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Neoliberals Stole The Wealth of Nations & Now We're Dealing With The Catastrophic Effects


Business  (tags: corporate cabal, neoliberalism, huge investment, masking the true purpose, misleading the public, global brainwashing, restore the elite's power, IMF, World Bank )

LucyKalei
- 4248 days ago - business.guardian.co.uk
US oligarchs & their foundations have poured $100,000,000s into setting up thinktanks,founding business schools & creating bastions of almost totalitarian neoliberal thinking. In US,for ex, upper 0.1%'s already regained position held at the begin'g 1920s



   

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Comments

Blue Bunting (855)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 12:25 pm
Oh, please, let's discuss the "war profiteers" and their plan for perpetual war(s).

Olbermann: Bush's true motive is 'war forever!'
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 12:29 pm
Please define neo-liberal. Can you?
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 12:38 pm
I believe the article contains an explanation of what neoliberal economic thinking entails.

I have to go back to the article and select the part that explains it, unless you can find it !
I'm in the midst of posting another so hang on, read it, see if you can locate it and if you can't find any explanation, I'll get back to you.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 12:52 pm
Here is an example from a different article :

Widespread sentiment in the region (author is talking about Latin America) is that neo-liberal economic policies advocated by the IFIs (international financial institutions, like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund ) resulting in cutbacks in social services, privatisation of public enterprises and services, and indiscriminate opening to free trade agreements, has caused economic failure and aggravated inequality among the rich and poor.

In neo-liberal economic policies, the government does the absolute minimum in terms of social services or any kind of public service because in neo-liberal economics taxes are very low, so the state doesn't have money to redistribute wealth to the poor & poorer people, or to make sure that bridges, for example, are safe and being rehauled or restored when necessary.

As the author of this article so accurately points out :

Inspectors in the United States have discovered that 77,000 road bridges are in the same perilous state as the one which collapsed into the Mississippi. Two years after Hurricane Katrina struck, 120,000 people from New Orleans are still living in trailer homes and temporary lodgings.

What he is getting at is that governments - federal, state, local - don't have the money to intervene and pay what it takes to have these problems solved. Neo-liberal policies are against government intervention.

I have located the part of the article that contains what I consider to be an explanation :

This, at any rate, is the theory. But as David Harvey proposes in his book A Brief History of Neoliberalism, wherever the neoliberal programme has been implemented, it has caused a massive shift of wealth not just to the top 1%, but to the top tenth of the top 1%. In the US, for instance, the upper 0.1% has already regained the position it held at the beginning of the 1920s.

The conditions that neoliberalism demands in order to free human beings from the slavery of the state - minimal taxes, the dismantling of public services and social security, deregulation, the breaking of the unions - just happen to be the conditions required to make the elite even richer, while leaving everyone else to sink or swim. In practice the philosophy developed at Mont Pelerin is little but an elaborate disguise for a wealth grab.

So the question is this: given that the crises I have listed are predictable effects of the dismantling of public services and the deregulation of business and financial markets, given that it damages the interests of nearly everyone, how has neoliberalism come to dominate public life?

Richard Nixon was once forced to concede that "we are all Keynesians now". Even the Republicans supported the interventionist doctrines of John Maynard Keynes. But we are all neoliberals now. Margaret Thatcher kept telling us that "there is no alternative", and by implementing her programmes Clinton, Blair, Brown and the other leaders of what were once progressive parties appear to prove her right.

OK, now ? (Unfortunately I cannot underline or put in heavy print to highlight the most pertinent sections in my comment.)

 

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 1:01 pm
WHY define "NeoLiberal"? What's the point?
The people discussing this article agree on the meaning.
It is a pointless red herring to WASTE TIME "defining" this that and the other.
It is a TRICKY RHETORICAL DEVICE, designed to SIDERAIL serious discussion, not enhance it.
People may in good conscience IGNORE such a question.
There is NO "correct" definition. Just the definition THE SPEAKERS AGREE ON.

We are not discussing academic "definitions" of this that and the other;
according to some "authority" or other; but a WORLD CRISIS.

ASKING FOR DEFINITIONS OF TERMS IS AN OLD, TIRED, TIME-WORN DEVICE TO OBSTRUCT.
 

Ola H (27)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 1:24 pm
I don´t agree, BMutiny, there´s nothing wrong in providing a definition, since "liberal" in the US usually means "left-wing", while "liberal" in Europe usually means something to the center-right of the political scale, and there´s also "social-liberalism" which is further to the left - free markets but with a pretty strong welfare-state as well to avoid people from "falling through the cracks" of the system.

Neoliberalism in its purest form is a state that defends its territory and the right to private property and nothing else, since taxes, in this view, is seen as de facto theft. Therefore the state should only tax for the necessary expenses of a military and police. The most defining work of this school of thinking is perhaps Robert Nozick´s "Anarchy, State, and Utopia". The extreme neoliberals fails to adequately explain where this supreme right to property has sprung from though - since they defend the right to inheritance, and humanity did, once upon a time, not own the land at all...

Anyway, the article do explain it pretty concise: "Neoliberalism claims that we are best served by maximum market freedom and minimum intervention by the state. The role of government should be confined to creating and defending markets, protecting private property and defending the realm. All other functions are better discharged by private enterprise, which will be prompted by the profit motive to supply essential services. By this means, enterprise is liberated, rational decisions are made and citizens are freed from the dehumanising hand of the state."

...
 

M. Y (54)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 1:25 pm
The problem seems to me more one of the human heart, rather than whatever the currently dominant or popular economic theory is. An economic system based on greed, such as one based on "maximum market freedom and minimum intervention by the state," or a system that allows greed and corruption, regardless of its utopian ideals, will eventually create the kind of disparities of wealth and power we're seeing today. So the practical problem seems to be how human beings can transcend their seemingly hardwired perception of themselves as separate beings--separate from others, separate from the natural world--needing to control and exploit and dominate for profit, for themselves or whatever group they identify with.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 1:25 pm

I accepted Tru S's question in good faith, assuming that she 'truly' did not understand what is meant by the term. Because I have often seen her name and ID picture among the noters of good stories.

Hey, BMutiny, are you part of the anti-globalisation movement, too ?
Power to the People, as we used to say !
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 1:36 pm

There's a difference between the actual definition of neoliberal economic thought and practice, very concisely and well explained by Ola (Thank you, Ola, I didn't handle that too well ! ! ! ) and the spiritual/psychological state of mind of people, which is more the issue Xochi is addressing.

We can get rid of neoliberal policies because they HAVE been proved to be negative and damaging to people and societies, without getting to the inside workings of people 'hardwired' to perceive themselves as separate beings.

I perceive myself as a separate being, here I am sitting all alone in my living room with the computer; the computer has become a tool for me to reach out beyond that separateness. My separateness does not prevent me from desiring contact with others and it has not kept me from feeling sadness or outrage when I am confronted with situations of injustice and suffering. It is just empathy.
Empathy enables us to move beyond our individual separateness and feel for others.
So I wouldn't necessarily blame the perception of oneself as a separate being as the culprit for greed and a desire to dominate. I don't know what is, really.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 1:46 pm

i don't know if Xochi and Ola are planning to respond, but as they haven't yet, I will just sneak in here again, this time to post another article about neoliberal policies and how the developing countries in Latin America are rejected these policies, as embodied by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fundation:

Banking on the Neighbours

By Anuradha Mittal*
Resentment against the international financial institutions is growing across the world, laying a foundation for an alternative economic vision in South America. The challenge is for it to be a true alternative.


The scandal that ended with World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz’s resignation is just the tip of the iceberg. It does not end the larger crisis of credibility faced by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), with discontent brewing all over the world – most prominent being in Latin America.

At the end of April, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez officially pulled out of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). President Chávez said: "We will no longer have to go to Washington, nor to the IMF, nor to the World Bank, not to anyone." It was sentiment echoed by President Rafael Correa of Ecuador who said, "We will not stand for extortion by this international bureaucracy," before kicking out the World Bank's representative from his country. This was a response to the Bank withholding a previously approved $100 million loan in 2005, to forcefully redirect oil revenues for debt repayment instead of social spending. Argentina has openly defied the IMF by adopting a number of macro-economic policies opposed by the institution, which allowed its remarkable recovery from the financial crisis the country was mired in.

The IMF is feeling the squeeze, with its lending in the region falling to $50 million, or less than one percent of its global portfolio, compared with 80 percent in 2005. Instead, Venezuela, who just offered $500 million of financial cooperation to Ecuador and helped Argentina replenish its reserves after it repaid $9.5 billion of debt to the IMF in late 2005, is becoming what some call the "lender of the last resort".

Widespread sentiment in the region is that neo liberal economic policies advocated by the IFIs resulting in cutbacks in social services, privatisation of public enterprises and services, and indiscriminate opening to free trade agreements, has caused economic failure and aggravated inequality among the rich and poor. Compared to 82 percent per capita GDP’s growth in 1960-1980, per capita GDP grew by a mere nine percent between 1980-2000, dropping to four percent between 2000-2005, denying majority of Latin Americans of any chance to significantly improve their living standards. Not surprisingly then, resentment against the institutions has grown and they have come to be seen as agents in service of their largest shareholder, the U.S. treasury.

This has laid the foundation for an alternative economic vision for the region with President Chávez’s idea of creating an alternative fund - Banco del Sur or the Bank of the South - to free the region from the IFIs coming to fruition. With Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador already on board, Brazil too joined the Bank in April - significantly increasing the available resources. The goal of this Latin American controlled multilateral lender is to fund social and economic development in the region without the political conditions that come with the IMF loans. The intention of this alternative institution is to adhere to local needs than to dictates of the Western nations and Latin America appears to have taken a turn in an overwhelmingly positive economic direction. However some questions remain to ensure the fulfillment of aspirations behind this institution.

While breaking free from the IFIs is essential for formulating national policies that would address the needs of the overall population, much deeper structural changes are required. The Bank of the South would be a true alternative if its resources were used to finance people-centered development that prioritises the needs of people - land, employment, housing, education. It would need to invest in social programmes that would reduce poverty, and increase access to education and healthcare. Or else, the bank will promote the same capitalist model of development, working to promote region's big economic groups in the international markets.

In other words, the Bank of the South - in order to be a real alternative - ought to be the Bank that finances a socialist economy promoting socially and ecologically sustainable and equitable development in the region.

* Anuradha Mittal is the executive director of the California based Oakland Institute, a policy think tank dedicated to increasing public participation and promoting fair debate on critical social, economic, and environmental issues.
 

M. Y (54)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 1:54 pm
Okay, thanks for the response, Jill. Just to clarify myself, I, too, can undeniably see myself as a separate, unique individual or ego. I don't think the problem is that we HAVE separate minds, just as we HAVE arms or legs; the problem is that who we ARE, on an essential level, is not what we HAVE. If I identify with "my" car, then I'll be offended if someone scratches it. If I identify with my country, or political ideology, or religion, I'll seek to destroy whatever threatens it. If what you call empathy means expanding what you identify with to include others, then that's partly what I'm talking about--identifying with the other. Seeing the earth as who we are or where we come from, not something outside ourselves to exploit for our profit. And seeing others, with all their unique, sometimes irritating differences, as who we, essentially, are (and thus working towards the health and benefit of all).
 

M. Y (54)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 2:07 pm
...and using whatever economic system fluidly and not ideologically to further that end.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 2:18 pm

I think there is the problem of ideology to take into consideration. There is a dominant ideology that is communicated to people and that convinces them that to be "worth" something in this world, it is necessary to dominate others and to be successful. "Success" means having money and power. If I have assimilated this ideology, then people who need help, who don't have the power and/or the money to solve their own problems, then I am just going to call them 'wimps' and disregard them entirely. I am certainly not going to identify with them and feel empathy for them, because I would never, I mean NEVER, find myself in THEIR situation. 'There but for fortune' is not my song !
And if my company is doing great damage to people who cannot breathe, who are ill because of the water, and/or have been contaminated by the doings of my company in their area, well, why don't they move away ? I wouldn't stay in such a shit place ! Of course, I cannot question what the company is doing because that's how I make my money and how I maintain my comfortable existance !
 

M. Y (54)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 2:39 pm
I agree. And your description of how people cling to the economic ideology imposed on them through their social conditioning sounds much like how people cling to their religious ideology, too. "I'm saved; pity those poor atheists or infidels who'll burn in hell forever...." I think such clinging and attachment is born of fear, one of our most primal, deep-rooted emotions, and the inability to imagine another way of being, perhaps. Political or economic ideals are necessary, I suppose, to map out broad systems of human interaction, but too often they become tools of our greed, fear, and ignorance, since, as the saying goes, "there's nobody here but us chickens." People look to some authority figure--god, government, whatever, to tell them how to be in the world, but basically that is shirking our responsibility as conscious and evolved human beings. We have to come from who we really are--our compassion and our insight--and make things work for ALL beings. We have--or can develop--the technology; what's lacking is what each of us, personally, has to work on and manifest in the world.
 

M. Y (54)
Wednesday September 5, 2007, 3:31 pm
I'm sorry I'm not sophisticated or educated enough to discuss advanced political or economic theory with you; I can only offer my rather simple point of view based on my limited perceptions of human history and life on this planet. But I am enjoying this discussion, and your articles, which are giving me a lot to think about. Unfortunately, I have to go now. I'll check back on this stream later. Thank you, Jill, and everyone else here!
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Thursday September 6, 2007, 2:16 am

Hey, don't be so self-disparaging ! I haven't been discussing advanced political or economic theory, either, 'cause I wouldn't know how.

I was talking more psychology, how people assimilate the dominant ideology, how people manage not to feel compassion.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Thursday September 6, 2007, 2:21 am

And then there is the aspect of consumerism. People work out who-knows-what frustrations, anxiety, inferiority complexes by shopping, shopping, shopping. How the merchandise is made, by whom, in what conditions, doesn't enter their heads.

I -briefly - entered a Gap store the other day (I had missed my bus and had 12 minutes to kill...) and I was just amazed to see on the label of every garment I looked at "made in China" The store was full and I'm sure people were there because of the (relatively) low prices. But what is the real cost to our societies of having these inexpensive goods : unemployment in the developed world, social strife, misery, while the corporations from the very same developed world are raking in all the profits !
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Thursday September 6, 2007, 2:23 am

I acquire, therefore I am.

When I buy, I exist !

This is a real problem.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Thursday September 6, 2007, 2:28 am

Not to mention the sweat shop/slave labour conditions that these corporations have created in the developing world where they have outsourced...And the violence of intimidation and worse (contract killings) to suppress any sort of union activity ! !

This is an essential aspect that I neglected before, when I spoke of the COST of 'inexpensive' merchandise.
But try to tell a shopkeeper that he or she is making money off other people's misery. Speaking of compassion and empathy, you won't find any there !
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday February 3, 2009, 12:43 pm
So Neo-liberalism were the republicans who wanted to deregulate everything and take away all social services??? This is my understanding of this.
 

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday February 4, 2009, 8:32 am

You got it!
Though it isn't limited to the GOP.
 
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