Saturday, March 02, 2019

Scholars on Neoliberalism

The literature on neoliberalism is large. Here are some scholarly books on this subject or on related matters:

I think this literature has some common themes:

  • Neoliberalism was always a global project. (Is there a whole literature on Latin America I am missing?)
  • Markets are not natural, but a society organized around such must be created by a system of laws, along with instilling a "common sense" in the population so governed.
  • Neoliberalism must be accompanied by control on or limitations of democracy.
  • The development of neoliberalism was funded by extremely wealthy individuals around the world, who sought to prevent their project from receiving public scrutiny.
  • Those academics funded to develop apologetics and guidance were always interdisciplinary, including those specializing in law and international relations, as well as in economics.

The literature also contains disagreements, including what institutions, groups, and individuals to emphasize in telling the story of the project of imposing neoliberalism on the world.


Emil Bakkum said...

What is your definition of neoliberalism?

Robert Vienneau said...

I guess my second bullet point is as close to a definition as I want to get. It is a matter of creating a legal and institution framework for organizing a society around markets, along with instilling a "common sense" in the population so governed. The "Neo" comes from realizing a night watchman state won't get you there.

But it is not the kind of thing admitting of a precise definition. One would want to talk about the Mont Pelerin Society, the Washington consensus, Charles Peters and the Washington Monthly (in the USA), and so on.

A apropos of nothing in particular, I am amused by this twitter thread.