Book notes: The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born

Nancy Fraser’s The Old Is Dying and the New Cannot Be Born is a short book, comprised of one long essay and an interview of Fraser by Bhaskar Sunkara (founder of the socialist magazine Jacobin).

Fraser gives an analysis of the current moment, which she sees as a crisis of legitimacy of “progressive neoliberalism”, which she defines as the marriage of socially progressive ideas with neoliberal economic policy. But, despite this crisis, there isn’t yet a credible alternative program or ideology to replace it.

Fraser ties this analysis to the rise of populism on both sides of the political spectrum, and provides an explanation of the Trump and Sanders movements from that point of view. She describes both Trump and Sanders as “anachronistic figures”, which represent a certain pre-neoliberalism old-school ethos; in her view, these figures are symptomps of the crisis, and not yet part of the new alternatives that we need to replace neoliberalism.

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