For the last few decades, the idea of government as protectors of their citizens has been shifted to protecting those who don't care about those citizens.
Neoliberalism is the structuring of societies around relying upon the so-called free-market mechanisms to solve humanity's problems. It posits that serving the interests of business will improve the economic wellbeing of everyone. It relegates governments to making sure that market economies are not hindered by regulation nor spending upon welfare, the latter supposedly contributing to people relying upon those handouts, thereby leading to increased taxes which drain businesses of resources that they could be using to compete.
This politico-economic philosophy came out of the laissez faire policies of the early 20th century, though trying to avoid the economic upheaval of the great depression, while opposing the more socially-responsible doctrine of Keynesian economics implemented after World War II. It took hold with the Thatcher and Reagan governments in the 1980s, eventually resulting in being the default economic philosophy of international bodies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. It relies upon austerity measures during economic downturns rather than the increased infrastructure spending that Keynesian systems used.
The general outcomes of following the neoliberal doctrines have been:
The core problem is that under neoliberalist economics, business has no obligation to do anything but increase their profits, regardless of the damage to society, people or the planet. It is this priority that makes neoliberalism work well for psychopaths, or more accurately, dark triad personalities, who have little empathy, focus on their own desires and engage in widespread manipulation to increase their wealth and power. Corporations act as force-multipliers for these individuals that run them.
Under neoliberalism, the promotion of individualism is a key policy, as it puts less wealthy individuals in competition with each other, while providing a seemingly valid reason for the few privileged to aggressively increase their wealth at the expense of everyone else. Their success seemingly makes greed good, narcissism healthy, disregard for others a virtue, and the ability to manipulate people an essential skill. These wealthy and successful people are seen as heroes and our saviours.
However, they rely upon themselves being at the centre of authoritarian business structures that neoliberalism makes out is the most efficient way to run organisations and, by extension, government, leading to them now backing authoritarian governments and candidates in democratic countries that will support changing their governments to be more autocratic. This is industrial-level subversion of democracy to undermine citizens' ability to have any say in how they are ruled.
Effectively, this is trying to reinstitute feudalism where ordinary people are supposedly free, but are so beholden to those in charge that that their freedom doesn't effectively exist. People don't have the social mobility that money promises because that money is not allowed to flow freely, just because the wealthy have control over politicians so that governments enact policies that restrict peoples' ability to take control over their own money flows and thus how much they can actually change their life situations, all while being told that they are solely responsible for doing that.
Up until now, neoliberalism has been a fairly quiet philosophy, having been generally implemented without it being specifically named as the driver of the changes. Fortunately, it is being given a lot more publicity, and especially as to how it is actually contributing to a lot of the economic and political problems all societies and the earth now face. Because it has had such an all-encompassing negative effect upon our societies, the more people that come to understand how it leads to those effects, the more they will reject it across all its reach.
Hopefully, this will lead to a more all-encompassing view of how societies need to run to reverse neoliberalism's bad effects and change to be more truly supportive of people's individual goals while protecting them from the psychopathic predators that currently run our corporations and their lackeys in political parties. We will have a much better idea of what politico-economic systems serve us best without their malign influence and control sabotaging our efforts.
Don't trust people who value money more than your life!