South Africa and the Neoliberals

Presented by Quinn Slobodian

Monday, 5 October, 2020 - 16:00

From the 1960s to the present, South Africa offered a site for neoliberals to think through the conditions necessary to preserve the market order, especially under conditions of what they perceived as the problem of white minority and even white decline. White South African neoliberals took basically three approaches that also reflected widespread shifts in neoliberal thinking over the last half-century: from neoliberal constitutionalism to market populism to xenophobic entrenchment. These shifts were, in turn, reflected by different relationships to the prescribed political form—from the nation-state to the confederation to a secessionist mosaic of zones. For neoliberals, late apartheid South Africa offered a laboratory for a series of experiments in anchoring market order. Yet ultimately it also served as a limit case and object lesson in the difficulty of anchoring human social order in markets alone.

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