Janan Ganesh is probably my favorite news commentator.  In a recent column, he pushes back at the widespread belief that the global rise of the hard right is a reaction to neoliberalism:

Rightwing populism is ascendant in France, which might be the least economically liberal country in the rich world. Government spending there accounts for well over half of national output. The component that goes on social protection — cash benefits and so on — is likewise OECD-topping. On the other side of the Alps, the Italian state is not far behind on either overall or social spending. The hard right is not just successful there. It is the power in the land. Meanwhile, in Australia, where the government is smaller, the mainstream political parties are holding up. The centre-left governs.

Ganesh also discusses the view that the loss of manufacturing jobs is the problem.  He points out that the extreme right has recently gained a lot of ground in Germany, where manufacturing is a far higher share of GDP than in other western countries.  He then adds:

And if that is odd, consider next door Austria, which might be the most confounding case study in the west. It has one of the highest levels of public spending and a manufacturing sector almost as large as Germany’s and a rampant hard right.

Ganesh then raises some interesting questions regarding the politics of neoliberalism in the US:

What possessed the Democrats to think America wanted or needed a statist economic transformation? The slogan “Build Back Better” implies a widespread unhappiness with the pre-Covid world that didn’t exist. On the eve of the pandemic, economic confidence was at an high not seen since the millennium.

There is much more of interest.  Read the whole thing.

PS.  He doesn’t discuss the developing world, but the shift of politics to the right in India and China also fits his hypothesis.  It seems rather far-fetched to view the rise of Modi and Xi as a reaction to “neoliberalism” in India and China.