Should-Read: Ruy Teixeira: The Optimistic Leftist

Should-Read: The centrist neoliberal project–use market means to achieve both social democratic ends and the rapid expansion of wealth–has crashed and burned. Now comes Ruy Texeira to lead the left that was kept off the plane and the center that has survived out of the mountains to a practical utopia…

Ruy Texeira tells leftists and centrists, cosmopolitans and communitarians, organizers and activists which is the way to a pragmatic utopianism based on the energy and accomplishments of humanity…

Ruy Teixeira: The Optimistic Leftist: “A new utopian vision for the left’s emerging coalition will… include…

…First… a commitment to abundance…. Material abundance is a very good thing…. It is only those that already have it that are inclined to downplay its importance…. Closely linked to this aspect of the left’s utopian vision will be a re-embrace of technology…. Technological progress will also have a central role in another aspect of the left’s vision—a green world where the environment is safeguarded and global warming is held in check…. A better world is also a global, interconnected world…. This means explicitly rejecting the idea that there is an intrinsically disadvantageous tradeoff between the welfare of the West and the welfare of the rest of the world….

The left will aim for a world where racial and gender equality are worldwide realities, where sexual orientation is a non-prejudicial, individual a air and where tolerance of others from different cultural, religious or national backgrounds is the rule…. Universal and deepened democracy…. Universal suffrage, with freedoms of the press, association, speech, etc., should be and can be the core governmental form in every country. In addition, the advance of information technology should be leveraged to provide citizens with far greater access to the workings of government and ease the costs of political participation across the world… an educated world… not just universal literacy but universal tertiary (college) education….

This vision does not include an embrace of “socialism”—much less a planned economy—and implicitly assumes that capitalism will continue in some form with a large role for the market. The key question is not “whether capitalism?” but rather “what form?”… Such a society will not be perfect. But perfection is not the point. The goal is to make society as close as it reasonably can be to the left’s new utopian vision, while making no heroic assumptions… pragmatic utopianism… a continuous process, a never-ending quest to improve society…. It is the signature of the optimistic leftist and of a twenty-first century that will be far, far better than you think. We live in extraordinary times; the left can and will make them extraordinarily good for humanity.

February 18, 2017


Brad DeLong
Connect with us!

Explore the Equitable Growth network of experts around the country and get answers to today's most pressing questions!

Get in Touch