Teen Vogue lies to readers to create false bogeyman

March 16, 2023

By Tim Worstall

Teen Vogue told its readers in a new piece that neoliberalism is the very thing that’s making us all so miserable. It does have a problem in that it can’t quite define what neoliberalism is, so it becomes something mushy like capitalism and markets and competition and, well, anything that might make people a little unhappy from time to time.

They’re also not so good at logic:

Neoliberalism is an economic philosophy and a political system devoted to enforcing economic competition, protecting the power of businesses…

It’s entirely possible that there are things wrong with neoliberalism, even with the modern world. But economic competition and protecting the power of business are the opposites of each other. It is competition which reduces the power of any specific business. With no competition they would be a monopoly and we all know that monopolies are bad, M’Kay? That Exxon cannot charge us anything they like for gas is because Shell, BP, Chevron and the rest are in competition. Competition being the very thing which reduces Exxon’s power.

But there’s something much worse here, which is that they contrast neoliberalism with democracy. We all know – because we’re told it all the time – that democracy is good. And it is, often enough. But an economy run by democracy is one where which type of pizza gets made is decided by a public vote. Or, more accurately, by the politicians who have won the public vote.

Here is Bernie Sanders on exactly that point:

You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country.

Leave aside the basic silliness of the comment itself – different types of deodorant or sneakers don’t make children hungry. It’s possible to think that too many sneakers – 50 pairs each – or too much deodorant might. The resources used to make that vast mountain might have been better used to grow food. But different types of them, nonsense.

Instead note what a politically, instead of market, determined economy would be like. An elderly man from Vermont would be deciding what sort of sneakers, what sort of deodorant, we could have. We would en up having the choices he thinks we should have not what we might actually like to have.

And that’s the anger. Complaining that the current world isn’t perfect is just fine, we do it ourselves often enough. But then switching to we must have that planned revolution to make it better is both highly dangerous and also false logic.

This has already been done, it’s the story of the 20th century. The Soviet Union, the socialist countries, they were not market economies, did not have competition. They also didn’t work as economies and struggled to feed the children even without any sneakers or deodorants on the shelves. We, humanity, have tried this experiment and it doesn’t work.

You know, that great essence of science. Here’s a theory, now check the facts. When the two conflict it’s always reality that wins. Non-market economies simply do not work.

Oh, by the way, guess where Bernie went on his honeymoon? Yep, the place with hungry kids and no deodorants.


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