Whatever is Neo-Liberalism?
By The Mutualist / whatever-ism.blogspot.co.uk

Neo-liberalism, like capitalism, is not usually a consciously accepted ideology it is a descriptive term. In fact neo-liberalism is best understood as the particular form and stage of capitalism that we are suffering under at this present time. Thomas G Clarke of 'Another Angry Voice' (a fellow UK left-libertarian with an ever so slightly more popular blog than this one) says that neo-liberalism is characterised by policies such as privatisation, de-regulation, globalisation and tax cuts. Sounds quite libertarian no? Well it might sound that way but let me assure you it is about as libertarian as Josef Stalin. Let's have a bash at seeing why, eh?

Privatisation

Some times there is a language problem here, right wing libertarians talk of 'private property', left wing libertarians talk of 'personal possessions', although they are not quite the same thing there is significant cross over between the two. Private property to right-libertarians goes a little something like this: A thing is your legitimate private property if you mixed your labour with an un-owned natural resource or acquired it through some kind of voluntary transfer from someone else who was a legitimate owner. So privatisation seems like it might be something to do with the state returning stolen stuff. You couldn't be more wrong. 

The state does not steal for itself directly, even though politicians and top civil servants are paid quite generously their wealth is meagre compared to Society's richest capitalists:

This list of smirking idiots starts with the Duke of Westminster with about £14 billion:

http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/nation/britains-10-richest-billionaires-in-2014/ 

Or check out this extract from an article in the Guardian about land ownership:

"The UK is 60m acres in extent, and two-thirds of it is owned by 0.36% of the population, or 158,000 families. A staggering 24m families live on the 3m acres of the nation's "urban plot" – and not surprisingly buy into the idea that Britain is a severely overcrowded country in which land is extremely scarce."

(http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/aug/07/tim-adams-who-owns-Britain)

David Cameron and his chums might be worth a few million or so each but they aren't exactly in the billionaires club. The state acts as the armed wing of the wealthiest 1% in society. In the USA this was proven in a study:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10769041/The-US-is-an-oligarchy-study-concludes.html 

(I don't need a study to know full well that it's true here too!). Instead of making money for itself the state rigs trade to ensure that wealth flows upwards and does not remain with workers. 

Let's take an example that has been big news recently; the privatisation of the NHS. The NHS was paid for by money that was taken from the people (all taxes are taxes on the people, Capitalists simply pass on the charge to workers and consumers, they never take a hit personally). The understanding was that in return we would be provided with a health care system that was quite good and was free to use, no one would be getting rich off the taxes we all paid in, we'd simply be provided with services. 

Now as much as I don't agree to people having money forcefully removed from them the original deal was one of the nicer things that the state could have done with the money it took. Of  course some people were always going to be getting rich, big pharmaceutical companies were vying for contracts to provide medicines, companies supplying medical equipment were making big money etc. but on the whole the actual provision of the health care service was just a taxpayer funded service. Now, the privatisation of this service doesn't mean that all the people who paid for it are going to get their money back, it means that now, all the stuff you and I paid for is getting sold on to people who have the intention to make a profit on it, to make a profit off the money that you have no choice but to pay or go to jail... hmmmm it's starting to sound a bit less than libertarian already!

De-regulation

Surely, surely de-regulation is libertarian?! Not a chance my friend! If it did exactly what it said on the tin and applied to everyone equally we could talk about the libertarian case for de-regulation but de-regulation in this sense simply means making life much easier for banks and corporations. But banks and corporations are private sector right? Part of the free market? Let me quote Mr Kevin Carson on the extent to which banks and corporations are part of any free market:

"...the state creates and maintains the fictitious legal infrastructure of corporate “personhood”, limited liability laws, government contracts, loans, guarantees, purchases of goods, price controls, regulatory privilege, grants of monopolies, protectionist tariffs and trade policies, bankruptcy laws, military intervention to gain access to international markets and protect foreign investments, regulating or prohibiting organized labor activity, eminent domain, discriminatory taxation, ignoring corporate crimes and countless other forms of state-imposed favors and privileges". 

The relationship between the government and business is not limited to some small band of cronies, it is the point. Corporations and the government are so entangled in one another that it would be hard to tell them apart, in fact there is no point in trying to tell them apart. De-regulating corporations is about the same thing as de-regulating the police or the military, not very libertarian at all!

Globalisation

Ah yes, this is that whole 'no boders' thing libertarians are always going on about right? Wrong! Globalisation is about freeing up capital, not people. In a globalised world capital and goods are free to cross national borders but people are severely restricted. Globalisation is simply another word for neo-colonialism. It's not even that goods and capital are being freely traded around the world it's a wealth transfer from poor nations to rich nations, characterised by monopoly rents on intellectual property, land grabbing, military interventions and economic sanctions on countries that won't play ball etc.

What is known as 'austerity' in the UK is not some noble plan for the state to shrink back to a more responsible size it is one piece in a global jigsaw that very few have been able to comprehend. The same jigsaw contains third world debt, the introduction of water charges in Ireland, land grabs from natives in Papua New Guinea, oil wars in the middle east.  This globalist aspect of neo-liberalism has accelerated considerably since the end of the cold war through so called "free trade" pacts and organisations like the World Bank, the World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund as well as the UN and the EU. Private tyrannies, completely untouchable controlling everything we consume, from food to information in a smaller and smaller collection hands is the new name of the game and it is happening everywhere. To the point that new regulations now being introduced look set to make it possible for big corporations to sue governments for loss of earnings, if you think that sounds vaguely libertarian then you are forgetting who funds the government!

Tax cuts

I'll believe that when I see it. Whilst it is always the people who pay for the state, never the capitalists, the burden of taxation can fall more heavily on some demographics than others depending on the system of taxation used. Tax cuts means cutting for some and winning it back from others, it's a game, no one is trying to make your life more free and easy here, everyone is wondering how they can squeeze and extra penny out of you and whether that is through profiteering or taxation doesn't really matter anyway. 

Conclusion

This has been your left-libertarian guide to neo-liberalism. Remember, power is always hostile and don't believe the hype. Unfortunately equal numbers of leftists and rightists have bought into the ruling classes 'free market' propaganda. There is nothing remotely free about any of it.

 

4.3 ·
2
What's Next
Trending Today
93 Documentaries to Expand Your Consciousness
Films For Action · 10,261 views today · There are over 800 documentaries now cataloged in our library of social change films. That's probably way too many for any mortal to ever watch in a lifetime, let alone a few...
Social Media Echo Chambers: Here's How Most of Us are Living in One
2 min · 4,091 views today · Americans are blocking out the friends and news sites that won't confirm their views.
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 3,578 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
This Short Film Plays Out Like an Epic Movie That Will Shake Your Soul - But the Movie Is Real, and We are The Actors
6 min · 3,438 views today · For next year, we need a resolution capable of confronting the crisis we face, and making a future worth fighting for. This short film looks back on the crisis and confusion...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 3,239 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Why We Need Big Picture Activism
Helena Norberg-Hodge · 2,498 views today · Despite the countless grassroots projects already under way, the global economic juggernaut can seem too powerful to stop. But because more and more of us are becoming aware of...
The Daily Show's Trevor Noah Talks With Conservative Host Tomi Lahren
14 min · 2,328 views today · "Tomi" host Tomi Lahren gives her take on the Black Lives Matter movement and explains why she lashed out against Colin Kaepernick for his national anthem protest.
Where Do You Draw the Line? (2016)
60 min · 2,023 views today · Why is the Ecuadorian government proposing to extract oil in an area frequently classified by ecologists as one of the most bio-diverse rainforest regions left intact on earth?...
How Mindfulness Empowers Us
2 min · 1,407 views today · Many traditions speak of the opposing forces within us, vying for our attention. Native American stories speak of two wolves, the angry wolf and the loving wolf, who both live...
Escape! From the Cult of Materialism (2016)
50 min · 1,277 views today · Does the philosophy of materialism work to destroy our identities, experience, and environment? Join narrator Daphne Ellis on a radical romp through the evidence and decide for...
Law Professor's Epic Response to Black Lives Matter Shirt Complaint
Social Design Notes · 1,022 views today · A first year law school student wrote a complaint about her professor having worn a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during class. The professor’s response is priceless. Scans of...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 921 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
How a Land High in the Western Himalayas Can Help Us Understand The Crisis of The Modern World
9 min · 904 views today · This is a clip from The Economics of Happiness. Watch it here. It's a brilliant film that was easy to put at the top of our list of the top 100 documentaries we can use to...
Who's Really to Blame for Fake News? Look in the Mirror, America.
Neal Gabler · 845 views today · Consider for a moment the oxymoronic concept of “fake news,” which we have been hearing so much about lately. This isn’t your typical disinformation or misinformation —...
Bernie Sanders: Carrier Just Showed Corporations How to Beat Donald Trump
Bernie Sanders · 698 views today · We need a president who can stand up to big corporations, not fold to their demands.
The Most Mind-Altering Photograph of All Time
4 min · 626 views today · Carl Sagan narrates the story of the Pale Blue Dot, the one place we all call home. 
The 6 Grand Illusions That Keep Us Enslaved
Sigmund Fraud · 551 views today · For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the...
South Koreans Are Really Good at Protesting
2 min · 542 views today · South Koreans organize some of the largest and most peaceful protests in the world. Here's what makes them so good at protesting.
Corporate Giants' "Sustainable" Palm Oil Revealed as Sham
Nika Knight · 466 views today · Nestlé, Kellogg's, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and others are linked to child labor and forced labor in Indonesia
What Humans Are Really Doing to Our Planet, in 19 Jaw-Dropping Images
Michael McCutcheon · 416 views today · Last week, Pope Francis and church officials encouraged everyone to consume less and think more about our impact on the environment. It's a timely warning because the next six...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Whatever is Neo-Liberalism?