Neoliberalism and the Far Right – Old and New

2.30-4.30pm, 6th June

Goldsmiths, RHB 137a

Has neoliberalism given way to the far right? Or are neoliberalism and a far right ideology compatible, maybe even mutually reinforcing? Quinn Slobodian and Joshua Rahtz will give papers shedding light on these questions from an intellectual history perspective, with responses from Will Davies and Isabella Weber. All are welcome and no registration is necessary.


Quinn Slobodian: Hayek’s Bastards

Since 2016, commentators on left and right have declared neoliberalism dead. This talk calls the obituary into question.  By following the incorporation of IQ racialism, secessionism, and closed borders ideology into neoliberal thought since the late 1970s, we find that many thinkers of the current backlash are less Hayek’s apostates than his–often illegitimate–intellectual progeny.


Joshua Rahtz: Germany’s Extreme Centre in Retrospect

Since the Second World War, German neo-liberalism has consolidated itself as the common sense of politics in the Federal Republic. This talk will put the composition of this tradition in historical perspective. It will examine the inter-war origins of this neo-liberalism in debates about the extra-economic and directly social requirements for managing capitalism during periods of economic crisis. In developing a theory for the practical end of the regulation of capitalism, German neo-liberalism drew on a range of right-wing social thought – religious, philosophical, anthropological – to establish itself as the reference point for perspectives far beyond its original milieu.



Quinn Slobodian, Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College, author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism (Harvard, 2018) and of Foreign Front: Third World Politics in Sixties West Germany (Duke, 2012). Forthcoming is Nine Lives of Neoliberalism, co-edited with Dieter Plehwe and Phil Mirowski. His talk will be based on his current project on rogue neoliberals and the far right.

Joshua Rahtz, postdoctoral fellow at the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Freie Universitaet Berlin, is currently working on a book on ordo-liberalism.

Will Davies is a Reader in Political Economy at Goldsmiths, and author of The Limits of Neoliberalism, The Happiness Industry and Nervous States.

Isabella Weber is a Lecturer in Economics at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research is on the intellectual history of market reforms in China and on regimes of international trade.