally and act locally.’ My hope is that they can make the American dream great again.


This event is free to attend. You are welcome to forward this invitation to any interested guests.

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