More than a decade after the 2008 financial crisis, proclamations of the death of neoliberalism have become cliché, despite—or perhaps because of—the fact that neoliberalism remains the dominant mode of political economy in the West. Neoliberalism, to offer a simple definition, seeks to maximize the free movement of capital, goods, and labor, and prefers the insulation of economic institutions from political influence or direction. Although there has been a modest reversal of globalization and a revived focus on securing supply chains in recent years, the neoliberal paradigms of the 1990s and 2000s still shape our world. Neoliberalism is not dead, merely disliked. And even if few on the Left or Right embrace the neoliberal label or its policy legacy today, there is no agreed-upon replacement.

Two new books seek to make sense of this confusing situation. The first, J. Bradford DeLong’s Slouching Towards Utopia, is a progressive neoliberal’s attempt to grapple with the economic policy failures of recent decades without abandoning the underlying neoliberal framework. The second, The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order by Gary Gerstle, a left-wing critic of neoliberalism, emphasizes the historical contingencies that drove both the rise and fall of the New Deal political economy and the trajectory of its neoliberal successor. Gerstle’s book, in

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