Conservative Critiques of Capitalism

Feb 24, 2024, 9:00 am5:00 pm
Laura Wooten Hall, Room 301 (Kerstetter Room)
Free and Open to the Public


Event Description

ABSTRACT:  This conference proposes to examine conservative critiques of capitalism, with a particular focus on the United States. What does it mean to critique capitalism from a conservative perspective? What exactly are the alternatives that such critiques presuppose? Our current moment seems to mark a shift in conservative attitudes towards capitalism. A conventional historiography holds that a market-friendly “fusionist” consensus dominated right-wing politics since the Reagan era. After the 2008 financial crisis, however, this consensus exploded, and figures from Integralists to the Alternative Right have critiqued what’s variously called neoliberalism, globalism, and the like. This conventional historiography can be probed from multiple angles. For example, neither the neoliberals nor fusionists were especially market fundamentalist. Has there been an epochal shift? Further, there’s a long tradition of conservative critiques of capitalism in the United States. From George Fitzhugh to the Southern Agrarians, conservatives have both critiqued capitalism and attempted to theorize alternatives. How can examining these past episodes shed light on today’s critiques? Finally, there’s also the question of the global context: American conservatives are frequently in dialogue with figures in other countries. Examples include the fusionists and Wilhelm Röpke, or the symbiosis between contemporary Integralists and Orban’s regime. How do other national and global contexts shape and inform conservative critiques of capitalism in the United States?