The turning point might be sought about thirty or thirty-five years ago, that is to say, somewhere in the mid to late 1970s, when an Anglo-American blend of neoconservative politics and neoliberal economics gained ascendancy and unbridled capitalist globalization took off. Whatever historical basis there may be for this periodization [...] it has the polemical advantage of treating the current crisis as a moment of truth for a whole passage of world history, up until now dominated by the triumph of the market model, the emergence of the US as the sole superpower, and the emergence of China as the biggest new engine of wealth creation and accumulation. [...]
There is one problem with this attractive story: the moment of truth never happened. Th ere has been no transformative revelation, no collective coming-to-our-senses, no realignment with reality, no Vergangenheitsbewältigung for the boomer generation. Th e passage from unhinged cries of panic to the restoration of confidence has been rather smooth, even while trillions of dollars of paper wealth were disappearing. The crisis of knowledge—as messy, confusing, and embarrassing as it was—did not turn into a crisis of faith. Capitalism could be declared saved from the brink of disaster precisely because its partisans and guardians cried out for a rescue without ever admitting any mortal danger.