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
18 Empowering Illustrations to Remind Everyone Who's Really in Charge of Women's Bodies
Julianne Ross · 18,206 views today · When Brazilian graphic designer Carol Rossetti began posting colorful illustrations of women and their stories to Facebook, she had no idea how popular they would...
Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure
Daniel Quinn · 10,359 views today · PART ONE A fable to start with Once upon a time life evolved on a certain planet, bringing forth many different social organizations—packs, pods, flocks, troops, herds, and...
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 8,583 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
Lawns Are for Suckers. Plant a Garden - for the Climate!
Nathanael Johnson · 4,741 views today · Ripping out your lawn and planting kale and peppers won’t just lead to great stir-fry — a new study finds it could make major contributions to fighting climate change...
You Should Get Naked More Often. It's Good for You.
Joni Sweet · 3,168 views today · When Nelly encouraged overheated people worldwide to get naked in 2002, he was unknowingly advocating much more than just a sexy, sweaty dance party. Sunbathing, sleeping...
Solidarity Is About What You Do - Not Who You Are.
R.L. Stephens · 2,294 views today · I am Black. I capitalize Black and leave white lowercased. Sure, it’s the accepted spelling, but really I do it because it feels good. My family lived in Missouri, but my...
How Native Americans Managed "Wild" Land Long Before Settlers
Sami Grover · 2,261 views today · When European settlers first came to North America, they assumed they were looking at "untouched" nature. Sure, there were native peoples, but history tells us they didn't...
A New Story for Humanity (2016)
102 min · 1,941 views today · Inspired by the New Story Summit at the Findhorn Foundation: a sold-out multicultural, multigenerational inquiry into a new story for humanity, attended by change makers and...
Bioregional Quiz: How Well Do You Know the Place in Which You Live?
Rua Lupa · 1,607 views today · In the vast emptiness of space there are an unimaginable number of galaxies, each galaxy containing billions upon billions of stars. Looking at one galaxy we find an average...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,409 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Gabor Maté: Why Our Culture Makes So Many Of Us Unhappy
3 min · 1,351 views today · Dr. Gabor Maté explains why it is that our culture makes so many of us unhappy, unkind to one another, miserable, alienated from ourselves, etc. Watch the full interview in Part 2.
Masculinity Is Killing Men: The Roots of Men and Trauma
Kali Holloway · 965 views today · We begin the damaging process of turning boys into men long before boyhood ends.
Why You Should Take Your Kids Out of School
Ben Hewitt · 879 views today · We don't need no education. At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet...
Why People's Opinions of You Aren't Real
4 min · 712 views today · "You are what you love and not what loves you." - From Charlie Kaufman's film "Adaptation"
How Stress Affects Your Brain
4 min · 689 views today · Stress isn’t always a bad thing; it can be handy for a burst of extra energy and focus, like when you’re playing a competitive sport or have to speak in public. But when it’s...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 651 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
It Didn't Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are
Mark Wolynn · 646 views today · The past is never dead. It’s not even past. — William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 613 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
What Is Universal Basic Income?
2 min · 568 views today · What is Universal Basic Income? Everyone's talking about a 'citizen's income' or 'basic income', but what on earth is it?! It sounds like a Utopian dream, but support for a...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 524 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Whatever is Neo-Liberalism?