In praise of Gene Sperling, in The Financial Times. Old Socialist comments.

Never fear the Technocrats praised, in fact enshrined, by Walter Lippmann are now in control of the whole of politics, as practiced around the world.
For reference see the opening page of Karen Horn’s review of ‘The Walter Lippmann Colloquium: The Birth of Neoliberalism’ by Jurgen Reinhoudt and Serge Audier. And note its defensive tone:

This book fills a gap. Jurgen Reinhoudt and Serge Audier provide a fine translation of the transcript of the discussions that took place in the summer of 1938 at the famous“Colloque Walter Lippmann”(CWL) in Paris. The French original of this“essential document in the history of neoliberalism”(Reinhoudt and Audier 2018, p. 4), as the authors quite appropriately advertise, has been around for a long while. But access to this new and timely English language version, together with the authors’ excellent exhaustive introduction and rich, well-researched and fair background information,is likely to give scholarship on the origins of neoliberalism a fresh impulse, both in the history of economic thought and in political history.Such a boost is much needed and more than welcome at a time when the term“neoliberalism”is commonly being used as a derogatory word not only in much of the public debate, but also in the academic sphere. Neglecting almost everything about its historical roots and its proponents ’major concern with establishing a strong state standing above rent-seeking private interest groups, critics falsely associate neoliber-alism with mere policies of deregulation, privatization and the withdrawal of the state.Scholarly objectivity thus seems wont in much of the new SAGE Handbook on Neoliber-alism (2018), for example, where the editors Damien Cahill, Melinda Cooper, Martijn Konings and David Primrose explain that since neoliberalism’s“persistent contradictions and crises have, at least, re-opened an opportunity for diverse movements to work collectively to delegitimize neoliberalism”, they hope that their volume of almost700pages“will productively contribute to such struggles”(Cahill et al. 2018, p.xxxii).Unlike them, Reinhoudt (Hoover Institution, Stanford University) and Audier(University of Paris-Sorbonne) nowhere give the impression that they aim to wield anew weapon in their hands for a crusade against neoliberalism. One may perhaps guess their political leanings, but these never seem to bias their account. Their aim isto“furnish elements for research and discussion”(Reinhoudt and Audier 2018, p. 36),not to“settle which interpretation is the best”(Reinhoudt and Audier 2018, p.35).Everybody is invited to form their own opinions. And the authors very pertinently state that,“as historians, political theorists, and philosophers continue to debate the history of the term‘neo-liberalism’and the term’s meaning, it is useful to devote attention to the 1938 colloquium where the movement was formally born.”(Reinhoudt

Prof. Horn’s bio here:

For a revelatory collection of essays- to a more objective analysis of one of Neo-Liberalism’s collection of Messiahs, Hayek:

Now available here:

The above just a preamble to this news story in The Financial Times:

Headline: Joe Biden taps Gene Sperling to implement $1.9tn stimulus package

Sub-headline: Economic adviser to Clinton and Obama hired to manage efficient rollout of Covid-19 aid plan

The ecomiums of praise for Sterling are unsurprising.

“Gene will work with the heads of the White House policy councils and key leaders at federal agencies so we can get funds out the door quickly, maximise its impact and accelerate the work the administration is doing to crush Covid-19 and rescue our economy,” the Biden administration official said.

“There’s no one who knows how the federal government works better than Gene Sperling.”

Mr. Sperling’s qualifications are carefully presented:

Sperling, 62, is well known to Biden. He was a close adviser to Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary in the Obama administration, and then served as director of the National Economic Council at a time of tense negotiations with Republicans in Congress on budgetary issues, including the raising of the US debt limit. Sperling was also NEC director under Bill Clinton.

In between his two stints at the White House, Sperling worked as an advocate for universal education and a consultant for the West Wing television series.

Mr. Sperling was available for speaking through:

And here :

Erskine Bowles, Henry M. Paulson, share leadership at the Economic Strategy Group, while Mr. Sperling is a member. The failed Neo-Liberals are the leaders of the Biden Administration’s Economic resuscitation campaign. Perhaps Larry Summers was thought to be too divisine a figure, for the Biden reiteration of the New Deal, in its 2021 guise?

Old Socialist

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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