>>>  Laatst gewijzigd: 15 mei 2019  
Ik

Woorden en Beelden

Filosofie en de waan van de dag

Start Glossen Weblog Boeken Denkwerk

Maatschappijvisies

Voorkant Steger-Roy 'Neoliberalism - A very small introduction' Manfred B. STEGER / Ravi K. ROY
Neoliberalism - A very small introduction
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010; ISBN-13: 978 01 9956 0516; 150 blzn.

[Dit boekje geeft in kort bestek een overzicht van wat neoliberalisme inhoudt als ideologie en als benadering in economisch beleid. Het schildert de verschillende fasen in de ontwikkeling ervan, van klassiek liberalisme, via uitwerkingen van de ideologie door Hayek en Friedman, naar het economisch beleid van Reagan en Thatcher, later van Clinton en Blair, en vele andere politici. Ook de economische globalisering komt aan de orde.]

[Kernprobleem is natuurlijk of de vrije markt wel zichzelf reguleert zoals de neoliberalen zeggen. Historisch blijkt daar maar bitter weinig van: de DLP-formule (deregulering, liberalisering, privatisering) samen met belastingverlagingen voor het bedrijfsleven en de rijken, met het terugdringen van sociale dienstverlening, met het verkleinen van de regeringen, met een flexibilisering van arbeid en het terugdringen van vakbondsinvloed, met minder controle op geldstromen en de financiële markten levert misschien iets op voor de rijke elite, maar lost economische problemen niet op, integendeel. Met de kredietcrisis van 2008 ligt de ideologie dan ook zwaar onder vuur.]

(ix) Preface

Globalisering - ondersteund door computertechniek - is een opvallend kenmerk van de laatste decennia. Het is echter niet alleen een globalisering van mogelijkheden (bv. snelle uitwisseling van producten wereldwijd), maar ook een globalisering van problemen (bv. de opwarming van de aarde). Het simpele idee dat het globale kapitalisme een zegen is voor de mensheid is inmiddels ook wel achterhaald.

"Triumphalist voices who once saw the collapse of Soviet communism as the ‘end of history’ and the beginning of the unchallenged rule of American-style free-market capitalism have been silenced as the new century has remained an ideological battlefield where all kinds of competing political ideologies vie for the hearts and minds of a global audience."(ix)

Het neoliberalisme is er daar een van. Omdat er heel verschillende ideeën, politieke uitwerkingen en gevoelswaarden aan opgehangen worden een analyse van dit begrip.

(1) What's 'neo' about liberalism?

Het 16e/17e eeuwse mercantilisme met zijn regulatie door de overheid staat tegenover het latere economische denken van Adam Smith: geen staatsingrijpen, vrije markt, zelfregulatie, privé-bezit, juridische regelingen. Daarmee is meteen het kernprobleem gegeven waarover vrijwel alle discussies hier gaan: regulatie door de overheid tegenover zelfregulatie door de vrije markt.

"Dedicated to the protection of private property and the legal enforcement of contracts, classical liberals argued that the ‘invisible hand’ of the market ensured the most efficient and effective allocation of resources while facilitating peaceful commercial intercourse among nations."(3)

Na de Grote Depressie van 1929 was dat moeilijk meer vol te houden.

"The fury and longevity of the Great Depression convinced leading economic thinkers like John Maynard Keynes and Karl Polanyi that government was much more than a mere 'night watchman' – the role assigned to the state by classical liberals. At the same time, however, Keynes and his new breed of 'egalitarian liberals' disagreed with Marxists who saw the persistence of economic crises as evidence for the coming collapse of capitalism and the victory of a 'revolutionary proletariat' that had seen through the 'ideological distortions' of the 'ruling bourgeoisie': never again would workers fall into the clever trap of accepting their own exploitation in the name of highsounding liberal ideals like 'freedom', 'opportunity', and 'hard work'. Seeking to prevent revolution by means of economic reform, egalitarian liberals like Prime Minister Clement Atlee and President Franklin D. Roosevelt remained staunch defenders of individual autonomy and property rights. And yet, they criticized classical liberalism for its inability to recognize that modern capitalism had to be subjected to certain regulations and controls by a strong secular state."(5-6)

Keynes

Keynes stelt een egalitair liberalisme voor waarin meer staatsregulatie plaats vindt (bv. om banen te scheppen of om investeringen te stimuleren). Zijn ideeën worden als uitgangspunt gekozen tijdens de Bretton Woods Conferentie van 1944. Het IMF, de World Bank, de GATT, de WTO worden organisaties om wereldwijd crises te beheersen. Vandaar de term 'controlled capitalism' waarvan in de periode 1945-1975 sprake is:
--het ging om een controle van internationale geldstromen;
--rijken en goedlopende bedrijven werden belast;
--welvaartstaat: stijgende lonen en uitgebreide sociale voorzieningen;
--vakbonden spelen een rol.

Het succes van die aanpak duurde drie decennia. Met de oliecrisis (prijzen verviervoudigden van de ene op de andere dag door de aanpak van de OPEC) en de stagflatie van de 1970-er jaren (meer inflatie, dalende winsten, werkloosheid; weer crisis dus) kwam het neoliberale denken opnieuw op: oude opvattingen over vrije markt en vrije handel maar nu geplaatst in een wereldwijd kader.

"In the three decades following World War II, modern egalitarian liberalism delivered spectacular economic growth rates, high wages, low inflation, and unprecedented levels of material wellbeing and social security. But this golden age of controlled capitalism ground to a halt with the severe economic crises of the 1970s. In response to such unprecedented calamities as 'oil shocks' that quadrupled the price of petrol overnight, the simultaneous occurrence of runaway inflation and rising unemployment ('stagflation'), and falling corporate profits, an entirely new breed of liberals sought a way forward by reviving the old doctrine of classical liberalism under the novel conditions of globalization."(9)

[Ook hier geen verdere uitwerking en analyse van die overgang. Waarom kwam er nu precies een einde aan die welvarende periode tot aan de 1970-er jaren? Waarom voldeed het Keynes-model niet meer? Waarom kon overheidsregulatie het ineens niet meer redden? Welke rol speelde de Koude Oorlog eigenlijk? Ik krijg almaar geen antwoord op die vragen. Verder was dat neoliberalisme - even simpel gezegd: het economische denken van Hayek, Friedman en de Chicago-boys - al lang voor de 1970-er jaren aanwezig aan de universiteiten en in de politiek van de USA / UK. Het is geen reactie op de crises van die periode. Zie vanaf p.15.]

"As we shall discuss in Chapters 2 and 3, they argued that crippling government regulation, exorbitant public spending, and high tariff barriers to international trade had been responsible for creating conditions that led to high inflation and poor economic growth throughout the industrial countries in the 1970s. Once this premise became widely accepted, it was the logical next step to claim that these factors remained the major impediment to successful economic development in the global South. Thus was born a global neoliberal development agenda based primarily on so-called 'structural adjustment programmes' and international free-trade agreements. As we shall see in Chapters 4 and 5, powerful economic institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank imposed their neoliberal agenda on heavily indebted developing countries in return for much-needed loans. The 1991 demise of the Soviet Union and the acceleration of market-oriented reforms in communist China led to the unprecedented dominance of the neoliberal model in the 1990s."(10)

Met alle economische crises vanaf 2000 ligt dat neoliberalisme zelf weer onder vuur. Het neoliberalisme wordt hier bekeken vanuit drie perspectieven. Neoliberalisme is er als ideologie, als een bestuursvorm, en als een beleidsvorm.

Ideologie

"Ideologies are systems of widely shared ideas and patterned beliefs that are accepted as truth by significant groups in society. Such ‘isms’ serve as indispensable conceptual maps because they guide people through the complexity of their political worlds. They not only offer a more or less coherent picture of the world as it is, but also as it ought to be. In doing so, ideologies organize their core ideas into fairly simple truth-claims that encourage people to act in certain ways. These claims are assembled by codifiers of ideologies to legitimize certain political interests and to defend or challenge dominant power structures. The codifiers of neoliberalism are global power elites that include managers and executives of large transnational corporations, corporate lobbyists, influential journalists and public-relations specialists, intellectuals writing for a large public audience, celebrities and top entertainers, state bureaucrats, and politicians."(11)

Op die manier is ook de vrije markt etc. door allerlei beïnvloeders aantrekkelijk verpakt als een ideologie die zegt dat de vrije markt zorgt voor alle wwelvaart etc.

Bestuur en beleid

Volgens het neoliberale denken moet de staat zich in haar politiek gedragen alsof het een bedrijf leidt: alle managementtools uit de economie moeten daar ook gebruikt worden. Het moet de staat niet meer gaan om het stimuleren van de 'civic society' of om sociale rechtvaardigheid, maar om getallen, planning, kosten, efficiëntie en zo verder terwijl burgers daarbij als klanten gezien worden. Sinds de 1980-er jaren is deze nieuwe vorm van openbaar bestuur ('public management') sterk opgekomen.

Deze aanpak wordt wel aangeduid met de DLP-formule: deregulering (van de economie), liberalisering (van handel en industrie), privatisering (van staatsbedrijven en -taken). Daarmee wordt steeds gepleit voor belastingverlagingen voor het bedrijfsleven en de rijken, voor het terugdringen van sociale dienstverlening, voor het verkleinen van de regeringen, voor een flexibilisering van arbeid, voor het terugdringen van vakbondsinvloed, voor urbanisatie, voor minder controle op geldstromen en de financiële markten.

Daarnaast gaat deze ideologie vaak samen met (neo)conservatieve waarden als het centraal stellen van het gezin, een streng optreden tegen criminelen, militarisering.

Ontstaan

De ideologie van het neoliberalisme is al vanaf 1947 geformuleerd door mensen als Hayek.

"Although neoliberalism comes in several varieties, one can find the first systematic formulation of its economic principles in the Mont Pelerin Society. Founded in 1947 by Friedrich August von Hayek, an influential member of the early 20th-century Austrian School of Economics, the Society attracted like-minded intellectuals committed to strengthening the principles and practice of a ‘free society’ by studying the workings and virtues of market-oriented economic systems. Vowing to stem what they saw as the ‘rising tide of collectivism’ – be it Marxism or even less radical forms of state-centred planning – Hayek and his colleagues sought to revive classical liberalism in their attempt to challenge the dominance of Keynesian ideas."(15)

"The neoliberal principles advocated by Hayek’s Mont Pelerin Society greatly influenced the American economist Milton Friedman, winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize. The charismatic leader of the Chicago School of Economics (based at the University of Chicago), Friedman had an influential hand in guiding neoliberalism from constituting a mere minority view in the 1950s to becoming the ruling economic orthodoxy in the 1990s."(16)

Met Friedman werd het bestrijden van inflatie het belangrijkst: monetaire politiek. Friedman's opvattingen kregen o.a. grote invloed omdat kinderen van de elites in de ontwikkelingslanden aan Amerikaanse universiteiten studeerden en zo die neoliberale opvattingen overnamen en mee terug namen naar hun eigen land. Een flinke impuls is ook de dwang die IMF etc. spelen - op basis van de neoliberale 'Washington Consensus' - in de restructurering van nationale economieën die om leningen moeten vragen.

"As we shall see in ensuing chapters, neoliberalism soon spread to other parts of the world – often by means of so-called 'shock therapies' devised by prominent neoliberal economists. Examples include Chile after General Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 CIA-supported coup, the economic transformation of formerly communist Eastern Europe, and post-Apartheid South Africa. In some cases, domestic elites, educated in elite universities abroad, embraced neoliberalism enthusiastically. Others adopted it only grudgingly because they felt that they had no choice but to swallow the bitter pill of structural adjustment demands that inevitably accompanied much-needed IMF or World Bank loan offers. "(19)

[Die ideologie was dus al sterk in opkomst vóór de crises van de 1970-er jaren. Hoe? Wat speelde daarin een rol? Ik denk de Koude Oorlog en met name de Amerikaanse politiek daarin: de ideologie moest dienen als tegenwicht tegenover de communistische ideologie in al zijn variaties zoals in het Oostblok en in een aantal ontwikkelingslanden. Maar ik heb nog geen goed relaas van de feiten hier. Naomi Klein is de enige die ik tot nu toe las die enorm veel werk maakt van het boven tafel halen van wat er nu eigenlijk gebeurde. ]

(21) Chapter 2 - First-wave neoliberalism in the 1980s: Reaganomics and Thatcherism

"The rise of neoliberalism in the English-speaking world is most notably associated with US President Ronald Reagan (1981–8) and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979–90). Their fervent campaign to put an end to Keynesian-style 'big government' was shared by the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (1975–83) and the Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (1984–93). These political leaders not only articulated the core ideological claims of neoliberalism but also sought to convert them into public policies and programmes. What distinguished Reagan and Thatcher from many other neoliberals, however, was their remarkable resolve to stand by their principles even when it was politically risky or inconvenient to do so."(21)

[Een andere vraag die steeds weer terugkomt: Waarom slaagde 'links' er al die tijd niet in om een politieke visie en politiek beleid te formuleren dat niet leed aan de kwalen van de communistische en neoliberale ideologie?]

Thatcher en Reagan koppelden neoliberalisme aan neoconservatisme ('law & order'; militarisme; expansionisme) en werden daarbij ondersteund door conservatie 'think tanks' als het Centre for Policy Studies, het Institute of Economic Affairs, het Adam Smith Institute, het Institute of Directors (UK); het American Enterprise Institute, het Cato Institute, de Heritage Foundation (USA).

[Bedenk daarbij dat die conservatieve instituten allemaal tot stand kwamen en bleven bestaan door bijdragen van rijke bedrijven en particulieren. De rijken kopen hun ideologie, iets wat de armen nooit zullen kunnen doen.]

De aanpak is bekend: verlaging van de belastingen, verhogen van de uitgaven voor het militaire apparaat, daardoor een begrotingstekort, wat aan gepakt wordt door de uitgaven voor sociale voorzieningen in te perken. Gevolgen bijvoorbeeld: groeiende kloof tussen rijk en arm; groeiende staatsschuld; speculatie op de financiële markten door deregulering van het financiële systeem; groeiende gerichtheid op korte-termijn winst en op risicovolle financiëele producten als 'junk bonds'; fusies, vijandige overnames, en ontslagen waardoor crashes in okt. 1987 en 1991.

"First-wave neoliberalism in the 1980s amounted to a successful ideological crusade against Keynesian-style 'big government' and state 'interference' in the market. Anchored in common principles centred on releasing the entrepreneurial energies of the individual, Reaganomics and Thatcherism nonetheless represented quite unique responses to an increasingly globalized economic and political context. As we have seen in this chapter, these two variations on the neoliberal theme took distinct approaches to issues such as the relative importance accorded to budget deficits and taxes. Both advocated a reduced role of government, but their economic initiatives depended, paradoxically, on the muscle of state-imposed neoliberal reforms on local and regional authorities. Thus, it is important to recognize that the rise of neoliberalism would have been impossible without strong government action."(48-49)

"It is a remarkable testimony to the power of Reaganomics and Thatcherism that the forces of the democratic Left started to incorporate major portions of the neoliberal agenda into their own political programmes."(49)

(50) Chapter 3 - Second-wave neoliberalism in the 1990s: Clinton’s market globalism and Blair’s Third Way

Het beleid van Clinton en Blair was er op gericht om - in de wereld na de Koude Oorlog - het neoliberale vrijemarktdenken in stand te houden in combinatie met sociale solidariteit. Het moest niet de aanpak van Keynes en niet die van Reagan / Thatcher zijn, maar een derde weg zonder de neoconservatieve waarden van militarisme, vaderlandsliefde, gezin, hekel aan een multiculturele situatie, verwaarlozing van het milieu.

"The key to forging such a 'Third Way' beyond the time-worn agendas of the old Keynesian Left and the new Thatcherist Right, Blair insisted, was a commitment to the centre-left principle of strengthening social solidarity without dropping the neoliberal ideal of market-oriented entrepreneurship."(50)

"Like his British counterpart, the American President [Clinton] was confident that what some neoliberal enthusiasts called 'super-capitalism' or 'turbo-capitalism' could be combined with moderate social welfare provisions and greater corporate responsibility. Moreover, both leaders agreed on the necessity of ridding first-wave neoliberalism of its neoconservative accretions – hyperpatriotism and militarism, attachment to antiquated 'family values', disdain for multiculturalism, and neglect of ecological issues. They hoped that their 'purified' product – a socially conscious market globalism – would propel the entire world toward a new golden age of technological progress and prosperity."(51)

"By the turn of the century, the leaders of traditional social-democratic European parties – Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, Italian Prime Ministers Romano Prodi and Massimo D’Alema, French Prime Ministers Pierre Beregovoy and Lionel Jospin, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder – had embraced the new left-centre agenda. United in their attempts to liberalize trade relations and integrate national economies into a single global market, Clinton and Blair would eventually take the credit for the 'Roaring Nineties' – a decade of economic boom."(51)

Globalisering van de economie werd gemakkelijk door computertechniek (de 'digitale revolutie' die precies in die latere 1990-jaren zich ontvouwde voor het bedrijfsleven en het grote publiek).

"It was also a direct consequence of the worldwide dominance of neoliberal ideology following the 1989–91 collapse of Soviet communism. The public interpretation of globalization as a mostly economic phenomenon driven by the irreversible dynamics of the free market and cutting-edge technology was encouraged by executives of large transnational corporations, corporate lobbyists, prominent journalists and public-relations specialists, cultural elites and entertainment celebrities – and political leaders like Bill Clinton who articulated their neoliberal agenda within such a 'globalist' framework.
As we discussed in Chapter 1, these global power elites imbued 'globalization' with neoliberal ideas and meanings, and thus pushed their influential ideological narrative of 'market globalism' across national and cultural boundaries. For example, one of these neoliberal claims presents the creation of globally integrating markets as a rational process that furthers individual freedom and material progress in the world. The underlying assumption here is that markets and consumerist principles are universally applicable because they appeal to all (self-interested) human beings regardless of their social context. (...)
Another neoliberal claim portrays the liberalization and global integration of markets as inevitable and irreversible, almost like some natural force such as the weather or gravity. This assertion makes it easier for neoliberals to convince people that they must adapt to the inherent rules of the free market if they are to survive and prosper. Still another claim links the notion of globally expanding, self-regulating markets to the idea of democracy and individual choice, suggesting that economic and political forms of freedom are intricately connected. At the same time, however, neoliberals insist on the primacy of markets over politics by arguing that the establishment of democracy depends upon free-market economics, and not the other way around."(53-54)

Het was een ideologie die sterk gericht was op het handhaven en uitbreiden van de Amerikaanse hegemonie. Je ziet dat aan de Marrakech-akkoordeen van 1994 en aan de zogenoemde 'Washington Consensus' over de economie die door de grote instellingen als IMF en World Bank gebruikt werd voor de herstructurering van buitendlandse economieën. De shock-therapie voor Rusland is een voorbeeld van waar dat toe leidt: grote armoede voor het grootste deel van de bevolking en rijkdom voor een kleine elite.

In het binnenland ging Clinton wat doen aan het toenemende begrotingstekort en de groeiende staatsschuld via Greenspan en zijn Federal Reserve Board, maar dan wel via een typisch neoliberale monetaire politiek: belastingverlagingen voor investeerders, niet zo zeer voor arbeiders (groeiende inkomenverschillen), deregulatie van de financiële sector (met als later gevolg de kredietcrisis in 2008), en het sociale aspect van de benadering van Clinton (en van Blair) viel ook nogal tegen zoals blijkt uit de Welfare Reform Act van 1996.

"But perhaps the most radical neoliberal measures of the Clinton administration related to the further deregulation of the economy. Arguing that 'antiquated regulatory policies' were curtailing entrepreneurial initiatives aided by technological breakthroughs in telecommunications and the development of new international financial instruments, Clinton undertook some of the most comprehensive deregulatory reforms of the 20th century. For example, the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 removed the legal divisions between commercial and investment banking as well as those between insurance companies and brokerage houses, thus scrapping one of the major Keynesian regulations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. The potential dangers of such profound deregulations of the finance sector would not become fully apparent until the global financial crisis of 2008–9."(60)

Conclusie:

"Seeking to synthesize market-oriented economic growth within an ethical framework of social justice and human rights, both Bill Clinton's market globalism and Tony Blair's Third Way reflected a clear understanding that the age of relatively sheltered national economies had passed and no country could any longer shield its economy from the dynamics of corporate-led globalization. But critics on the political Left accused second-wave neoliberals of engaging in a largely symbolic rhetoric of 'community' while, in fact, continuing the turbo-capitalist projects of Reaganomics and Thatcherism. Reluctantly acknowledging the economic vibrancy of the Roaring Nineties, these critics nonetheless pointed to extreme levels of inequality in both the global North and South as evidence for the skewed prosperity produced by second-wave neoliberal policies. On the other hand, supporters of market globalism praised its ability to fuel robust economic growth, and supply consumers in the developed world with inexpensive consumer goods from the developing world that also helped raise living standards in those disadvantaged regions."(75)

(76) Chapter 4 - Neoliberalism and Asian development

In de grote bijzonder succesvolle economieën van Azië - Japan, Hong Kong, Zuid-Korea, Singapore, Taiwan (de traditionele 'Aziatische tijgers'), Indonesië, Maleisië en Thailand (nieuwe) was er sprake van grote neigingen tot economisch centralisme, staatsinterventies en corporatisme (nauwe samenwerking overheid - bedrijfsleven - werkers). In de 1990-er jaren ontstond echter een financiële crisis van grote omvang, in een tekstkader samengevat als volgt:

"The Asian Financial Crisis
In the 1990s, the governments of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, and the Philippines gradually abandoned control over the domestic movement of capital in order to attract foreign direct investment. Intent on creating a stable money environment, they raised domestic interest rates and linked their national currencies to the value of the US dollar. The ensuing irrational euphoria of international investors translated into soaring stock and real-estate markets all over Southeast Asia.
However, by 1997, those investors realized that prices had become inflated much beyond their actual value. They panicked and swiftly withdrew a total of $105 billion from these countries, forcing governments in the region to abandon the dollar peg. Unable to halt the ensuing free-fall of their currencies, those governments used up their entire foreign exchange reserves. As a result, economic output fell, unemployment increased, and wages plummeted.
Foreign banks and creditors reacted by declining new credit applications and refusing to extend existing loans. By late 1997, the entire region found itself in the throes of a financial crisis that threatened to push the global economy into recession. This disastrous result was only narrowly averted by a combination of international bailout packages and the immediate sale of Southeast Asian commercial assets to foreign corporate investors at rock-bottom prices. Even today, many ordinary citizens in Southeast Asia are still suffering from the devastating social and political consequences of that economic meltdown."(77-78)

[Ik begrijp dit niet. Waarom je economie liberaliseren, waarom je als land afhankelijk maken van het onbetrouwbare neoliberale Westen, waarom je markten openstellen als dat Westen er op aandringt, terwijl je het economisch zo goed doet? Wat veroorzaakte nu precies die crisis in 1997? De koppeling aan de dollar? Het opheffen van de regulatie op investeringen met buitenlands kapitaal en daarmee een toevloed van investeerders uit het buitenland? Zeker is dat het buitenland de economie van deze landen kapot maakte met financiële speculatie en typisch neoliberaal egoïsme. De globalisering brengt Japan in de problemen: Waarom dereguleert Hashimoto in Japan het financiële systeem? Dat leidde tot een bloeience aandelenhandel, maar in het voordeel van wie eigenlijk?]

China en India

"China's turn toward neoliberalism began in the late 1970s after 30 years of economic planning and political centralism presided over by Mao Zedong. At the time of his death in 1976, millions of ordinary Chinese had paid the ultimate price for the Chairman's totalitarian vision. Devastating famines had followed forced industrialization in the 1950s, grandiosely termed the 'Great Leap Forward'. The political persecutions of the 'Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution' in the late 1960s had killed or incarcerated millions. With the regime's crimes of the past still casting a dark shadow in the 1970s, the pragmatic reorientation of China's economy toward market principles would have been impossible without a fundamental ideological revision of orthodox 'Mao Zedong Thought'."(83-84)

Daar werden neoliberale ideeën doorgevoerd - bijvoorbeeld de privatisering van staatsbedrijven, maar wel met typisch Chinese kenmerken. Bovendien hield China - ondanks het aantrekken en toestaan van investeringen uit het buitenland - de controle op de financiële kant van de zaak en maakte zich niet afhankelijk van het Westen.

"The positive outcomes of Prime Minister Singh's [van India] comprehensive neoliberal reforms are obvious: massive economic growth, exchange rate stability, and, until recently, substantial increases in foreign direct investment. On the downside, however, neoliberal reforms have increased the gap between the rich and the poor. The privatization of housing has put home ownership out of reach for the majority of ordinary Indians. Moreover, economic growth has meant an increase in demand for oil, whose rising price has once again put pressure on India’s foreign reserves. Indeed, the budget deficit has risen to 10% of the GDP. Finally, Singh's embrace of market globalism has exposed the country to the devastating impact of the current global financial crisis."(96)

(98) Chapter 5 - Neoliberalism in Latin America and Africa

"Let us begin by examining the spread of the neoliberal model to Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s by focusing on three countries: Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. In the former two cases, the imposition of the Washington Consensus was preceded by sustained academic attacks on Latin American economic practices. Dominating the region in the 1950s and 1960s, such 'developmentalism' was largely derived from principles of economic nationalism based on the successful path of development taken by most West European and North American countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Developmentalist intellectuals like the Argentine economist Raul Prebisch suggested that economic progress in the region depended on internal industrialization protected by high tariffs and limited trade rather than the export of natural resources to a global market whose prices were controlled by large European and North American corporations. Developmentalist politicians translated these theories into economic policy by supporting the nationalization of key industries such as mining and transportation. As long as private enterprises supported state-directed economic development projects, they were offered public subsidies to build factories and hire workers. The state also put into place stringent price controls for food and other basic products. The successful execution of these economic objectives required a highly centralized and interventionist government committed to national autonomy and some basic welfare provisions such as social services and public education."(99)

De Washington Consensus van IMF en World Bank kreeg echter een enorme invloed op de vormgeving van de economieën van Chili, Argentinië, Mexico en nog meer landen in Zuid-Amerika en Afrika. Daarmee werd het beschreven ontwikkelingsmodel kapot gemaakt dat voor die landen goed werkte en alleen maar zwaar bekritiseert werd door de VS etc. omdat het nationaal gericht was en marxistisch van aard was.

Zo Chili met Allende. In 1973 werd door Pinochet een militaire coup gepleegd in Chili, gesteund door de VS, de CIA, en de Chicago Boys - de elite die in de VS was opgevoed in het neoliberale economische denken. Het gevolg: een kleine bovenlaag van rijken profiteerde en twintig jaar dicatuur.

[Tjonge, dat is nog een liberaal... ]

Zo Argentinië. In 1976 zette een door de VS gesteunde militaire junta Peron af. Het gevolg: zeven jaar dictatuur met neoliberale insteek, versterkt doordat Alfonsín en Menem de IMF er bij haalden. Kirchner ging later terug naar het ontwikkelingsmodel, want dat neoliberalisme bracht alleen maar ellende.

Zo Mexico en Ghana en 28 andere landen die in de greep van het IMF raakten tijdens de 'Third World Crisis' van 1982. Een moderne vorm van kolonialisme dus.

"Indeed, it appears that the dominant story of an economically and politically irredeemable 'dark continent' skilfully draws on deep-seated colonial images that actually facilitate the extraction of profits by powerful transnational corporations and colluding domestic power elites."(111)

(119) Chapter 6 - Crises of neoliberalism: the 2000s and beyond

De kritiek op het neoliberalisme groeit, en niet alleen van de kant van de islamitische fundamentalisten, ook van de kant van de alter-globalisten en zelfs van populistische bewegingen - ook in de VS - die bang waren voor hun eigen economische status en welvaart door de globalisering.

"The massive protests at the August 2001 G-8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, gave a clear indication that millions of people around the world had rejected the neoliberal dream of a single global market fuelled by ceaseless consumerist desires. Confronting the market-globalist juggernaut, these 'alter-globalization' protestors had successfully coalesced into a sizeable 'global justice movement'. Establishing the World Social Forum in Brazil as their annual meeting place, these activists drew up an anti-neoliberal Charter of Principles anchored in their conviction that 'another world' was possible."(120)

"Crises of Claiming to act in a purely defensive manner, political leaders began to rely more heavily on the coercive powers of the state to keep such 'anti-globalizers' in check. In addition, mainstream media pushed the stereotype of Molotov-cocktail-throwing anarchists on often ill-informed TV audiences. These attempts to stabilize the neoliberal model by means of generating fear were increasingly reflected in public discourse. For example, globalizing markets were now portrayed as requiring protection against violent and irrational protesters. It seemed that the allegedly 'inevitable' evolution of market globalism now needed to be helped along by strong law enforcement measures that would beat back the 'enemies of democracy and the free market'."(121)

Na de aanslagen op het WTC door Al-Quaida werd er door regeringen en media in die ideologische boodschappen ook ingespeeld op angst voor terreur.

"Thus, in the first years of the 21st century, neoliberal market language merged with a neoconservative security agenda. Countries were told in no uncertain terms to stand with the leader of global neoliberalism – the United States of America – on the side of 'civilization' against the forces of terrorism or face the consequences of their bad choice. To be 'civilized' meant not only to embrace American-style democracy and free markets, but also to refrain from criticizing American foreign policy. Countries like France, Germany, and Russia, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, paid a high economic price for their insubordination: the vengeful Bush administration simply cut them out of lucrative business contracts for rebuilding a devastated country."(121-122)

Met de kredietcrisis van 2008 - grotendeels ontstaan door de neoliberale deregulering van de financiële markten - is de kritiek op het neoliberale denken alleen maar gegroeid.

"By early 2009, economic experts around the world agreed that the global economy was in the midst of a recession that threatened to snowball into another Great Depression. Although some of these commentators highlighted the role of 'greedy Wall Street bankers' in bringing about this crisis, most blamed global financial elites for adhering to a neoliberal dogmatism. Political leaders both on the Left and the Right not only openly questioned the tenets of neoliberalism, but also argued in favour of greater regulatory oversight by national and global institutions. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan admitted in front of the US Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that his neoliberal ideology was no longer working. Even prominent conservatives writing for large audiences like New York Times columnist David Brooks conceded that free markets were not self-regulating and perfectly efficient and people were not always good guardians of their own self-interest. But perhaps the most comprehensive and sophisticated criticism of the neoliberal model came in March 2009 in the form of a 65-page United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Report, titled 'The Global Economic Crisis: Systematic Failures and Multilateral Remedies'."(131)

"The UNCTAD Report contains four key messages. First, it emphasizes that 'market fundamentalist laissez-faire' of the last two decades had dramatically failed the test on real-world application. Financial deregulation had created the build-up of huge financial risks whose unwinding had pushed the global economy into debt deflation that, ultimately, could only be countered by government debt inflation. Second, 'blind faith in the efficiency of deregulated financial markets' and the absence of a cooperative financial and monetary system had created an illusion of risk-free profits and licensed profligacy through speculative finance. Third, the growing role of financial conglomerates on commodities and derivatives had led to extreme volatility and the emergence of speculative commodity 'bubbles' such as the US housing bubble. Finally, similar to the 1997–8 Asian Crisis, the absence of a cooperative international system to manage exchange rate fluctuations had facilitated rampant currency speculations and increased global imbalances, thus bringing a number of countries to the verge of default.
Aside from sounding like the obituary of neoliberalism, the UNCTAD Report also suggested three constructive remedies: (1) comprehensive re-regulation of the global financial system with the world’s governments working in unison to achieve this goal; (2) government–private sector cooperation to stimulate economic growth; (3) developing countries should no longer be subjected to the kind of neoliberal logic that caused the current crisis in the first place. Indeed, less than a month after the publication of the UNCTAD Report the heads of state of the G-20 Summit met in London to agree on a common economic strategy. "(134)

"The agreement was hailed by business leaders as a crucial step in repairing the world's financial infrastructure, while critics on the Left assailed the moderate character of the reforms, the lack of specifics, and the absence of concrete measures to combat global climate change. Moreover, the G-20 communique left the required reforms of the banking system in the hands of each national government to act on a 'case-by-case' basis. Unsurprisingly, many national banking executives immediately resisted such measures, arguing that the pendulum of regulation would swing too heavily against the financial sector. In addition, the new Financial Stability Board was not given any binding enforcement power. Rather, its main activities were limited to advising members, monitoring regulations, and collaborating with the IMF to create early-warning mechanisms aimed at preventing the next financial crisis. Finally, although it was obvious that the G-20 agreements gave the IMF a pivotal role in the desired reform process, it was not entirely clear how quickly and thoroughly this newly empowered institution would be able to wean itself from its old neoliberal logic. Thus, we can end by saying that while it would be premature to pronounce neoliberalism dead, it would be equally foolish to deny that a crisis-ridden world has begun to flirt once again with Keynesian principles."(134-135)

Start  ||   Glossen  ||   Weblog  ||   Boeken  ||   Denkwerk