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What is neoliberalism?

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, April 7th, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: capitalism, Economy - Tags: , ,

“Neoliberalism is a self-serving racket that exempts billionaires and large corporations from the constraints of democracy, from paying their taxes, from not polluting, from having to pay fair wages, from not exploiting their workers” – George Monbiot

 

Via VersoBooks

45 comments on “What is neoliberalism?”

  1. bwaghorn 1

    ”began as a sincere philosophy ” the same could be said for communism surely , the reason both failed is because human nature says the greedy will ruin it, control the pigs at the trough and either system would work.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      began as a sincere philosophy

      To be honest, I’m not sure if it did. It seems to have always been a measure of enriching and empowering the already rich over everyone else. A way to remove democracy and the power of the people.

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        In order to sell the idea surely most sincerely brought into it. i.e huge ongoing growth from cheap high density middle east oil after the oil crisis. The problem of neo-lib is its abdication of power to the market which undermines the function of society, community, and economy. Inefficient use of our environment, citizens, communities, examples abound. Neo-liberalism is cannibalistic in its lazy disregard. A fat senile old man sitting in front of a dead tv eating their own leg – defn neolibs.

  2. Neo liberalism = legalized theft of the commons wealth and a mandate to ingratiate itself into a democracy through deceit.

    It would be advisable to have an official definition and guidelines drawn up and once formalized , measures taken to criminalize certain aspects of it in order to protect all democracy’s.

    • Richard Christie 2.1

      Neo liberalism = legalised theft of the Common’s wealth

      My defn too (but with apostrophe and without the US spelling).

    • Richard McGrath 2.2

      Katipo, do you believe private wealth should be tolerated? And if so, at what point should others (such as the government) have a rightful claim to it?

    • gsays 2.3

      Well said wk.
      For me neoliberalism, is having two private companies on your power bill and being told that power will be cheaper.

  3. Keith 3

    And lets not forget it’s fraudulent offspring, “Free Trade”, that in reality is anything but.

    Designed by corporations to eliminate tariffs and taxes so they can set up production in any cheap labour country they like without basic safety standards and abysmal worker conditions to sell back to the dwindling buyers of their home countries who lost good jobs for “Free Trade” deals, all to maximise profits for shareholders and enrich the few at the expense of the many.

    • saveNZ 3.1

      +1 Keith

      Under the banner about how much it helps those poor workers in China, India or Vietnam, who are chained into factories while their countries are exploited by government and private multi national partnerships and they soon are unable to have the basics, clean air, water, housing, safe food.. and told how much better off they are under the new system…

      Meanwhile in the west, surprise surprise the same thing is happening, reduction of clean air, water, housing, safe food, but they have to reduce democratic measures, create a new type of fear about security and so forth to keep anyone from questioning the system.

      • Siobhan 3.1.1

        and its side kick…Recognised Seasonal Employer, Labours cherished method of ‘delivering foreign aid’, apparently, while miraculously lifting local wages. A model for other industries .

        Brilliant.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/hawkes-bay-today/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503459&objectid=11720136

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          The RSE scheme has also become a very effective tool to gain greater leverage with helping improving employment conditions.

          Obviously hasn’t been reading the news about how these imported workers are used and abused.

      • Spud 3.1.2

        So what are we doing about it.

        How can we get government to stop making trade deals where we are giving up our sovereignty to run our own country.

        Is anyone going to tell us what really happened with the Saudi sheep deal?

  4. The oft quoted ‘supply and demand curve’ by neo liberals has only been able to gain preeminence by introducing a whole raft of formerly illegal measures and dismantling protective mechanisms in order to enable it. Mechanisms that were originally put in place to discourage precisely the sort of rampant exploitation and dishonesty that neo liberalism needs to exist.

    Free trade and the abolition of trade tariffs are some of them.

    Formerly , trade tariffs were in place to protect local small / medium sized businesses and the employees that worked for them and to stimulate the domestic / local economy.

    It is ironic that the MSM always entertains speakers who only talk of the ‘supply and demand curve ‘ when in reality that only forms a small part of the total economic package such as that found in Keynesian economic theory. In order to legitimize neo liberalism , erroneous reasoning such as the bogus ‘ trickle down ‘ theory were invented.

  5. Johan 5

    A very worthwhile interview on Democracy Now (shown on TV last night) with Noam Chomsky, about neo-liberalism, Trump….(70 minutes)
    https://www.democracynow.org/2017/4/4/full_interview_noam_chomsky_on_democracy

  6. Ad 6

    If the left is to survive at all, it will not be as the programme of inevitable progress cheered on by the moral universe. Or simply railing against economic terms.

    Rather than seeking to restore our own version of a language of optimistic progress as the right has for 30 years, we should remind people of what is being lost across the dismantling of coherent states and with them coherent societies.

    The left has to be the new conservative movement.

    It is the right – irrespective of whether we term it neoliberalism or plain old Capitalism – that has inherited the energy and ambition and urge to destroy and innovate in the name of a universal project. What the left used to have. There is no current altering the rights’ global ascendancy.

    Most who seek to retain that of the social compact that remains, are pretty modest and used to protecting hard-won gains that are otherwise attacked front on. The rise of the social service state, the century-long construction of a public sector whose goods and services promote our collective identity, the idea of common purpose itself outside of war, the institution of welfare as a matter of right. These are no mean accomplishments at least as big as are commemorated in ANZAC Day.

    We need to be in a conservative mode, protecting (as all unions and most NGOs do these days) what is left of what was gained in the previous century.

    • weka 6.1

      “The left has to be the new conservative movement.”

      Holy fuck. Still, good to have your politics so succinctly put. That makes sense of a lot of what you say.

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.1.1

        Ad might have a point.

        Caring about others, thinking personal wealth isn’t everything, liking unions, thinking that intervening in the market is a good idea at times, and caring about the common good in society – are now out of fashion and considered out-dated ideas. Maybe it is the new conservatism? If so, for the first time ever I might have “conservative” sympathies!

        • weka 6.1.1.1

          Yeah, that’s not what I took from his comment though. I took two main things. One is that there is nothing the left can do, it’s lost except for what it can hang on to now. The other is that the hanging on needs to happen in a retrenched, shut down kind of way (hence the conservatism). It’s relatively defeatist, and the conservatism I see is in Ad’s centre left politics that appear to be heading right.

          I do like the idea you present though, that valuing pre-neoliberal values is a kind of conservatism. I’ve always had an appreciation for conservative values (I grew up in a reasonably conservative place), so I’m more responsive to what you are saying than what I thought Ad said.

    • adam 6.2

      You might like this interview of Angela Glover Blackwell then Ad, she says much the same thing.

      That said I agree with the part after the interview, and that conservation is not progression. But desperation, or raising the white flag. I will not raise the white flag, we have not lost, we will keep going forward.

      • Ad 6.2.1

        I’ll have a look at it later.
        It’s the “flag” and “going forward” business you just have to mentally burn.

        There’s a fair few positions left on the activist spectrum between defeat and desperation, and victory.

        But be precise: there is no area of this country in which the left or the green movement are making progress enough to tilt any collective measure of our good. Nowhere.

        We are doing remarkably well if we stay still.

    • @ Ad ,

      I agree tbh – there IS a conservatism ( or should be) about the old Left . Simply because so many of the social gains that were hard won,.. were won in a past tense. And once consolidated , need to be defended – or ideology’s such as the current neo liberal one WILL attack those freedoms .

      The Left failed to adequately defend its hard won movement , and we are where we are now because of that.

      • Ad 6.3.1

        It’s also a way of saying that we are going into pointless fractals examining the language of the enemy.

        • AB 6.3.1.1

          The language (and therefore ideology) of the enemy needs to be discredited, so that anyone using it is laughed off as a marginal loon.
          That after all is what they have tried and quite successfully done to the left.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      The left has to be the new conservative movement.

      No, it really doesn’t.

      It needs to point out where the present system goes wrong, it then needs to point out what the purpose of society and the economy are and then it needs to define the way to bring those about.

      In other words, it needs to describe how to change the present system into a better one which most definitely is not conservative.

      • Ad 6.4.1

        Only a tiny marginal few care about systems.
        And most of those are the 1%.
        Even fewer than that care about the ‘purpose of society’.

        But they care when things are lost.
        Lost property.
        Lost earnings.
        Lost anti-discrimination rights.
        Lost personal freedom.
        Lost species.
        Lost time.
        Lost career.

        The resistance is against accelerating loss.

        • greywarshark 6.4.1.1

          ad
          Let’s be clear about this is often an initial line from the polticians.
          In the case of the comment about systems you have put – it sets out everything very clearly.

          If it is understood then there may be discussion about what to do but there will be agreement that doing nothing is not an option. Whether the old people can embrace that well I don’t know. The complacency from those over 70 can be deafening. Perhaps the greatest thing they can do is demonstrate the above truths to the young to give them a chance to activate themselves within wherever there is room for movement.

          • Ad 6.4.1.1.1

            I would suggest that the ‘old people’ as you term them, are the best defenders of the welfare state. We would do worse than humbly asking them what we could learn from them, not what they need to “embrace”.

            The power of Greypower to tilt elections is a wonder to behold.

            These ‘old people’ are New Zealand’s most powerful bloc of beneficiaries. They are more protected by our political parties than any other kind of beneficiary. I didn’t spot the multi-billion dollar fund set up to service teenagers.

            ‘Old people’ in New Zealand are the ultimate in liberal state conservatism. They get it, because their material survival and welfare depends on it.

            • greywarshark 6.4.1.1.1.1

              You end up being too narrow Ad. Old people are in good health as far as benefits go, and in real good health as far as practicalities go, so they need to do more than just draw those benefits which go to the old. They need to help the young the teenagers understand what they need to know for the future. Stop being so objective, regarding them as a block of government transfers, and start thinking of them being a bloc of lively people who can act to build the social society that supports the young, rather than be the last ones standing with money from gummint after everything is lost.

              Old people are not deserving of more caring than young people. And talking about old people is not some sort of PC infringement, the freedom that speech needs to be able to discuss problems should not be downgraded so that some are to be free from analysis and study of their role as citizens.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.4.1.2

          And it’s the system that brings about those losses. That’s what it’s designed to do. It creates poverty so that a few rich people can stay in power.

          That is what Labour and Left in general needs to be pointing out.

      • Gosman 6.4.2

        Have you ever contemplated for even a moment why the left has failed to progress it’s agenda?

        • Draco T Bastard 6.4.2.1

          Have you ever considered, even for a moment, that you’re wrong and that continuing to follow your RWNJ ideology constitutes psychopathy?

        • ropata 6.4.2.2

          But all the RWNJ’s on kiwiblog think that National is a left wing party pandering to the socialist vote… ???

          Did you even read Ad’s comment (6) ?

          • Gosman 6.4.2.2.1

            I don’t think the left understands what is up against hence why they can’t put effective measures in place to counteract it.

            • weka 6.4.2.2.1.1

              Stuck record Gosman.

            • ropata 6.4.2.2.1.2

              Despite the fact that it’s probably the main reason for this blog, let’s all gather around to listen to Gosman’s brilliant advice for “the left” 🙄

              • Gosman

                Considering this whole post is a misrepresentation of Neoliberalism that is a bit rich.

        • ropata 6.4.2.3

          There is a global superpower that is projecting its grotesque agenda to the ends of the earth and fucking over anyone who stands in the way of its crusade to monetise every damn thing.

          The “left” hasn’t done itself any favours with the NZ LP having internal issues, the US Democrats promoting the most despised candidate in living memory, and the UK LP rebelling against their actual left wing leader.

          Marx predicted that capitalism would rule until its inherent contradictions made it collapse from within. We are seeing that now.

          Ad makes some excellent points up thread which you have failed to sensibly address, instead repeating your shitheaded one liners like the good little astro turfing shill you are.

          • Gosman 6.4.2.3.1

            Ad brings up defending welfare as a matter of right. I don’t think society ever accepted that concept. It is accepted as a matter of necessity. A safety net but not a right for all.

  7. Tamati Tautuhi 7

    The big problem we have in NZ is people have given up on politics and politicians they are sick and tired of being lied to on a daily basis.

    • aerobubble 7.1

      ‘wets’. Thatchers’ revolution was at the expense of conservatives who believed that balance was required, i.e someone gains means thosethat lost are recompenced in some way. The wets. Neo-liberalism is a empty vacuum since it does not have to maintain any balancing. Sure such rebalance of social effects of policy was self serving, an effort to deal to backlash, which is now covered over by a weight of ing distraction. The gfc pulled the tide out, many now see all the lies they buried under the waves of lies… …enter Trump, a ultra lie, the one big lie to rule over all the rest.

      The solution. Speak truth to power. Wealthy individuals who use wealth to preach to the rest of us are just going to become targets. i.e wealth doesn’t make them smarter, just exposes their stupidity faster.

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