Oprah…the neoliberal capitalist (?)

Nicole Aschoff, in The Guardian, writes a long treatise entitled, “Oprah Winfrey: one of the world’s best neoliberal capitalist thinkers.”

Photograph: Todd Williamson/WireImage
Photograph: Todd Williamson/WireImage

I will hesitate to call it momentous or anything of the sort. It is interesting but I wonder if it’s less about the rote female, Leftist adulation of Oprah Winfrey than a summary of socioeconimic cultural evolution over the past 40 years. And Oprah was just along for the ride and through no real striking character or differentiation, she struck the jackpot, courtesy of a mass media-driven catharsis-jones that needed a sacrificial iconic lamb.

The jury is out on this article and I will need to re-read it. Aschoff sums up the changing face of industry well, however.

Oprah’s popularity stems in part from her message of empathy, support, and love in an increasingly stressful, alienating society. Three decades of companies restructuring their operations by eliminating jobs (through attrition, technology, and outsourcing) and dismantling both organized labor and the welfare state have left workers in an extremely precarious situation.
Today, new working-class jobs are primarily low-wage service jobs, and the perks that once went along with middle-of-the-road white-collar jobs have disappeared. Flexible, project-oriented, contingent work has become the norm, enabling companies to ratchet up their requirements for all workers except those at the very top. Meanwhile, the costs of education, housing, childcare, and health care have skyrocketed, making it yet more difficult for individuals and households to get by, never mind prosper.