Time Editor's Ultra-Left Cover Story: Hooray! Overton Window Closing on Capitalism!

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Time magazine's latest cover story, for the Dec. 2-9 issue, by editor-at-large Anand Giridharadas, is a 3,000-word-plus excoriation of plutocrats and "manic hypercaptialism," and a celebration of Bernie Sanders and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez's radical ideas to end it: “How America’s Elites Lost Their Grip.

Giridharadas led with an anecdote about the late Joseph Overton of the free-market Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan. Familiar with the concept of the Overton Window? This was the man himself:

Were Overton still alive, he would be pushing 60 -- and might be aghast to learn that his “window,” having become famous after his death, is now invoked to describe America’s great, unlikely backlash against the system he defended so ardently: capitalism.

Giridharadas celebrated the surges of socialist Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and the increase in membership of the Democratic Socialists of America:

America loves a capitalist reckoning the way the NFL loves Colin Kaepernick. But it is having one anyway. And if this year that reckoning seemed to reach new intensity, it was because the economic precariousness, stalled mobility and gaping social divides that have for years fueled the backlash now had an improbable sidekick: plutocracy itself and the win-win ideology that has governed the past few decades....

He really disliked the plutocracy, or, as he not so cutely calls them, “the plutes” (click “expand”):

History is the story of conditions that long seem reasonable until they begin to seem ridiculous. So it is with America’s present manic hyper-capitalism.


For years, there have been voices trying to denormalize this state. There were protests in Seattle in 1999, there was Occupy in 2011, there was the DSA, there was the World Social Forum to rival the World Economic Forum....Hyper-capitalism was the intellectual stadium in which the country played. There was a left side of the field, more wary of capitalism’s extremes, and a right side of the field, prone to capitalist boosting. But the stadium, as Overton understood, demarcated the boundaries of the debate for most people: Capitalism, more or less as we practice it, is our system, and it is the best system, so how do we tweak it to make it better?

Then something happened:

The Overton window was moving. Then came the 2018 midterms and a new wave of Democratic -candidates -- most prominently, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York -- questioning capitalism–as–capitalism in a way that seemed unfamiliar and fresh....

He found three “exhibits” to prove his point, the first of which (pressuring Amazon out of building a new HQ in New York City) did nothing but cost the city jobs out of animus: “....Amazon, run by one of the world’s richest people, Jeff Bezos, announced it was pulling out of its planned Hydra-like “second headquarters” in New York City.

There was then more pouting over “plutes”:

As the chances have increased that a candidate outside the neoliberal consensus will win the nomination, we have begun to see the Great Plute Freakout of 2019. A wave of plutes have weighed in about the dangers of a Sanders or Warren presidency....

He also found a “capitalist” crisis under the oddest circumstances.

America’s crisis of capitalism has cousins abroad. In Chile, an increase in subway fares triggered massive antigovernment, pro-reform protests in recent months, killing at least 20 and injuring more than 1,000. A slogan of the protests has been “Neoliberalism was born in Chile and will die in Chile.”....

The mercy of all this elite failure and backlash is this: the ongoing collapse of any pretense of selflessness among the winners of our new Gilded Age.

There was no mention in the 3,000-word-plus piece of how socialism is currently starving Venezuela.

In Giridharadas' stark left-wing worldview, a society can have capitalism, or democracy, but not both:

The choice facing Americans is whether we want to be a society organized around money’s thirsts, a playground for the whims of billionaires, or whether we wish to be a democracy....An attack on climate change almost as dramatic as climate change itself. Programs to give workers greater security. It would be an age in which it was cooler, more thrilling, more admired, more viable to change the world democratically.

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