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Anchored in the principles of the free-market economics, "neoliberalism" has been associated with such different political leaders as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Augusto Pinochet, and Junichiro Koizumi. In its heyday during the late 1990s, neoliberalism emerged as the world's dominant economic paradigm, stretching from the Anglo-American heartlands of capitalism to the former communist bloc all the way to the developing regions of the global South. Today, however, neoliberalism has...
Anchored in the principles of the free-market economics, "neoliberalism" has been associated with such different political leaders as Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Augusto Pinochet, and Junichiro Koizumi. In its heyday during the late 1990s, neoliberalism emerged as the world's dominant economic paradigm, stretching from the Anglo-American heartlands of capitalism to the former communist bloc all the way to the developing regions of the global South. Today, however, neoliberalism has been discredited as the global economy, built on its principles, has been shaken to its core by the worst financial calamity since the 1930s. Is neoliberalism doomed or will it regain its former status? Will the new U.S. President Barack Obama embrace or reject the neoliberal agenda of his predecessors in the White House? And how will his decision impact the current global economic order? Is there a viable alternative to neoliberalism? Exploring the origins, core claims, and various forms of neoliberalism, this Very Short Introduction offers a concise and accessible introduction to one of the most debated "isms" of our time.
1. What's 'Neo' about Liberalism?
2. First-Wave Neoliberalism in the 1980s: Reaganomics and Thatcherism
3. Second-Wave Neoliberalism in the 1990s: Clinton's Market Globalism and Blair's Third Way
4. Neoliberalism and Asian Development
5. Neoliberalism in Latin America and Africa
6. Crises of Neoliberalism: The 2000s and Beyond References
Posted August 16, 2011
The "Neoliberalism" is a term that denotes several political and economic policies that have strongly shaped the global economy over the past thirty years. It has its intellectual roots in the in classical liberalism and the opposition to Keynesian economics. However, as a governing policy it is most closely associated with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. These two figures had more or less managed to put into practice a political philosophy that had been almost completely relegated to the realm of obscure think-tank thinking. Their success in this regard has been so thorough that almost all economic and political institutions, from all sides of the political spectrum, have been operating within some form of neoliberal paradigm ever since. Neoliberalism is usually associated with the political right, but there are several more or less important aspects of it that distinguish it from other right-leaning philosophies, and this book does a very good job at explaining the differences between them. In particular, it contrasts neoliberalism with economic nationalism that time and time again resurfaces in it various manifestations in right-wing political movements throughout the World.
One of the book's strong points is that it provides a global context for neoliberalism. It shows how it has been implemented on all six continents, and it discusses particular local circumstances that give neoliberalism a distinct flavor in various countries. The book, however, is a bit too quick to point out all the limitations of the neoliberal policies, and I feel it sometimes uses unnecessarily harsh language to characterize certain political actions that are deemed contrary to neoliberal principles. The final chapter deals with the current global economic crisis. Here one almost gets a sense that the authors are engaging in a form of schadenfreude at the apparent failings of neoliberalism. Whether neoliberalism has really run its course or not, or whether it really is a sustainable political philosophy in a long run, the history will still have to decide.
Overall, this is a very interesting and informative book. It is great introduction to main salient points of what neoliberalism, and well worth the read.