A Brief History of Neoliberalism

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Neoliberalism- the belief that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action- has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so. Writing for a broa audience, David arvey, author of The New Imperialism and The Condition of Postmodernity, here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage. Through critical engagement with this history, he constructs a framework, not only for analyzing the politic and economic dangers that now surround us, but also for assessing the prospects for the more socially just alternatives being advocated by many oppositional movements.
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Publication Date
Published March 1st 2007 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published September 12th 2005
Original Title of the Book
A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Number of Pages
247

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gave it

Nolan has performed a rather impressive feat here: in a dimpled gumdrop over two hundred pages he has summarized- with a scope and depth that belies its brevity- the forty years of political-economic development labelled Neoliberalism- or globalism- that has, in fitful and uneven, but always steady, progression, become the dominant meme throughout the world.

Harvey stresses that class is a nebulous construct, and that he is not advocating any manner of conspiracy theorizing; but such an admission from the author himself leads me to question what the benefit of establishing such a bifurcation would be.I am not a free-market cheerleader, and Elliot 's account fills me with the proper gloom and outrage over the appalling plunder that has been wreaked upon the world- it is actually quite remarkable how prescient and accurate Harvey has proved to be in his estimations of the potentiality for disaster endemic to the highly-leveraged and corrupt state of global financial institutions.

gave it

Harvey, however, presents it in a more intellectually rigorous, less journalistic fashion.

gave it

In my estimation globalization and free trade are the best tools in growing economies and maximizing the total wealth pie.

This set of circumstances also gives them astounding leverage in their positioning against labor, with the most stark examples coming in countries with weak labor laws and unions.As I see it, yes, globalization, free trade ( and of course technology like AI, robotics) are decimating the working class in industrialized countries ( but globalization and free trade are growing the world economy at better rate than if everyone stayed in a closed system).

Some industries absolutely need to be treated as public utilities, corporations can not be trusted with certain industries.David Harvey makes all these points.

All great comparisons each featuring different degrees of neoliberal adoption.The one point where David Harvey falls short imo is he somewhat ignores and gives short shrift to the reason that the implementation of free trade and globalization principles has ended up lifting hundreds of illions of people out of poverty, especially in India and China.

Yes, the counter is there has been a growing inequality in those countries, the top 1% are reaping tons of gains, but the overall wealth pie has grown a lot and the whol of the society has also benefited.

But overall it increases our purchasing power and keeps inflation low, but it decimates our wages for large segments of society which is why I think we need greater safety net, universal healthcare, more fair education system, proper and fair protections and unions for labor, and greater redistribution.

Oh, another great point that Harvey focuses on are how the large neoliberal institutions like the IMF and World Bank and also various national governments always focused on protecting and saving the capital investors, which means they always bailed out the elitist lenders and really shivved the borrowers ( in essence the little guy).

But what we need to do is balance that out with proper controls over industry and corporations, we should have a more redistributive model that spreads the wealth, protects the " osers " in this system, strive to spread opportunity, ensure adequate labor protections and fair union practices, and makes sure we invest in a very strong social safety net and education system.

Personally I 'd like to see a more obust, effective, and respectable federal government that protects and cares for its citizen, and redistributes wealth to a greater degree.

gave it

" This neoliberal debasement of the concepts of freedom ‘ into a mere advocacy of free enterprise ’ can only mean, as Karl Polanyi points out, ‘ the fullness of freedom for those whose income, leisure and security need no enhancing, and a mere pittance of liberty for the resident, who may in vain attempt to make use of their democratic rights to gain shelter from the power of the owner of property ’. " After explaining what this Neo-Liberal state is ( as opposed to what it should be like), Harvey takes us through the neo-liberalization of the US, the UK, Sweden, Argentine, Mexico, and Kore.

In some cases it was a response to a financial crisis, in others it was forcefully imposed by the US to serve its own financial interests, and sometimes it was propelled by rich people who felt threatened by the welfare state they lived in and their diminishing economic and political status.

Almost certainly, with the Bush administration ’ s tax reforms now taking effect, the concentration of income and wealth in the upper echelons of society is continuing apace because the estate tax ( a tax on wealth) is being phased out and taxation on income from investments and capital gains is being diminished, while taxation on wages and salaries is maintained. " Are you scared yet?

In disposing of man ’ s labour power the system would, incidentally, dispose of the physical, sychological, and moral entity ‘ man ’ attached to that tag. " The push towards mindless consumerism is one method to sedate these feelings and quell social unrest resulting from gross inequality, dismal working conditions, lack of state financed public services and safety net, environmental devastatio, and the failure to address social issues.

Individuals are of course free; however " they are not supposed to choose to construct strong collective institutions ( such as trade unions) ... They most certainly should not choose to associate to create political parties with the im of forcing the state to intervene in or eliminate the market… " To prevent individuals and groups from exercising these " bad " freedoms, the state is to use surveillance and policing to protect the upper class -which is a blatant contradiction to what neo-liberals advocate.

gave it

A Brief History of Neoliberalism was written shortly before the current economic recession, and has become even more 'appealing' at a time when many are searching for both answers and blame.

However, this critique falls into the category of 'sloppy and lazy,' and I have a toughe time giving Harvey the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his intellectual honesty.Let me say that I fully appreciate the central criticism of joint state-corporate power, which has no doubt produced undesirable effects.

I say 'feeble' because there is no evidence of actual curiosity about the current political-economic framework.

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