What is neoliberalism?
I hope I don’t come off as a pretentious dildo with this post. I just thought that I’d explain a little bit about neoliberalism because it’s an important term that is being used pretty regularly these days by the press, and with little context clues, at least that I’ve noticed.
Until this year, I thought that Neoliberalism (and Neoconservatism) were just sects within the left and right of the political sphere (which makes sense). I guess in theory, this is kind of correct… but not really at all. At least not in the regards that neoliberalism actually aligns with progressive liberals. In fact, neoliberalism has been a guaranteed path for the rich and can help to explain why wealth inequality has gotten to this great disparity.
Neoliberalism basically came of age in the 1970s when the Democratic Party started to turn away from the idea that a welfare state was best for the people, and instead the Party began to be wary of big government, hated less on big business, and were unsure about universal entitlements. Basically, people were starting to reject the New Deal ideology.
So the toddler stage of neoliberalism happened when Jimmy Carter wasn’t re-elected for a second term, and the executive branch was crowned to Ronald Reagan. (On a completely unrelated note- Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed in the White House to supply solar power, and when Reagan took over he had the solar panels removed immediately. Dick. ). Along with this new president, in 1980, a Republican senate was elected which made the remaining democrats question and reexamine domestic policy in order to figure out what the fuck they were going to do. Basically, they started to change their positions from “the government should really try to help as many people as possible with things like healthcare for all, huge federal jobs programs, and hell, let’s start the conversation about an annual income” to “eh, the government shouldn’t waste so much money on everyone, and in fact, the government really has no place really in financial regulation…” These ideas closely aligned with neoconservatives who shared the ideology that people should take responsibility for their own wellbeing (ie: if you’re broke get a fucking job already, you lazy welfare queen), that workfare programs are good, and that there should be time limits on the people who do qualify for government assistance.
Neoliberalism has evolved as an ideology that is associated with Milton Friedman (in my opinion, the devil incarnate) and his Chicago School of Economics, globalization, free trade, deregulation, privatization, and laissez faire economics. It is the idea that corporations should be able to do whatever they want, and the government should have few controls on economic factors. It’s the school of thought that allows multinational corporations to exist, and therefore allows them to destroy developing nations and plan vicious attacks to over throw governments in order to exploit labor (see: Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Indonesia, Afghanistan).
I hope this will help people the next time they read about the neoliberals in the press. The name suggests that it is just an offshoot of the “liberal” (Democratic) party, but be forewarned. Neoliberalism is very dangerous and is how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It is when the lines between government and multinationals are blurred. And just so you know, the USA has had a neoliberal agenda for decades now… which is another reason why a political revolution is essential for the future of our country.
*Some of my sources I used we’re from “American Social Welfare Policy” by Karger and Stoesz, “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein, and “Human Behavior and the Larger Social Environment
” by Johnson and Rhodes.