Wed Jan 16th, 2013 at 12:55:17 PM EST
Chris Dillow proposes that cognitive biases are partly responsible for the success of neoliberal ideology.
In this paper (pdf), Jon Wiseman makes an important point:
Once control of the state was in principle democratized by the ballot box, the fortunes of the elite came to depend solely upon controlling ideology.
This reminds me of Steven Lukes’ “third dimension” of power; rulers can exercise power not only by direct action or by keeping some things off the agenda, but by shaping ideology so that the oppressed come to regard their oppression as legitimate and unquestionable.
But how do the elite achieve this trick? Sometimes, the left verges towards conspiracy theory here, by believing that our rulers have the organizational skill to hoodwink people through the mass media.
This, though, needn’t be the case. There are numerous cognitive biases which dispose people towards “neoliberal ideology.”
We’ve covered this ground before, in slightly different contexts. The right-wing story is easy to sell in part because it exploits the dark side of human cognition.