Skip to main content

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

by George Monbiot

PART 2

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938. Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control. Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists. The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change ... there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”. With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed: massive tax cuts for the rich, the crushing of trade unions, deregulation, privatisation, outsourcing and competition in public services. Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world. Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.

Source:


Read also:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How CIA altered the ending of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to project Communism as the sole tyrannic system

globinfo freexchange

This interesting short documentary by AJ+, explores the cultural war between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In an effort to project Communism as the evil against capitalist West and the "free world", CIA had to covertly interfere through various ways in art, music, literature, philosophy.

In one of these cases, the documentary reveals how CIA altered the ending of Orwell's 'Animal Farm' to project Communism as the sole tyrannic system. It is also interesting the fact that the case involved an animated film, indicating that CIA's cultural propaganda was targeting minor Americans in order to "train" them ideologically.

According to the story, George Orwell, who wrote such middle-school classics as 1984 and Animal Farm, described himself as a Democratic Socialist. And he was actually pretty anti-Stalinist and anti-Soviet-style socialism, something which was unusual among Leftist circles at the time.

Trump threatens to transfer the endo-capitalist war into a civil war level

globinfo freexchange
Donald Trump finally counter-attacked against corporate Democrats and their persistent desire to impeach him, through the ultimate threat: a civil war. In a recent tweet he wrote:
"... If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.
....If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office (which they will never be), it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal.” Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
Speaking to the Real News Network, Jeet Heer of The Nation pointed out:
The civil-war tweet is almost like a threat. It’s like, 'Well, this is a nice little Republic you got here, and it’d be a shame if anything happened to it.' But the thing is that this civil-war talk did not originate from T…

Gaddafi's plan for a pan-African independent power as the main reason for which the Western neocolonialists finally destroyed Libya

'Hillary Clinton is a war criminal'
globinfo freexchange
Afshin Rattansi of RT's Going Underground, speaks with Muammar Gaddafi's spokesperson during the Libyan Civil War, Moussa Ibrahim, about how Gaddafi's government's predictions came true on terrorism, extremism and tribal conflict plaguing Libya following Gaddafi's downfall.
Ibrahim gives details about Gaddafi's plan to create a fully independent African Union from the Western neocolonial powers. And he implies that this was the main reason for which the Western neocolonialists finally destroyed Libya. He claims that Gaddafi administration was very open to a dialogue with the West, but he had been deliberately ignored. He also characterizes Hillary Clinton as a 'war criminal'.
Some key points:
Gaddafi was laying down real plans and real project for the control of African natural resources through the African Organization for Natural Resources. Unifying African armies into one army called th…

Roger Waters: militarism is exacerbating the Climate Crisis

The Real News Network
Pink Floyd co-founder and activist Roger Waters speaks to the Real News at the People's Mobilization Against the U.S. War Machine in New York City.

Why NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden risked his life to expose surveillance state

Democracy Now!
Six years ago, Edward Snowden leaked a trove of secret documents about how the United States had built a massive surveillance apparatus to spy on Americans and people across the globe. 
Snowden was then charged in the U.S. for violating the Espionage Act and other laws. As he attempted to flee to Latin America, Snowden became stranded in Russia after the U.S. revoked his passport. He has lived in Moscow ever since. 
Snowden just published his memoir, “Permanent Record,” in which he writes about what led him to risk his life to expose the U.S. government’s system of mass surveillance. 

Greta Thunberg: “We are striking to disrupt the system”

Democracy Now!
Greta Thunberg, is the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has inspired millions across the globe. Last year she launched a school strike for the climate, skipping school every Friday to stand in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding action to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Her protest spread, quickly going global. Hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren around the globe have participated in their own local school strikes for the climate.
Since her strike began in 2018, Greta has become a leading figure in the climate justice movement. She has joined protests across Europe. She has addressed world leaders at the U.N. climate talks in Poland and the European Union Parliament. She has even met the pope. 
She is also planning to attend the U.N. climate summit in Santiago, Chile, in December.

Το βαθύτερο νόημα του να κάνεις κολοτούμπες σε σύνοδο του ΟΗΕ

globinfo freexchange
Επικυρώθηκε με κάθε επισημότητα η μεγάλη απάτη του Μητσοτακικού καθεστώτος και του βρόμικου μιντιακού κατεστημένου της ντόπιας ολιγαρχίας, το οποίο έκανε τα πάντα, προκειμένου να κερδίσει τις εθνικές εκλογές η χειρότερη δεξιά της μεταπολίτευσης. 
Μετά τις θεαματικές κολοτούμπες Παναγιωτόπουλου-Βαρβιτσιώτη σε συνέδριο του Economist όσον αφορά το Μακεδονικό, ήρθε η σειρά του ίδιου του Μητσοτάκη να τους μιμηθεί, όχι απλά σε κάποιο συνέδριο, αλλά σε σύνοδο του ΟΗΕ για το κλίμα. 
Η δήλωση Μητσοτάκη δεν αφήνει κανένα περιθώριο παρερμηνείας:
«Νωρίς το απόγευμα της 23ης Ιουλίου πέρυσι μία μικρή πυρκαγιά ξέσπασε σε λόφο έξω από την Αθήνα. Οι πυροσβεστικές υπηρεσίες αντιμετωπίζουν χιλιάδες τέτοιες φωτιές κάθε χρόνο. Αυτή όμως ήταν διαφορετική. Οδηγημένη από ισχυρότατους ανέμους, εξαπλώθηκε γρήγορα και έφθασε στην προαστιακή κωμόπολη του Ματιού. Μόλις μπήκε στην πευκόφυτη οικιστική περιοχή κατέστη αδύνατο να περιοριστεί… Τα ακραία καιρικά φαινόμενα είναι η άμεση συνέπεια τη…

Το Μητσοτακικό καθεστώς βάζει σε εφαρμογή το σχέδιο για τα σύγχρονα φέουδα

globinfo freexchange

Φαίνεται ότι αρχίζουν κιόλας να επαληθεύονται οι εκτιμήσεις σχετικά με τη δημιουργία Ειδικών Οικονομικών Ζωνών εντός της Ελληνικής επικράτειας. 
Όπως έχουμε αναφέρει σε πρόσφατο άρθρο, ο πρώτος μεγάλος στόχος του Μητσοτακικού καθεστώτος θα είναι η δημιουργία Ειδικών Οικονομικών Ζωνών εντός της Ελληνικής επικράτειας και το σχέδιο αναμένεται να ανακοινωθεί επίσημα γύρω στον Γενάρη-Φλεβάρη του 2020, εκτός απροόπτου. Οι νεοφιλελεύθεροι "τζιχαντιστές" της δεξιάς ετοιμάζονται να στρώσουν χαλί στους φεουδάρχες του 21ου αιώνα τους οποίους σήμερα αποκαλούμε "επενδυτές". 
Το σχέδιο θα εφαρμοστεί ανεμπόδιστα και σε πλήρη σύμπλευση με το νεοφιλελεύθερο ιερατείο του άξονα Βρυξελλών-Βερολίνου, καθώς οι φανατικοί τεχνοκράτες του Μητσοτάκη είναι απόλυτα αφοσιωμένοι στην επιτυχή ολοκλήρωσή του.

Όπως είναι φυσικό, οι περιοχές που προσφέρονται περισσότερο για την επιτυχή εφαρμογή του σχεδίου, είναι αυτές που παρουσιάζουν την υψηλότερη ανεργία. Με τη Μητσοτ…

'How dare you!': Greta Thunberg rages at 'fairytales of eternal economic growth' at UN climate summit

In a speech to the United Nations Climate Action Summit Monday, Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg lit into world leaders for their "empty words" around solving the climate crisis and said decades of inaction have left her generation without a future.

"People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosytems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth," said Thunberg. "How dare you!
Thunberg delivered her remarks during a panel on the climate crisis after she was asked what she thought of the worldwide climate strike movement that she began, alone, 13 months ago. But the youth activist wasn't interested in rehashing the past or praise from politicians.

"I shouldn't be standing here," said Thunberg. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my d…

Chris Hedges: "Democracy has been destroyed by global capitalism"

Democracy Now!
House Democrats have subpoenaed President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, seeking documents related to his work in Ukraine, after Giuliani admitted on television that he had urged the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. This comes as House Democrats continue to build their case for impeaching the president, following a whistleblower complaint focused on a phone call in which Trump asked the Ukranian president to do him a “favor” by digging up dirt on his political rival ahead of the upcoming election. 
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges says the president's latest behavior merely scratches the surface of the underlying corruption and malaise that plagues the country, and describes global capitalism as an impediment to democracy. Currently, he says, "we have the façade of democracy." The capitalist class has leveraged its influence to draft legislation, invert the constitution and orchestrate the &…