I found this essay over at Corrente:
Neoliberalism as a vehicle for social justice
“Neoliberalization required both politically and economically the construction of a neoliberal market-based populist culture of differentiated consumerism and individual libertarianism. As such it proved more than little compatible with that cultural impulse called ‘post-modernism’ which had long been lurking in the wings but could now emerge full-blown as both a cultural and an intellectual dominant. This was the challenge that corporations and class elites set out to finesse in the 1980s.” – David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Extrapolating, MBA/MPA programs, and humanities departments (which tend to feed people into these programs with such dismal job prospects otherwise) pushed the narratives of a “free market” being the most effective vehicle for social justice. Implicit in this idea, is, also to borrow from Harvey, the “financialization of everything” (including the acceptance of debt peonage via the financial-education complex). It would make sense that people under 50 – and I’ve previously been incorrect in limiting this phenomenon to people more immediate to my age cohort – operate according to the same paradigms (most prominently, that cultural affectations, or markers, define/govern one’s political orientation).
In the 1980s, I hope I’m not doing a disservice to Harvey, colleges became repositories of and testing grounds for competing consumer identities. And the opportunity costs of devoting intellectual energy to these identities include(d) subjecting the emergence of monetarism (which had, I believe, had begun to supplant Keynesianism a decade before) to the scrutiny/disdain it deserves, challenging/advancing post-Keynesian alternative explanations to the government-as-household myth, and refuting NAIRU and other mythologies with the ample empirical data available.
Now who can argue with that?