Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 05:43 pm
Neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm of our time referring to "the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit" [All quotes from this section taken from the Introduction written by Robert McChesney of Profit Over People by Noam Chomsky]. It is also not limited to any political party or wing of modern politics. Neoliberalism is used by both the left and the right in order to control the economic status quo for favored interests. "These parties and the policies they enact represent the immediate interests of extremely wealthy investors and less than one thousand large corporations."

Neoliberal initiatives are characterized as "free market policies that encourage private enterprise and consumer choice, reward personal responsibility and entrepreneurial initiative, and undermine the dead hand of the incompetent, bureaucratic and parasitic government, that can never do a good even if well intended, which it rarely is." But these initiative are generally mere words that are used to help corporations be the favored interested parties for government actions. Any activity that "might interfere with corporate domination of society is automatically suspect because it would interfere with the workings of the free market." Thus, many tax revenue, education funding, and public service funding is always on the chopping block because it is least beneficial to a neoliberal world view, and the funding is detrimental to potential corporate domination by giving back to the people.

There are many economic consequence of neoliberal politics. Just about all nations that have embraced neoliberalism has seen a "massive increase in social and economic inequality, a marked increase in severe deprivation for the poorest nations and peoples of the world, a disastrous global environment, an unstable global economy and an unprecedented bonanza for the wealthy." But of course, the justification for these results lies in a supposed effect of the market--"trickle down" economics. The idea that wealth will flow down to the lower classes as the system operates continues to be a myth generated by the corporate dominated class with little supporting evidence to prove its validity.

How does neoliberalism continue to perpetuate its dominance? It is precisely in its "oppression of nonmarket forces that we see how neoliberalism operates not only as an economic system, but as a political and cultural system as well." Neoliberalism finds its parallels here to fascism but one key difference remains. Fascism shows disdain and "contempt for formal democracy and highly mobilized social movements based upon racism and nationalism." But neoliberalism, on the other hand, "works best when there is formal electoral democracy, but when the population is diverted from the information, access, and public forums necessary for meaningful participation in decision making." But of course the idea is to limit political participation to minor issues while the government protects the corporate power through decision making that nearly guarantees their ability to generate massive profits for their stakeholders.

Now this leads to the ultimate payoff for neoliberalism, which is an important and necessary byproduct of the system--"a depoliticized citizenry marked by apathy and cynicism." When the population base is thoroughly desensitized to the affects of neoliberalism, the corporate stronghold on wealth and power is virtually guaranteed.

So the questions. What about democracy? Does it really mean anything when it is marginalized by generally insignificant polarizing opinions? What of "free markets?" Are markets ever free when the cost of entering are so great politically and capitally speaking? What does liberty even mean in a neoliberal society and how or why is it even important at all? Is it just a word which has lost its meaning as the scope of democracy is further pushed towards the irrelevant?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 8,967 • Replies: 41
No top replies

 
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 06:22 pm
@Theaetetus,
So, what do you think about Neoliberalism, Theaetetus?
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 07:12 pm
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;173601 wrote:
So, what do you think about Neoliberalism, Theaetetus?

Ultimately, I find neoliberalism to be threatening towards the future well being of the world. It is ultimately a justification for the world to favor and be run by nonliving persons--corporations. Neoliberalism is used to rationalize many of the crimes of humanity as mere consequences of in a battle against good and evil. Something is always an enemy, and the enemy is not necessarily that of the citizens, but rather that of the corporate entities that dominate the political landscape.

Neoliberalism is also a grave threat to democracy. Democracy becomes marginalized to the insignificant. Consumerism takes over the culture, and freedom becomes an act of choice through brand identification. Everything is a brand, and as entrenched brands, the worst case scenarios hardly make a dent in their ability to continue to function in the marketplace (e.g. British Petroleum and Halliburton after the oil gush began). As a result, liberty is marginalize in light of the sacredness of profit. With the profit as the ultimate inspiration and goal of a social structure, community and personal well being hardly matters to the powers that be.
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 07:23 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;173621 wrote:
Ultimately, I find neoliberalism to be threatening towards the future well being of the world. It is ultimately a justification for the world to favor and be run by nonliving persons--corporations. Neoliberalism is used to rationalize many of the crimes of humanity as mere consequences of in a battle against good and evil. Something is always an enemy, and the enemy is not necessarily that of the citizens, but rather that of the corporate entities that dominate the political landscape.

Neoliberalism is also a grave threat to democracy. Democracy becomes marginalized to the insignificant. Consumerism takes over the culture, and freedom becomes an act of choice through brand identification. Everything is a brand, and as entrenched brands, the worst case scenarios hardly make a dent in their ability to continue to function in the marketplace (e.g. British Petroleum and Halliburton after the oil gush began). As a result, liberty is marginalize in light of the sacredness of profit. With the profit as the ultimate inspiration and goal of a social structure, community and personal well being hardly matters to the powers that be.



Suppose what you say is true, what is the alternative? Would you embrace the type of system in western Europe?
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 07:33 pm
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;173628 wrote:
Suppose what you say is true, what is the alternative? Would you embrace the type of system in western Europe?


What's the difference? There is not a major difference between the U.S., European, Australian, East Asian at the present time. They all practice shades of neoliberalism at the heart of their political society.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 07:40 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;173621 wrote:
Ultimately, I find neoliberalism to be threatening towards the future well being of the world.
It's a repeating theme. Note the history of Chicago.

Democracy isn't the goal. Expression of the vision of the free society is. Democracy is only a set of rituals which reinforce an idea.

What the super-wealthy do to protect their position ultimately reinforces devotion and belief in the vision.

There is no utopia, now or in the future. The unfolding story is a human one, though. Right will prevail.
0 Replies
 
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 08:20 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;173633 wrote:
What's the difference? There is not a major difference between the U.S., European, Australian, East Asian at the present time. They all practice shades of neoliberalism at the heart of their political society.


What ` s the difference? There are probable less economic inequality, and people probable pay less for healthcare in western europe. These are measurable statistics. If you are to convince someone that Neoliberalism is bad, don` t you think it would be nice to have a economic system that is good, and can be used as an example? If you can` t provide an example, fine. What is an alternative? what can be done to improvement our present system?
prothero
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 08:28 pm
@Theaetetus,
I just do not know what people have against "markets" per se. True markets are the result of willing buyers and willing sellers and is a form of economic democracy. Markets have again and again been shown to generate more wealth, more innovation, and to more effectively allocate resources (capital and human resources) than any form of centrally planned government. Years of government planning for a fair society in China and India have not lifted as many out of poverty as market reforms in recent years.

I also do not know what people have against republics or democracies. The representative model of government is the dominant model of our time and although the long historical view is still out; between markets and representative governments more people live healthy and productive lives than at any previous time in history.

It is true there is still much suffering and injustice in the world, but the abandonment of markets (for what exactly anyway?) and of representative government (again for what model exactly?) is not the solution to our problems. Even the socialist democracies of Scandanavia and western Europe still engage in markets and representative government. They just use the power of taxation and government to more equitably distribute wealth in their societies.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 08:45 pm
@TuringEquivalent,
TuringEquivalent;173661 wrote:
What ` s the difference? There are probable less economic inequality, and people probable pay less for healthcare in western europe. These are measurable statistics. If you are to convince someone that Neoliberalism is bad, don` t you think it would be nice to have a economic system that is good, and can be used as an example? If you can` t provide an example, fine. What is an alternative? what can be done to improvement our present system?


That is if you compare apples to apples. But the real differences are found in the policies that hinder the foundational neoliberal paradigm. From the Middle East in today's world back to its time after WWII, and Latin and South America in the 70s, to Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Then there is Africa which is a case of its own of what happens in the shadows of neoliberalism.

A new economic system is not needed, just one that limits neoliberal societies and politics. They are by their very nature bad for communities and individuals. A revaluation of economic and societal values is needed, but that in itself is a lofty goal. Much work can be done in order to improve our present system. To solve the problem, there may need to be some sort of bill of citizenship that grants people certain economic, social, and political liberties to citizens not afforded to corporate entities.
Arjuna
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jun, 2010 11:48 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;173678 wrote:

A new economic system is not needed, just one that limits neoliberal societies and politics. They are by their very nature bad for communities and individuals. A revaluation of economic and societal values is needed, but that in itself is a lofty goal. Much work can be done in order to improve our present system. To solve the problem, there may need to be some sort of bill of citizenship that grants people certain economic, social, and political liberties to citizens not afforded to corporate entities.
The people who created the American government were liberals in the sense being used here. There were two opposing viewpoints at the time: 19th century conservatives, who were aristocrats, and French Revolution Leftists. Each of these outlooks was also reborn in later generations. Each points out the immorality and inevitable failure of the others.

The United States is presently a combination of 19th century liberal and conservative ideology. The power of corporate entities has already been limited in far reaching ways... at times to the point of absurdity as in the case of the break up of AT&T. Money still talks.

You mentioned a right to economic liberty. What do you mean?
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 12:18 am
@Theaetetus,
I don't like the idea of being controlled by increasingly large and powerful corporations, but what is the alternative?
It is easily apparent that small business cannot provide the same level of comfort and affordability we enjoy as a result of large corporations such as Wal-mart.
The consumer speaks and, in America, has spoken loudly.

Small business began the shift to a service oriented model in response to being out competed by corporations in the retail markets.
But even this area is now being lost to the ability of corporations to out compete.

None of this is possible without the cooperation of the consumer.
We prefer cheap goods and services, placing our want's ahead of any thought of long term consequences.

Like it or not, Neoliberalism is here to stay.
Just try and stay out of Wal-mart, or the gas station for that matter.
0 Replies
 
TuringEquivalent
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 03:03 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus;173678 wrote:
To solve the problem, there may need to be some sort of bill of citizenship that grants people certain economic, social, and political liberties to citizens not afforded to corporate entities.


What can you give citizens, and not companies?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:28 am
@prothero,
prothero;173667 wrote:
I just do not know what people have against "markets" per se.


But T's post was not about markets per se. It is about the manipulation of markets by the wealthy elite, for their own benefit, and often to the detriment of everyone else.

If you do the research you will find that the rise in living standards, or gross income, of the richest 5% of Americans has grossly outstripped the increase in real wages for nearly everyone else these last 20 years. It is not quite so extreme in other parts of the world. However one effect of the Global Financial Crisis which was directly atttibutable to neo-liberal de-regulation of the financial market, was to derail many global initiatives to ease poverty, thereby throwing hundreds of millions of people back into dire straights.

You can have a free market economy that is not run by neo-liberalism. Indeed Obama represents a move back to centrist politics, although many republicans are now so far to the right that they regard centrism as communism (as per the many placards waved during the health insurance debate.)
Soul Brother
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:33 am
@jeeprs,
wayne;173712 wrote:
I don't like the idea of being controlled by increasingly large and powerful corporations, but what is the alternative?
It is easily apparent that small business cannot provide the same level of comfort and affordability we enjoy as a result of large corporations such as Wal-mart.


Yes, this successful monopoly that giant corporation hold against small business is due to the affordability that they are able to provide for the population, but if neoliberalism were to be put under limiting restrictions as theatetus implies, this would not happen in the first place, if laws were to be changed as such so as to not allow these giant corporations to make the ridiculous profits they do, then this money instead of sitting in the bank accounts of a phew would be able to be more equally and evenly apportioned throughout the mass population, with this in place, the level of contrast and inequality between the working class and the and the needlessly rich would dramatically improve along with it the average mass population would be considerably well of, as such with poverty levels greatly decreased and the working class being much better moneyed there would be less need to rely on the affordability of giant corporations allowing for small business to flourish and even further well apportion the money.

wayne;173712 wrote:
None of this is possible without the cooperation of the consumer.
We prefer cheap goods and services, placing our want's ahead of any thought of long term consequences.


This is also true, but if this capitalistic monopoly of giant corporations that is neoliberalism were not so corruptibly allowed to run rampant with ridiculous power and control over all monies, the average mass population/consumer would have better choices and better control as to how and where they spend they're money and as such the consumer would not nearly as heavily rely on the these giant global corporations allowing for the success of competing small business thereby keeping the money within the local community instead of the bank accounts of billionaire CEOs.

I think the main problem here is government. As theaetus is saying, it is up to them to stand up to these giant corps and say enough is enough. It is most definitely not an impossible and unachievable realization, after all the government has the power because they run this show no? (as so people tell me) if, as I am told that they do then they certainly have the means to do so, now wether they want to is another thing.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 04:59 am
@Soul Brother,
Soul Brother;173762 wrote:

I think the main problem here is government. As theaetus is saying, it is up to them to stand up to these giant corps and say enough is enough.


And what happens when they try? They are denounced as communists or as 'enemies of freedom'. The Murdoch press is running a vigourous campaign against the Obama Presidency for exactly this reason, and it has plenty of buyers.
0 Replies
 
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 05:41 am
@Theaetetus,
This has happened time and time again in American history of industrialism.
The big corporations such as Carnegie Steel, Anaconda mining, etc etc.
Corporations' exploit the people, get a slap on the wrist, and the credit for building America.

One thing in thier favor, it takes a huge amount of capital to fund research and development. Someone has to wield that capital, and that someone will always be susceptible to corruption and self serving behavior. At least a market based economy places food on our table, and plenty at that.

Someone has to be hungry enough to do the work that puts all of these conveniences in our homes. If we all had plenty of money we would retire early, work less and ultimately pay a worse price than we think we are paying now.

I really care little about the lifestyles of the rich and famous, there is always food on my table and none of my friends are dying of malnutrition or dust pneumonia.
The standard of living in my country is greater than ever in recorded history. Why should I care how much money the rich have?

I may be playing the devil's advocate, but is there a reason why this popular opinion won't continue?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 05:46 am
@wayne,
wayne;173769 wrote:

The standard of living in my country is greater than ever in recorded history.


You're sure about that?
wayne
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 06:02 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;173770 wrote:
You're sure about that?


It can be said so. Of course there is always a segment of the population that doesn't keep up. In America it is still possible to work hard and live a life beyond anything people could have imagined a hundred years ago.

Like I said, the devil's advocate. But surely there is substance to this.
I mean , I'm poor, I don't make a lot of dough, my friend who lives on disability gets more money each month. I'm frugal and humble, own a 1976 chevy van, eat ribeye steaks, HDTV, laptop,vacation,weekend trips,etc.
What is so bad about that?
Are we just being ungrateful?
0 Replies
 
qualia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 06:08 am
@jeeprs,
Great thread, Theaetetus.

To my knowledge there is little disagreement or confusion about the fundamental premise of laissez-faire economics - whatever name the spindoctors want to wrap it in nowadays - that in the late 18th and early 19th centuries under the influence of the Manchester economists and political pressure of a rising bourgeoisie, rapid progress was made toward the establishment of individual liberty in economic affairs based upon a competitive economic system. That an economic system has never been purely competitive, free or perfect, is beside the point, it is a theoretical tool used by economic theorists but which need not be taken seriously when put in practice.

The very nature of this competitive economic system rests on the premise of perfect competition as understood since Adam Smith to present day. If the competitive thesis needs to be avoided for the sake of saving face, then we can find apologetics of laissez-faire economics wanting to define the system in terms of rights, rather than competition. Let's say something like: a laissez-faire economy is a social system based on the principle of individual rights. But, all we've done here is put forward a limited and polemic political definition, a definition of value.

Others skip the political and offer an economic definition, something like: laissez-faire is an economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and economic development (growth) is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market. But that definition too is a description of a normative value because in order to have the said economic system there must already have been a set of rights in place, especially those of private property.

So, we've arrived back to the obvious, the only way to have the said economic system is to have a political system upholding the rights definition.

Capitalism, state led laissez-faire, neo-liberalism, call it what the hell you like, is a moral value, it is a political system based on a given set of moral principles and values.


Now, one occurrence of this value system is that it thrusts its morality onto all individuals and non-human beings whether they want to be a part of it or not. Another consequence of this morality is that it is causing the untold degradation and suffering not only to billions of humans and non-humans, the planet itself, but carries the promise of chronic consequences on the unspoken for future generations.

Therefore, it is not just a value system of morality, it is an enforced morality, tyrannical in the absolute. My question, how exactly does one justify this morality to themselves? How does one philosophically justify tyranny?
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jun, 2010 06:14 am
@Theaetetus,
well, no, but we all expect that living standards, overall, will continue to rise. But I do wonder if that is true, and if not, what this will mean for a political system that is based on the idea of progress.

As regards income inequality, Wikipedia says
Quote:
As of 2006, the United States had one of the highest levels of income inequality, as measured through the Gini index, among high income countries, comparable to that of some middle income countries such as Russia or Turkey,[16] being one of only few developed countries where inequality has increased since 1980.[17]


But I digress, I have said enough, I will hand over to some other contributors at this point.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Obama '08? - Discussion by sozobe
Let's get rid of the Electoral College - Discussion by Robert Gentel
McCain's VP: - Discussion by Cycloptichorn
McCain is blowing his election chances. - Discussion by McGentrix
Food Stamp Turkeys - Discussion by H2O MAN
The 2008 Democrat Convention - Discussion by Lash
Snowdon is a dummy - Discussion by cicerone imposter
GAFFNEY: Whose side is Obama on? - Discussion by gungasnake
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Neoliberalism Exposed
Copyright © 2017 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 12/16/2017 at 10:51:10