neoliberal agenda

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pages: 177 words: 50,167

The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics by John B. Judis

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, capital controls, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, ghettoisation, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, invisible hand, laissez-faire capitalism, mass immigration, means of production, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, open borders, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, white flight, Winter of Discontent

Over the next 12 years, Democrats, led by the “new Democrats,” would accept other key aspects of the neoliberal agenda, including trade pacts like NAFTA that eased foreign investment, deregulation of finance, and immigration measures to accommodate unskilled and later highly skilled guest workers. Democrats would continue to fight Republicans on some social spending measures and on income and inheritance tax changes, but once the Republicans won control of Congress in 1994, Democrats would be forced into uncomfortable compromises. Attempts to revive labor legislation would simply fail. Election battles would almost invariably leave the heights of the neoliberal approach untouched, and focus instead on social policies such as abortion or gun control and on relatively marginal differences over social spending and taxes. The key contention that sustained the neoliberal agenda was that the older New Deal liberalism, by focusing on raising consumer demand and reducing inequality, would stifle growth and reduce Americans’ standard of living.

Praise for The Populist Explosion “The Populist Explosion is far and away the most incisive examination of the central development in contemporary politics: the rise of populism on both the right and the left. John Judis, whose track record is unrivaled, is the ideal author to tackle the subject, and he has done a superb job, placing contemporary trends, including the rise of Donald Trump, in historical perspective. Judis demonstrates the crucial role of the 2008 recession both here and in Europe in discrediting the neoliberal agenda. This is must reading.” —Thomas Edsall, New York Times columnist “The Populist Explosion blends groundbreaking reporting with insightful scholarship in the best guide yet to the most important political phenomenon of our time.” —Michael Lind, author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States “John Judis demonstrates again why he is one of America’s best political journalists.

The working and middle classes, with some justification, believed they would have to pay the bulk of the taxes to support programs that they believed would primarily benefit minorities and the poor and not themselves. This opposition to spending (and to any tax increases thought to support it) was capsulized in a general opposition to “Washington” and to “big government.” Many Democrats initially resisted the neoliberal agenda, but attempts in the first two years of the Carter administration to strengthen labor law, progressive tax reform, consumer regulation, and campaign finance reform were beaten back by Republicans and the business lobbies. In addition, Democratic policy makers found themselves hamstrung by the combination of growing unemployment and inflation—the result in the latter case of rising energy and food prices.


pages: 221 words: 46,396

The Left Case Against the EU by Costas Lapavitsas

anti-work, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, capital controls, central bank independence, collective bargaining, declining real wages, eurozone crisis, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, neoliberal agenda, offshore financial centre, post-work, price stability, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Washington Consensus, Wolfgang Streeck

Contents Cover Copyright Acknowledgements 1 The European Union and the Left Fragmentation and retreat of democracy The challenge for the Left Notes 2 The Evolution of the EU: From Maastricht to Now Neoliberalism and hegemony in the EU – drawing on Hayek Neoliberalism and state monopoly over money Creating the euro: a lever of neoliberalism and conditional German hegemony The ‘architectural flaws’ of the euro The broader context of conditional German hegemony Notes 3 The Ascendancy of Germany and the Division of Europe A distinctive financialized economy The defeat of German labour in the 1990s The competitive advantage of Germany and the creation of the Southern periphery The unstable core of the EMU and the Central European periphery Notes 4 The Eurozone Crisis: Class Interests and Hegemonic Power The crisis erupts Imposing a neoliberal agenda An unstable and fraught equilibrium Notes 5 Greece in the Iron Trap of the Euro The proximate causes of the Greek crisis Long-term weaknesses of the Greek economy The lenders impose bail-outs and bring disaster Class and national interests in the Greek disaster The political débâcle of SYRIZA Notes 6 Seeking Democracy, Sovereignty, and Socialism Democracy and sovereignty in the EU, once again The impossibility of radical reform A class-based stance for the Left What is the Left to do?

Unfortunately for the countries of the Southern periphery their possession of a common currency, the euro, meant that there were no foreign exchange rates that could fall. The Eurozone ‘sudden stop’ crisis acquired a peculiar and sinister form, forcing the economies and societies of the Southern periphery to take the full impact of the shock. The implications proved dramatic for workers and the poor as well as for interstate relations. Imposing a neoliberal agenda The response of the EU to the shock of 2010 transformed a crisis of capital flows, international trade, and external debt into an economic and social disaster for the periphery, especially in Greece. It affirmed the hold of neoliberalism across the EMU while also revealing the sharp side of German hegemony. EU policy defended primarily the interests of big business, and especially banks, at the expense of wage labour and the poor.

Creating the ESM was one of the most important institutional developments in the EU as a result of the crisis. The ESM is an unaccountable body, lacking entirely in democratic credentials, which commands substantial money funds, in the region of 500 billion euros, that are available for lending to countries in crisis. It has the power to impose severe ‘conditionality’ for the loans it makes, thus being able to impose a neoliberal agenda. By creating the ESM the EU could potentially develop its own IMF to act as the policing agent of neoliberal reform.11 Fourth, and crucially for growth and employment, debtor countries were obliged to achieve fiscal stability through the imposition of austerity, that is, by reducing public expenditure and raising taxes. There would be no backing down from this rule irrespective of the damage caused to employment, incomes, and production.


pages: 318 words: 85,824

A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey

affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, centre right, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crony capitalism, debt deflation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial intermediation, financial repression, full employment, George Gilder, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, labour market flexibility, land tenure, late capitalism, Long Term Capital Management, low-wage service sector, manufacturing employment, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Pearl River Delta, phenotype, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, structural adjustment programs, the built environment, The Chicago School, transaction costs, union organizing, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus, Winter of Discontent

One is reminded of Francis Bacon’s utopian tale New Atlantis (first published in 1626) where a Council of Wise Elders mandates all key decisions. Faced with social movements that seek collective interventions, therefore, the neoliberal state is itself forced to intervene, sometimes repressively, thus denying the very freedoms it is supposed to uphold. In this situation, however, it can marshal one secret weapon: international competition and globalization can be used to discipline movements opposed to the neoliberal agenda within individual states. If that fails, then the state must resort to persuasion, propaganda or, when necessary, raw force and police power to suppress opposition to neoliberalism. This was precisely Polanyi’s fear: that the liberal (and by extension the neoliberal) utopian project could only ultimately be sustained by resort to authoritarianism. The freedom of the masses would be restricted in favour of the freedoms of the few.

On the one hand the neoliberal state is expected to take a back seat and simply set the stage for market functions, but on the other it is supposed to be activist in creating a good business climate and to behave as a competitive entity in global politics. In its latter role it has to work as a collective corporation, and this poses the problem of how to ensure citizen loyalty. Nationalism is an obvious answer, but this is profoundly antagonistic to the neoliberal agenda. This was Margaret Thatcher’s dilemma, for it was only through playing the nationalism card in the Falklands/Malvinas war and, even more significantly, in the campaign against economic integration with Europe, that she could win re-election and promote further neoliberal reforms internally. Again and again, be it within the European Union, in Mercosur (where Brazilian and Argentine nationalisms inhibit integration), in NAFTA, or in ASEAN, the nationalism required for the state to function effectively as a corporate and competitive entity in the world market gets in the way of market freedoms more generally. 2.

Like the neoliberals that preceded them, the ‘neocons’ had long been nurturing their particular views on the social order, in universities (Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago being particularly influential) and well-funded think-tanks, and through influential publications (such as Commentary).20 US neoconservatives favour corporate power, private enterprise, and the restoration of class power. Neoconservatism is therefore entirely consistent with the neoliberal agenda of elite governance, mistrust of democracy, and the maintenance of market freedoms. But it veers away from the principles of pure neoliberalism and has reshaped neoliberal practices in two fundamental respects: first, in its concern for order as an answer to the chaos of individual interests, and second, in its concern for an overweening morality as the necessary social glue to keep the body politic secure in the face of external and internal dangers.


pages: 277 words: 80,703

Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle by Silvia Federici

Community Supported Agriculture, declining real wages, equal pay for equal work, feminist movement, financial independence, fixed income, global village, illegal immigration, informal economy, invisible hand, labor-force participation, land tenure, mass incarceration, means of production, microcredit, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Occupy movement, planetary scale, Scramble for Africa, statistical model, structural adjustment programs, the market place, trade liberalization, UNCLOS, wages for housework, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

In particular, they examine the relation between the large migratory movements triggered by structural adjustment programs in the early ‘90s, and what Arlie Hochschild has termed the “globalization of care.” They also investigate the connection between warfare and the destruction of subsistence farming and, most importantly, the motivations behind the new global economy’s war against women. A running theme throughout the essays of Part Two is also the critique of the institutionalization of feminism and the reduction of feminist politics to instruments of the neoliberal agenda of the United Nations. For those of us who for years had stubbornly insisted on defining feminist autonomy as autonomy not just from men but from capital and the state, the gradual loss of initiative by the movement and its subsumption under the wings of the United Nations was a defeat, especially at a time when this institution was preparing to legitimize new wars by military and economic means.

These policies have so undermined the reproduction of the populations of the “Third World” that even the World Bank has had to concede to having made mistakes.18 They have led to a level of poverty unprecedented in the postcolonial period, and have erased the most important achievement of the anticolonial struggle: the commitment by the new independent nation states to invest in the reproduction of the national proletariat. Massive cuts in government spending for social services, repeated currency devaluations, wage freezes, these are the core of the “structural adjustment programs” and the neoliberal agenda. We must also mention the ongoing land expropriations that are being carried out for the sake of the commercialization of agriculture, and the institution of a state of constant warfare.19 Endless wars, massacres, entire populations in flight from their lands and turned into refugees, famines: these are not only the consequences of a dramatic impoverishment that intensifies ethnic, political, and religious conflicts, as the media want us to believe.

From this it follows that the economic and social condition of women cannot be improved without a struggle against capitalist globalization and the de-legitimization of the agencies and programs that sustain capital’s global expansion, starting with the IMF and the World Bank, and WTO. By contrast, any attempt to “empower” women by “gendering” these agencies is not only doomed to fail, but is bound to have a mystifying effect, allowing these agencies to co-opt the struggles that women are making against the neoliberal agenda and for the construction of a noncapitalist alternative.5 Globalization: An Attack on Reproduction To understand why globalization is a war against women we must read this process “politically,” as a strategy aiming to defeat workers’ “refusal of work” by means of the global expansion of the labor market. It is a response to the cycle of struggles that, starting with the anticolonial movement and continuing through the Black Power, Blue Collar and Feminist Movements of the ‘60s and ‘70s, challenged the international and sexual division of labor, causing not only a historic profit crisis but a true social and cultural revolution.


pages: 182 words: 53,802

The Production of Money: How to Break the Power of Banks by Ann Pettifor

Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Bretton Woods, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, clean water, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, fixed income, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Hyman Minsky, inflation targeting, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mobile money, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Satyajit Das, savings glut, secular stagnation, The Chicago School, the market place, Thomas Malthus, Tobin tax, too big to fail

In it, IMF staff argued that the neoliberal agenda – a label used more by critics than by the architects of the policies – rests on two main planks. The first is increased competition – achieved through deregulation and the opening up of domestic markets, including financial markets, to foreign competition. The second is a smaller role for the state, achieved through privatization and limits on the ability of governments to run fiscal deficits and accumulate debt.13 The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries, the paper argues: The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda. Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth.

Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects. None of this is news to the victims of neoliberal economic policies in many poor, heavily indebted countries, but the IMF’s mea culpa rattled the cages of many a neoliberal academic and media institution. This included the venerable Financial Times whose economic staff attacked the IMF and ‘its misplaced mea culpa for neoliberalism’, declaring that by far the most important ‘global economic issue is the persistent decline in productivity growth’.14 Ironic, given that many economists regarded the decline in productivity growth as a direct consequence of mobile capital eschewing investment in productive activity in favour of speculation in volatile financial assets.


pages: 320 words: 86,372

Mythology of Work: How Capitalism Persists Despite Itself by Peter Fleming

1960s counterculture, anti-work, call centre, clockwatching, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, David Graeber, Etonian, future of work, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, illegal immigration, Kitchen Debate, late capitalism, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, means of production, neoliberal agenda, Parkinson's law, post-industrial society, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, quantitative easing, Results Only Work Environment, shareholder value, social intelligence, The Chicago School, transaction costs, wealth creators, working poor

In the United Kingdom, following the rise of coercive-state, Thatcherism and the barbarism of subsequent neoliberal governmental reform programmes, we now see the true consequences of this desire to transform us all into little one-person corporations. In the wake of the 2008 crisis, the capitalist promotion of self-sufficiency and individual entrepreneurship no longer bothers to evoke the euphemisms of ‘creativity’, ‘innovation’ and ‘freedom’ that characterised 1990s neoliberal agenda. No, this is now about fear. You are on your own – but you still have to pay your taxes! Even Foucault fails – or perhaps refuses – to apprehend the grinding concrete reality that the birth of biopower actually implies. The real world behind the gloss of the ‘entrepreneur’ is actually sanctioned poverty, insecurity, precarity and an impossible life-structure designed to absorb the externalities of rich corporations and the neoliberal state.

Self-reliance is a basic requisite of neoliberal exploitation, since it is (a) the domain in which negative externalities are placed and (b) the ‘human resource’ that takes up the slack of an unworkable socio-economic paradigm. However, on the other hand, managers are constantly worried about this autonomy being directed towards non-exploitative ends, to the point where they are automatically hostile towards it. In the end, managerialism seeks to stamp out the very resource that it and the neoliberal agenda relies upon to get things done. There is a second reason why managerialism thrives on conflict. Most organizations do not really need the excessive and pointless amount of management activity that accumulates over time. Thus, managers constantly seek out ways to justify their own existence (e.g. by creating useless work for others) and engage in power-display rituals lest the owners of the means of production realize that much management is inherently needless and obstructive when applied to most jobs.

So what does this all mean for workers and their oppositional movement to capitalism in our current biopolitical era? Many of the large-scale ‘business ethics’ programmes crafted by the neoliberal enterprise draw upon the idiom of work and employment as a key moment of justification. For example, when a large retailing business is forced to explain its irresponsible practices to governmental regulators, it also seeks to embolden the ideology of work at the heart of the neoliberal agenda. We are an ethical enterprise, so leave us unregulated and we will create jobs and invest in positive economic initiatives for the betterment of all. The ideology of work is buttressed by a broader complex that implicitly reflects the logic of production in a wide array of synaptic institutional relationships. By critically engaging with the significant shift in how the private corporation ideologically deploys the truth, we invariably challenge the axiomatic principle of work as well.


pages: 246 words: 76,561

Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of a New Architecture by Justin McGuirk

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, dark matter, Donald Trump, Enrique Peñalosa, extreme commuting, facts on the ground, Guggenheim Bilbao, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income per capita, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, lateral thinking, mass immigration, microcredit, Milgram experiment, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, place-making, Silicon Valley, starchitect, technoutopianism, unorthodox policies, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Washington Consensus

And de Soto’s theory, which has been highly influential, is ultimately destructive, resulting in the inevitable gentrification that forces the poor out of the expensive inner city. Instead of the market value of housing, Turner was asserting its ‘use value’. Most significantly of all, Turner took the view, long before it was fashionable, that the slums were sites of resourcefulness and creativity. As we shall see, this was a position that would later backfire when the World Bank used it to support a neoliberal agenda that effectively relieved governments of the duty to address the housing problem at all. However, before that turn of events, Lima’s barriadas still seemed full of promise. They became such a touchstone that the critic Charles Jencks included the barriadas on his map of twentieth-century architectural movements, next to Archigram and the Metabolists. And aside from their international renown, they influenced a remarkable project in Lima itself.

Government self-help schemes were simply not geared up to handling the scale of informal growth. But just when policy-makers were throwing their hands up, they were offered a lifeline in the form of a new liberal economic ideology. From the late 1980s onwards, with the Washington Consensus spreading south through the arm-twisting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the neoliberal agenda took control. Government’s job was to cut spending, privatise, and let the housing market regulate itself. In effect, Turner’s argument for self-determination was turned on its head by politicians who, now relieved of housing obligations, no longer had to pick up the ruinous bill. And as the economy boomed, the effects were supposed to ‘trickle down’ to the poor. But after two decades of that experiment, we all know that neoliberalism only widens the gap between rich and poor, and that was certainly the case in Brazil, one of the world’s most unequal countries.


pages: 357 words: 95,986

Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Nick Srnicek, Alex Williams

3D printing, additive manufacturing, air freight, algorithmic trading, anti-work, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, basic income, battle of ideas, blockchain, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centre right, collective bargaining, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, deskilling, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, housing crisis, income inequality, industrial robot, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, late capitalism, liberation theology, Live Aid, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market design, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, patent troll, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, post scarcity, post-work, postnationalism / post nation state, precariat, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, reshoring, Richard Florida, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stakhanovite, Steve Jobs, surplus humans, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, wages for housework, We are the 99%, women in the workforce, working poor, working-age population

The subsequent defeat of organised labour throughout the core capitalist nations has perhaps been neoliberalism’s most important achievement, significantly changing the balance of power between labour and capital. The means by which this was achieved were diverse, from physical confrontation and combat,44 to using legislation to undermine solidarity and industrial action, to embracing shifts in production and distribution that compromised union power (such as disaggregating supply chains), to re-engineering public opinion and consent around a broadly neoliberal agenda of individual freedom and ‘negative solidarity’. The latter denotes more than mere indifference to worker agitations – it is the fostering of an aggressively enraged sense of injustice, committed to the idea that, because I must endure increasingly austere working conditions (wage freezes, loss of benefits, a declining pension pot), then everyone else must as well. The result of these combined shifts was a hollowing-out of unions and the defeat of the working class in the developed world.45 While the right successfully faced the structural crisis by consolidating its political and economic power, the movements of the old and new left were unable to confront this new configuration of forces.

Numerous members of what would become Thatcher’s administration passed through the IEA during the 1960s and 1970s.40 The outcome of the IEA’s efforts was not only to subtly transform the economic discourse in Britain, but also to naturalise two particular policies: the necessity of attacking trade union power, and the imperative of monetary stability. The former would purportedly let markets freely adapt to changing economic circumstances, while the latter would provide the basic price stability needed for a healthy capitalist economy. In the United States, too, think tanks and academic research groups were built to push for a broadly neoliberal agenda, the Heritage Foundation and the Hoover Institute being two of the most notable.41 The MIPR aimed to redefine political common sense by writing books on neoliberal economics that were intended for a popular audience, some of which eventually sold over 500,000 copies. Other books, such as Charles Murray’s Losing Ground, laid the foundations for the policy shift which today identifies welfare dependency rather than poverty itself as the central social problem.


pages: 325 words: 89,374

Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing by John Boughton

British Empire, deindustrialization, full employment, garden city movement, ghettoisation, housing crisis, Jane Jacobs, laissez-faire capitalism, manufacturing employment, negative equity, Neil Kinnock, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, profit motive, rent control, Right to Buy, rising living standards, starchitect, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, young professional

For their efforts, the consortia received annual payments, usually over a contract period of around thirty years, from the authorities concerned – local councils in the case of housing – paying for services rendered and effectively leasing back privately owned public assets. It kept large-scale capital expenditure off the books, replacing those bigger sums with far smaller annual payments, though the latter would in the end cost far more than any direct upfront payment. If there lay the financial logic of the scheme, such as it was, critics on the left also saw ‘a neoliberal agenda designed to open up the provision and management of public services to the private sector’.36 Broadwcilk, Pendleton Estate, Salford In 2008, 93 per cent of Pendleton’s housing stock was still council-owned. The ‘target position’ – outlined in the ‘Benefits Realisation Plan’ behind ‘Creating a New Pendleton’ one year later – was to fashion ‘a mixed tenure residential area’. Four years later, the PFI charged with implementing this plan was finally established.

New completions plummeted and the £1.5 billion boost to housing investment announced that year was largely dedicated to the rescue of a private market in crisis. Readers should come to their own judgement about New Labour’s record in office but housing policy and achievement does offer an excellent yardstick. Even as it pursued its generally progressive social ends, New Labour undoubtedly pursued a broadly neoliberal agenda, one that gave economic primacy to the market and its disciplines, one which privileged private finance and the profit motive over public investment. Its social housing policies which rested in essence in a diffuse but pervasive belief in competitiveness – personal and institutional – afford one of the clearest illustrations of this overarching belief-system and, to many, will suggest its limitations.


pages: 91 words: 26,009

Capitalism: A Ghost Story by Arundhati Roy

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Bretton Woods, corporate governance, feminist movement, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Howard Zinn, informal economy, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, megacity, microcredit, Nelson Mandela, neoliberal agenda, Occupy movement, RAND corporation, reserve currency, special economic zone, spectrum auction, stem cell, The Chicago School, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks

‘It is my duty to make money and even more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow men.’” 34. Pablo Neruda, “Standard Oil Company,” in Canto General, trans. Jack Schmitt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 176. 35. For further analysis of the Gates Foundation’s involvement in privatizing education, coupled with drastic reductions in government spending, see Jeff Bale and Sara Knopp, “Obama’s Neoliberal Agenda for Public Education,” in Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2012). 36. Joan Roelofs, “The Third Sector as a Protective Layer for Capitalism,” Monthly Review 47, no. 4 (September 1995): 16. 37. Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2003). 38. Eric Toussaint, Your Money or Your Life: The Tyranny of Global Finance (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2005). 39.


pages: 526 words: 160,601

A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney

1960s counterculture, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, corporate personhood, Corrections Corporation of America, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, equal pay for equal work, failed state, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, Home mortgage interest deduction, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kitchen Debate, labor-force participation, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, medical bankruptcy, Menlo Park, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, operation paperclip, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent control, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school choice, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, smart grid, Snapchat, source of truth, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, survivorship bias, TaskRabbit, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

Even if substantial changes were on the table, they might be expected (given conventional understandings of Sixties sanctimony) to take the form of new commitments to the parts of the old program that worked well, like civil rights and environmental legislation, the reform of programs with mixed but generally positive results, like welfare, and renewed commitments to the fiscal restraint and investment priorities that had worked in the 1950s and 1960s but seemed in danger of lapsing. The seemingly least likely choice was what actually happened, a heterodox revolution that took the worst elements of older programs and combined them into a bizarre “neoliberal” agenda that featured an economy simultaneously laissez-faire and heavily dependent on state spending and occasional federal bailouts; a conservative government, yet one with radical ideals; a rhetoric of probity, but a policy of total fiscal and other indiscipline; Republicans overseeing government bloat while Democrats promoted free trade and the “end of welfare as we know it.” It was ideologically incoherent and it didn’t work particularly well, not for many Americans.

More importantly, for decades, the economy grew and delivered mass prosperity despite (for the neoliberals) or because of (for everyone else) a government that operated a social safety net, invested heavily in physical and educational infrastructure, tolerated labor organizations, intervened in trade, stimulated the economy from time to time, and maintained reasonable budget discipline including through high taxes. For years, no influential politician embraced the full neoliberal agenda, nor did citizens demand such. Only in two areas, fiscal responsibility and a strong dollar, did conservative ideas retain any real sway, with generally good results. World War II made balanced budgets impossible, but the following twenty years saw a concerted attempt to reduce deficits and bring down debt. These efforts were not entirely successful, because of the expense of social programs, military outlays, and Eisenhower’s enormous infrastructure programs.

Until the late 1960s, however, they commanded the support of the people and governments of both parties. So liberalism, neo-and otherwise, had to bide its time as a theory waiting for an audience. Before the 1970s, there was only one credible attempt to advance anything like liberalism, and then only in its Jurassic form. The failure of that campaign suggested the future compromises necessary to get the rest of the neoliberal agenda in place. The 1964 presidential race, between Johnson and Goldwater, provided the forum. In dramatic contrast to Johnson, Goldwater had no patience for any of the government programs or fiscal indiscipline that had despoiled the capitalist landscape. He said as much in his election-year book, The Conscience of a Conservative. More than the standard and ephemeral election-year reminisce, Conscience shaped the entire conservative movement and remains sufficiently powerful that Paul Krugman, an advocate for government’s ability to solve problems, Nobel Prize–winning economist, and New York Times columnist, titled his 2007 book Conscience of a Liberal, something of a riposte to a book written more than forty years before.


pages: 370 words: 102,823

Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth by Michael Jacobs, Mariana Mazzucato

balance sheet recession, banking crisis, basic income, Bernie Sanders, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collaborative economy, complexity theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Detroit bankruptcy, double entry bookkeeping, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, facts on the ground, fiat currency, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, forward guidance, full employment, G4S, Gini coefficient, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, labour market flexibility, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, Mont Pelerin Society, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, non-tariff barriers, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, price stability, private sector deleveraging, quantitative easing, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the built environment, The Great Moderation, The Spirit Level, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, very high income

There is some ambiguity in neoliberal thinking over the role of other non-market institutions, such as family and community. For some, these provide a useful adjunct to markets; for others they are a source of inefficiency and would be better off for being incorporated within markets. The privatisation and outsourcing of industries and services owned by public authorities have been among the hallmarks of the neoliberal agenda. By privatisation one means the full transfer to private ownership of the activity in question. Under outsourcing the activity remains publicly owned, but its performance is contracted out to private profit-making firms or other non-state organisations, the public authority becoming the customer instead of the provider. For reasons that we shall explore below, privatisation rarely, outsourcing almost never, results in true markets of the kind envisaged by neoclassical theory.

Working out what corporate behaviour would look like if there could be a true market, and imposing that on the firms concerned, requires a serious regulatory apparatus. Hence in the UK one finds regulatory agencies covering most privatised industries, and certainly all utilities. Dominant firms have developed in the telecommunications, energy and water sectors partly because of the strong presence of network externalities, so competition remains oligopolistic. Although a call for deregulation is a fundamental part of the neoliberal agenda, in reality it produces a major increase in regulation, but with a changed purpose. In theory neoliberal regulation would only work out what a market would look like if there could be one, not introduce other policy goals. For example, neoliberal regulation of radio and television should be concerned solely with monitoring price behaviour, not with such issues as ensuring political balance or restricting pornographic or violent content.


pages: 464 words: 121,983

Disaster Capitalism: Making a Killing Out of Catastrophe by Antony Loewenstein

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, British Empire, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate social responsibility, Corrections Corporation of America, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, failed state, falling living standards, Ferguson, Missouri, financial independence, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, income inequality, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, mandatory minimum, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, obamacare, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open borders, private military company, profit motive, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Satyajit Das, Scramble for Africa, Slavoj Žižek, stem cell, the medium is the message, trade liberalization, WikiLeaks

“Forecasters significantly underestimated the increase in unemployment and the decline in domestic demand associated with fiscal consolidation,” it stated.44 Amazingly, Blanchard wrote that the IMF was largely blind to determining the role of their own economists when implementing its toxic medicine: “The short-term effects of fiscal policy on economic activity are only one of the many factors that need to be considered in determining the appropriate pace of fiscal consolidation for any single country.” In other words, there was a human cost to policies drafted in the halls of power. If history was any guide, it was hard to imagine the IMF departing from the neoliberal agenda embedded in its DNA. The message was clear, if backers of austerity cared to listen: impose brutal policies at your peril. The EU had never been less popular in Greece, or in many other nations across Europe, and the prospect of a united continent far into the future remained less than guaranteed (or even desirable): too many citizens suffered at the hands of Brussels bureaucrats.45 Dutch-American sociologist Saskia Sassen argued that Greece was undergoing “economic ethnic cleansing”—a tactic that allows the downtrodden to be ignored and shunned in the name of renewed growth.46 Opposition to an auction of national assets was strong.

He offered a story about former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide wanting capable Swiss instructors to train the Haitian police, but being told by the Americans that, because of some long-forgotten agreement dating from 1980, Washington had to be asked to approve such a plan. Needless to say, it was rejected. Chalmers placed Haiti’s dilemma in a global context. “We are unable to develop our own models of development and have to get international funding for the neoliberal agenda,” he told me. “It’s a way to show capitalism that we’re willing to work with you, but you’re actually destroying our own economy and agriculture.” Chalmers continued: “Haiti is one of the countries they call a ‘failed state.’ Since 1915, it’s been about how Haiti will please the United States, but there are alternatives to industrial parks. If you invest in agriculture and farming, you’ll have much better and more sustainable results.


pages: 482 words: 149,351

The Finance Curse: How Global Finance Is Making Us All Poorer by Nicholas Shaxson

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, airline deregulation, anti-communist, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, carried interest, Cass Sunstein, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, cross-subsidies, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, Etonian, failed state, falling living standards, family office, financial deregulation, financial innovation, forensic accounting, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, high net worth, income inequality, index fund, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, land value tax, late capitalism, light touch regulation, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, wealth creators, white picket fence, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Eddy’s work is intensely political and he reports to elected officials, so he was guarded talking to me, but it was soon clear how badly the property tax abatements slice into his budget. ‘It’s like a hydra,’ he said. ‘There are many tax abatements, and I have to fight for revenue to serve mentally ill people. This is not a sport.’ ‘Competitive’ tax-cutting has become like a mania. ‘There’s a circular discussion going on here. Cutting taxes is good. Why? Because it’s “competitive”. Why is “competitive” good? Because it means lower taxes!’ That plays into the neoliberal agenda that doesn’t like the common good. The notion of being a human that merits some reasonable standard has been totally dismantled. And it’s getting worse.’ This game is spreading across the United States. One of the bleakest recent stories concerns Amazon, which in 2017 announced plans to build a second headquarters and asked cities to submit bids with incentive packages. At the time of writing a total of 238 locations had bid for the ‘HQ2’ project, and the highest offer was from Maryland, which offered $8.5 billion in tax credits and other benefits – for a project which Amazon itself has said would only cost $5 billion to build.

In 2009, a month before his country assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union, Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his finance minister Anders Borg declared, ‘the Lisbon Agenda, with only a year remaining before it is to be evaluated, has been a failure’. See ‘Sweden admits Lisbon Agenda “failure”’, Euractiv.com, 3 June 2009. 32. The European Parliament, a bolshier but weaker European institution which often tries to push back against the Commission’s neoliberal agenda, declared in December 2015 that it ‘regrets that the Commission chose not to use the ordinary legislative procedure for the decisions regarding National Competitiveness Boards’. 33. Singapore enjoys a package that is as unrepeatable as Luxembourg’s. Its economic model is heavily statist, with 90 per cent of housing stock government-owned, rents tightly controlled and strong social democratic policies.


pages: 209 words: 80,086

The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs, and Incomes by Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, David Ashton

active measures, affirmative action, barriers to entry, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, business process, business process outsourcing, call centre, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, deskilling, disruptive innovation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, glass ceiling, global supply chain, immigration reform, income inequality, industrial cluster, industrial robot, intangible asset, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market design, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Paul Samuelson, pensions crisis, post-industrial society, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shared worldview, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, winner-take-all economy, working poor, zero-sum game

This realization that the knowledge wars were no longer limited to affluent nations “heralds a worldwide opportunity revolution bringing new chances of upward mobility for millions. And Britain with its centuries old record of innovation, enterprise, and international reach, can be one of its greatest winners.”22 This enduring faith in the global knowledge-driven economy to create upward mobility for Western workers, reflected the extent to which governments bought into a neoliberal agenda. To question the theology of the free market or the idea that it could destroy the opportunity bargain was almost a heresy. It is therefore not surprising that faith in human capital to resolve economic and social problems retains a powerful hold on American public policy. As President Barack Obama reaffirmed, “In a global economy where the most valuable skill you can sell is your knowledge, a good education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity, it is a pre-requisite.”23 Naked Capitalism The promise of a hi-tech future of highly paid knowledge workers was pivotal to the creation of a neoliberal opportunity bargain, which left individuals responsible for their employability through educational achievement and commitment to career development.


pages: 263 words: 79,016

The Sport and Prey of Capitalists by Linda McQuaig

anti-communist, Bernie Sanders, carbon footprint, clean water, diversification, Donald Trump, energy transition, financial innovation, Kickstarter, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, payday loans, profit motive, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, union organizing

Company pensions, where they still exist, have increasingly been transformed from “defined benefit” to “defined contribution,” making them far less generous and reliable. The corporate world has also adopted a more hostile attitude toward unions, taking steps that have made it more difficult for workers to organize and to defend themselves. These substantial changes are part of what’s been dubbed “the neoliberal agenda” — a set of policies based on flimsy pseudo-theories that boil down to the simplistic notion that the private sector is inherently good and the public sector is inherently bad. The result has been a massive transfer of society’s resources from ordinary people to a small set of wealthy individuals and corporations. Workers have lost ground badly as the economy has become increasingly dominated by hedge funds and private equity firms, which typically take over a company, strip out its assets, slash its workforce, pay little or no severance to its terminated workers, and leave the company pension plan unfunded.


pages: 261 words: 86,905

How to Speak Money: What the Money People Say--And What It Really Means by John Lanchester

asset allocation, Basel III, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Black Swan, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, commoditize, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Graeber, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, financial innovation, Flash crash, forward guidance, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, high net worth, High speed trading, hindsight bias, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kodak vs Instagram, liquidity trap, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, loss aversion, margin call, McJob, means of production, microcredit, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Nick Leeson, Nikolai Kondratiev, Nixon shock, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, paradox of thrift, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, purchasing power parity, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Feynman, Right to Buy, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, security theater, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Chicago School, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, yield curve

Over this coming decade the distinction between winners and losers is going to be sharper than ever, and more visible than ever, and I say again that this will be a truly global theme—I don’t think there is a society anywhere in the world where this issue will not be acted out. The main economic model that has been used by international institutions over the last three decades is a set of policies that I’ve been calling neoliberalism. These policies have been effective at growing GDP, and equally or more effective at growing inequality. By now, the neoliberal agenda has taken us to a place where, for many people in the developed world, life offers the prospect of an interminable squeeze on prospects and living standards. The good years of open-ended, more or less frictionless growth that we in the developed world have all, broadly speaking, enjoyed since the end of the Second World War are over. That doesn’t mean we can’t have higher than ever standards of material well-being; it doesn’t mean we can’t have unprecedented levels of general prosperity; it doesn’t mean we have to stop trying to be better societies that offer better lives, year after year, to all citizens.


pages: 207 words: 86,639

The New Economics: A Bigger Picture by David Boyle, Andrew Simms

Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, congestion charging, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, delayed gratification, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, financial deregulation, financial exclusion, financial innovation, full employment, garden city movement, happiness index / gross national happiness, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, land reform, light touch regulation, loss aversion, mega-rich, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, oil shock, peak oil, pensions crisis, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, Ronald Reagan, seigniorage, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working-age population

These revelations, and the fury at the cost of bailing out the system again, may be enough, in themselves, to justify a mainstream search for a new kind of economics. The new economics is certainly a reaction against the narrow form of globalization that has gripped the planet, a combination of global deregulation of capital, a moral vacuum at the heart of the economic system, and a process whereby the powers and resources of nation states are handed over to monopolistic global corporations. This has been described as the ‘neoliberal’ agenda, though there is nothing very new and certainly nothing liberal about it, and its failures are increasingly obvious. But it is not just a reaction against globalization. In practice, the ‘new economics’, which has been emerging over the past three decades, has been as much a reaction against the results of the previous consensus, which drew on aspects of Keynes – the inflation, centralization and narrow measurements of success – as it has been against modern corporate globalization.


pages: 261 words: 81,802

The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig

"Robert Solow", battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, employer provided health coverage, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, laissez-faire capitalism, land tenure, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, very high income, wealth creators, women in the workforce

There can no longer be any confusion about the impact of the set of neoliberal economic policies that have been applied in the UK and the US over the past three decades. The results are unmistakable: these policies have led to a massive shift in income and wealth from the bulk of society to the already-privileged few. Yet, strikingly, this dramatic rise in inequality – coming right after the most egalitarian era in modern Western history – has not led to an overthrow of the neoliberal agenda. There have been plenty of challenges to that agenda, plenty of brilliant critiques, but the agenda has not yet been rejected. The neoliberal economic orthodoxy of the last three decades continues to guide policy in the Anglo-American countries, perpetuating and aggravating levels of inequality that are already extreme by the standards of the developed world. This book is about that dramatic increase in inequality – particularly the extraordinary concentration of wealth at the upper end.


pages: 263 words: 80,594

Stolen: How to Save the World From Financialisation by Grace Blakeley

"Robert Solow", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, Bretton Woods, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, financial intermediation, fixed income, full employment, G4S, gender pay gap, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land value tax, light touch regulation, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, payday loans, pensions crisis, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, Right to Buy, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, road to serfdom, savings glut, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, sovereign wealth fund, the built environment, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, transfer pricing, universal basic income, Winter of Discontent, working-age population, yield curve, zero-sum game

The Conservatives were the true party of working people — they would lower your taxes and inflation, while securing you a job and a home. It was a powerful message, and the polling shows that Thatcher’s victory came on the back of the switched allegiances of many low-income voters. This populist rhetoric was, of course, the thin end of the neoliberal wedge. Thatcher knew that there was little public support for the most important elements of the neoliberal agenda, so she hid her commitments to privatisation and deregulation in the small print. In fact, even those policies that Thatcher did advertise — from going to battle with the unions to reducing the size of the state — were no more popular amongst voters in 1979 than they had been in 1974.27 The lesson of Thatcher’s period in opposition is the importance of extended crises in eroding support for the status quo.


pages: 252 words: 13,581

Cape Town After Apartheid: Crime and Governance in the Divided City by Tony Roshan Samara

conceptual framework, deglobalization, ghettoisation, global village, illegal immigration, late capitalism, moral panic, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, structural adjustment programs, unemployed young men, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, working poor

These are not the only recent conflicts that we can tie to underdevelopment—as evidenced by the spate of xenophobic violence that roiled the city in 2008 and the alleged link between local operatives allied with the African National Congress (ANC) and attacks on organized shack-dwellers from the Kennedy Road settlement in Durban the next year—but they are especially relevant here because they are between the formal governance structures responsible for urban renewal in their official capacity and township communities.1 Mirroring the response to remobilized communities across the nation, the local state has not only been quick to deploy security forces to confront protestors, but has also explicitly framed many of these actions and those who carry them out as criminal.2 In doing so, the state connects gangsters, other “real” criminals, and many community activists, perhaps the most visible township residents from the vantage point of the urban core, through a discourse of criminality, obscuring, or perhaps misrepresenting, the larger, more fundamental conflict between the city’s neoliberal agenda, security, and the demands of communities for socioeconomic development. Considered alongside the troubling rise in complaints by residents against police, the choice by state actors to respond to protests in this way suggests that securitization, itself embedded in neoliberal governance, has generated a form of punitive containment aimed at entire communities.3 The second important consequence of neoliberal governance for the state’s approach to the periphery is the absence of youth development.


There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years by Mike Berners-Lee

air freight, autonomous vehicles, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, dematerialisation, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, food miles, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global village, Hans Rosling, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), land reform, neoliberal agenda, off grid, performance metric, profit motive, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Stephen Hawking, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trickle-down economics, urban planning

Relatively recently we could get away without including global in the list. Here in the Anthropocene, we can’t. That we find it difficult is evidence of the need for more practice. Greed A simple term for individualism. And one of the seven deadly sins. Along with hate and delusion, one of the three roots of 226 ALPHABETICAL QUICK TOUR suffering according to Buddhist philosophy. Greed is the motivation that drives the neoliberal agenda. The opposite of empathy. Would it be simplistic or concise to say that overcoming greed is the secret to wellbeing in the Anthropocene, and everything else in this book is just detail? Greenwash Prevalent, sometimes through wishful thinking, and sometimes deliberate. The easiest way for an environmental consultancy to make a living is to collude in this, and even if you don’t intend to, it is hard to know when you have been sucked in.


pages: 341 words: 89,986

Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made by Tom Wilkinson

Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, double helix, experimental subject, false memory syndrome, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, housing crisis, Kitchen Debate, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, megacity, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, starchitect, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

The deals struck under PFI were in fact appallingly expensive and resulted in the British people paying far more for hospitals than they would have done through raised taxes. This was apparent to many critics from the outset, but its consequences have now become obvious: the interest charged on the loans used to build new hospitals is so high that in order to make repayments other publicly owned facilities are being closed, including accident and emergency departments. If you were a cynic, you might ask if this was not part of the neoliberal agenda from the outset, a hollowing-out of the NHS to make the marketisation of healthcare palatable to the electorate. The dishonest obsession with cutting up-front costs, which has spread throughout British bureaucracy, has also had a devastating effect on the architectural profession. Good design is considered an unnecessary expense, so patrons opt instead for ‘design-build’ contracts, which cut out architects in favour of developers and their in-house design teams.


pages: 403 words: 111,119

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

Scripting the play In 1947, the year before Samuelson published his iconic Circular Flow diagram, a small laissez-faire band of wannabe economic scriptwriters – including Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises and Frank Knight – gathered in the Swiss resort of Mont Pèlerin to start drafting what they hoped would one day become the dominant economic story. Inspired by the pro-market writings of classical liberals such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo they established what they called a ‘neoliberal’ agenda. Its aim, they said, was to push back hard against the threat of state totalitarianism, which was spreading fast thanks to the growing reach of the Soviet Union. But that aim gradually morphed into a hard push for market fundamentalism, and the meaning of ‘neoliberal’ morphed along with it. What’s more, when Paul Samuelson’s diagram appeared – depicting which actors were at the heart of the economy and which were pushed into the wings – it provided the perfect setting for their play.


pages: 515 words: 142,354

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe by Joseph E. Stiglitz, Alex Hyde-White

bank run, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy and hold, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, cashless society, central bank independence, centre right, cognitive dissonance, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, currency peg, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, income inequality, incomplete markets, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, investor state dispute settlement, invisible hand, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, light touch regulation, manufacturing employment, market bubble, market friction, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, neoliberal agenda, new economy, open economy, paradox of thrift, pension reform, pensions crisis, price stability, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the payments system, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Washington Consensus, working-age population

Decisions are going to have to be made in response to a myriad of unforeseen circumstances. There will never be unanimity, but when there are large disparities, it is inevitable that there will be considerable disgruntlement with whatever decision is taken. There are a myriad of detailed issues in which different conceptions of how the economy functions play out, not just the macroeconomic issues of austerity and inflation previously discussed. One aspect of the neoliberal agenda entails privatization. There are strong arguments that governments should focus their attention on those areas where they have a comparative advantage, leaving the private sector to run the rest. Though this principle makes theoretical sense, in practice determining where the government has a comparative advantage is difficult. Experiences around the world have shown a variety of outcomes.


pages: 504 words: 143,303

Why We Can't Afford the Rich by Andrew Sayer

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, asset-backed security, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, collective bargaining, corporate raider, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, David Graeber, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, debt deflation, decarbonisation, declining real wages, deglobalization, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, demand response, don't be evil, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, G4S, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, high net worth, income inequality, information asymmetry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), investor state dispute settlement, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, job automation, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, laissez-faire capitalism, land value tax, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, moral hazard, mortgage debt, negative equity, neoliberal agenda, new economy, New Urbanism, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, patent troll, payday loans, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, popular capitalism, predatory finance, price stability, pushing on a string, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, Steve Jobs, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, universal basic income, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, working poor, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

But, as the Guardian’s Aditya Chakrabortty points out, when it comes to policies, there’s a difference from Tory donors here: whereas the big funders of the Tory party expect and usually get favours, the 15 trade unions that provide Labour with much of its funds get neoliberal policies that reduce the power of working people and allow the rich to take more.17 Such is New Labour’s embrace of the neoliberal agenda. At the time of writing, the Labour leadership is proposing to switch to an opt-in system that would be likely to slash the amount it receives from unions, though it would improve the democratic credentials of the funding. In the US, things are bigger, of course – and worse, though at least they’re a bit more transparent.18 In the 2012 election each candidate spent more than $1 billion! Over 40% of donations to political parties in the US come from the top 0.01%.19 In 2014 in the US, limits on individual donations for each election were raised from $123,000 to $3.6 million.20 Both parties are funded by major companies secure in the knowledge that their sponsees will be compliant.


The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community by David C. Korten

Albert Einstein, banks create money, big-box store, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, death of newspapers, declining real wages, different worldview, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, God and Mammon, Hernando de Soto, Howard Zinn, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, joint-stock company, land reform, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Monroe Doctrine, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, new economy, peak oil, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Project for a New American Century, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, sexual politics, shared worldview, social intelligence, source of truth, South Sea Bubble, stem cell, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, trade route, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, World Values Survey

In addition to the measures noted above, military expenditures were increased, and the abandonment of antitrust enforcement allowed for ever larger corporate mergers. Europe, Canada, and Japan were pressured to similarly “modernize” their economies. The third-world debt crisis of 1982 created the necessary pretext for the IMF and World Bank — operating under the direction of the U.S. Treasury Department — to impose the neoliberal agenda on indebted low-income countries. Through their structural-adjustment programs, the IMF and World Bank stripped governments, some democratically elected, of their ability to set and enforce social, environmental, and workplace standards or even to give preference to firms that hired locally or employed union workers. After the Republican Ronald Reagan, the presidency passed to the Republican George H.


EuroTragedy: A Drama in Nine Acts by Ashoka Mody

"Robert Solow", Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, availability heuristic, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, book scanning, Bretton Woods, call centre, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, credit crunch, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, Donald Trump, eurozone crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, George Akerlof, German hyperinflation, global supply chain, global value chain, hiring and firing, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, inflation targeting, Irish property bubble, Isaac Newton, job automation, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, loadsamoney, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, low-wage service sector, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, neoliberal agenda, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, pension reform, premature optimization, price stability, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Republic of Letters, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, short selling, Silicon Valley, The Great Moderation, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, too big to fail, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, working-age population, Yogi Berra

The combination fed anti-​government and anti-​European sentiment.129 Italian workers protested.130 Grillo linked his criticism of the Jobs Act with a renewed call to exit the eurozone.131 Thus, as the eurozone “elite” and Italian employers cheered, large segments of the Italian population positioned themselves on the other side of the political debate. To those who were economically vulnerable, the Jobs Act was more evidence that the European establishment was pursuing a “neoliberal” agenda that took away economic security but offered little hope in return. Renzi’s real task was harder: to give people greater opportunities to increase their skills, with which they would be more likely to get well-​paying jobs. European politicians speak often and glowingly of this alternative. However, only Scandinavian nations have made significant headway toward the objective. Especially in southern Europe, politicians have remained unwilling or unable to invest sufficient energy in setting up the infrastructure and establishing the incentives to expand educational and skill-development options commensurate with evolving international standards.