Reflection and Evaluation Essay

Submitted By Noura-Alamri
Words: 1075
Pages: 5

A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey

Oxford University Press, 2005

Neoliberalism – a theory of political economic practices proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.

The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework approp riate to such practices. The state has to guarantee, for example, the quality and integrity of money. It must also set up those military, defence, police, and legal structures and functions required to secure private property rights and to guarantee, by force if need be, the proper functioning of markets. Furthermore, if markets do not exist (in areas such as land, water, education, health care, social security, or environmental pollution) then they must be created, by state action if necessary. But beyond these tasks the state should not venture. (p.2)

Neoliberalism values market exchange as ‘an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide to all human action, and substituting for all previously held ethical beliefs’. (p.3)

‘Time-space compression’ (p.4)

‘Embedded liberalism’ – market processes and entrepreneurial and corporate activities were surrounded by a web of social and political constraints and a regulatory environment that sometimes restrained but in other instances led the way in economic and industrial strategy. (…) Redistributive politics (including some degree of political integration of working-class trade union power and support for collective bargaining), controls over the free mobility of capital (some degree of financial repression through capital controls in particular), expanded public expenditures and welfare state-building, active state interventions in the economy, and some degree of planning of development. (p.11)

The rise of neoliberal theory – A small and exclusive group of passionate advocates––mainly academic economists, historians, and philosophers––had gathered together around the renowned Austrian political philosopher Friedrich von Hayek to create the Mont Pelerin Society (named after the Swiss spa where they first met) in 1947 (the notables included Ludvig von Mises, the economist Milton Friedman, and even, for a time, the noted philosopher Karl Popper)… This movement remained on the margins of both policy and academic influence until the troubled years of the 1970s. At that point it began to move centre-stage, particularly in the US and Britain, nurtured in various well-financed think-tanks (offshoots of the Mont Pelerin Society, such as the Institute of Economic Affairs in London and the Heritage Foundation in Washington), as well as through its growing influence within the academy, particularly at the University of Chicago, where Milton Friedman dominated… The dramatic consolidation of neoliberalism as a new economic orthodoxy regulating public policy at the state level in the advanced capitalist world occurred in the United States and Britain in 1979 (Reagan and Thatcher). Pp.19-23

Neoliberalization as a political project to re-establish the conditions for capital accumulation and to restore the power of economic elites. (p.19)

Neoliberalization has meant, in short, the financialization of everything (p.33).

While neoliberalization may have been about the restoration of class power, it has not necessarily meant the restoration of economic power to the same people. (p. 31)

Nevertheless, there are some general trends that can be identified.

The first is for the privileges of ownership and management of capitalist enterprises––traditionally separated––to fuse by paying CEOs (managers) in stock options (ownership titles).

The second trend has been to dramatically reduce the historical gap between money capital earning dividends and interest, on the one hand, and production, manufacturing, or merchant capital looking to gain profits on the