The Limited Persuasiveness of the Neoliberal Ideology
2nd International Conference in Contemporary Social Sciences, Rethymno, 15 - 16 June 2018
23 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2018
Date Written: June 15, 2018
During the last three decades the basic neoliberal positions remain dominant and comprise the main directions for policy-making in the majority of advanced countries. The central pillars of neoliberalism are the market and the individual, while the basic neoliberal objective is “the retreat of the public boundaries”, on the basis that unregulated capitalism in the market is more effective towards growth and general prosperity. In other words, the economy, according to neoliberal thinkers, operates more efficiently without governmental interventions. While unregulated market capitalism is effective and leads to economic growth and expanded prosperity, public intervention undermine individual initiative and discourage entrepreneurship. Thus, governmental intervention, even if it possesses rational and ethically tolerable intentions, has an inhibiting effect on economic activity. Specifically, for neo-liberals the promotion of the private interests refers to a procedure that is regarded as a good practice while the promotion of the public could create several disparities. Such ideas are linked to a form of extreme individualism, as expressed in Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement that “there is no society, only individuals and their families”. The intervening state is considered a mechanism that cultivates a culture of dependence and thus undermines freedom, which is understood as a freedom of choice. On the other hand, self-help, individual responsibility and entrepreneurship, are supported by neoliberals. In general, these ideas are thought to be promoted through the process of globalization, which is often characterized as “neoliberal globalization” (Heywood, 2000: 83). The basic neoliberal policies include privatization, reduction of public spending, deregulation, tax cuts (mainly in businesses and direct taxes) and welfare state policies’ dismantling. In this context and for more than three decades, neoliberalism was the dominant economic ideology. While, as an ideology, emerged unharmed from the global economic crisis of 2008-9, neoliberalism is now exposed - more than ever - to several critiques which claim that it has failed to fulfill its initial and fundamental promises-objectives. This study aims to analyze the basic parameters of neoliberalism in order to investigate the level of persuasiveness of the neoliberal ideology.
Keywords: Neoliberalism, State, Individual, Crisis, Market Economy, Welfare
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