I obviously missed this piece by Paul Krugman which appeared when my move was at maximum chaos, but fortunately it’s reproduced at Brad DeLong’s Webjournal. Like me, Krugman notes that acceptance of growing inequality of outcomes in a society with a meritocratic ethos is an unstable equilibrium. Inevitably it leads to acceptance of inherited inequality, a process that is already evident after only a couple of decades of neoliberal dominance.
On the optimistic side, I don’t believe the egalitarian ethos will be easy to erode, at least in Australia. Even in relatively good economic times, neoliberalism remains unpopular, largely because its benefits and costs are so unfairly distributed. As the Jeff Madrick piece I cited shows, this unfairness becomes even more glaring in a downturn.