Published on realsociology, not authored nor dated.
In brief, I define neoliberal economic policies as those which involve privatisation and deregulation and lowering taxation such that those with capital are allowed more freedom to invest in the pursuit of profit without having to consider the negative consequences of their investment decisions.
I’ve selected these things because I believe they are things which encourage ignorance, selfishness, mistrust, materialism, indiscipline, alienation, poor concentration and ultimately greater human misery. The first few things are structural features of our society which I believe breed these negative emotions, while the final few are social in nature and the rest are lifeworld- strategies:
1 – :
Increasing Wealth and Income Inequalities – because increasing inequalities are associated with a range of other social problems. Evidence for this lies in the thorough analysis carried out by The Equality Trust, the most concise (if a little tedious) summary in the Spirit Level (link to e-version). The even shorter summary is that the more unequal a country is then the more likely it is that there will be higher incidencts of
- Poor physical health and life expectancy
- Higher rates of s uicide and Depression (even the rich are more likely to be miserable in unequal countries – probably due to the fact that deep down they know they’re not worth their wealth)
- Lower levels of community engagement and trust
- Violence – the more unequal a soceity, the higher the rates of crime
- Burgeoning prison populations.
2 – :
- The Transnational Capitalist Class- have too much freedom – to make money by moving their investments around quickly, thus destablising economic life for the majority.
- The Transnational Capitalist Class may not be based in Britain (although London is a favoured playground) – but their freedoms do not necessarily benefit the majority.
- Two major disadvantages of the UK allowing the Transnational Capitalist Class what Polanyi would probably call ‘evil freedoms’ are that (1) inequality increases – evidenced by the huge and undeserved renumeration recieved by FTSE 100 executives and (2) their freedoms do not necessarily benefit the majority.
- For example, as Toynbe reminds us, following the 2008 financial crash, multinational banks have been reluctant to lend to small UK businesses, the real backbone of a sustainable economic recovery. Anyone interested in the destabilising consequences of ‘negative globalisation’ should read Zygmunt Bauman – one of the leading thinkers who points out that the economic freedoms of the TCC can make make life miserable for many – in his words ‘when the rich pursue their goals, the poor pay the price’.
3 – :
- The radically unpresentative commons – 80% of those in the Cabinet are millionnaires (this has a nice numbered photo so you can see who is how rich!) and the Tories are bankrolled by the city .
- This effectively means that the most obvious method the government could use to control increasing inequality – progressive taxation – will not be employed. These people are hardly likely to vote for tax changes that hurt their own and their financiers financial interests, are they now?!
- To give you an idea of how far out of our league the Camerons are, the estimated combined wealth of the Camerons’ parents has been put as high as £30 million. In addition, certain members have been accused of tax dodging, such as George Osbonre, the Chancellor and Andrew Mitchel, the development secretary.
- Where the £12 million of donations the Tory Party received last year is concerned, donations by the city accounted for just over 50% of donations with Hedge funds, financiers and private equity firms contributing 27%.
… (full text).
Linked on our blogs with Manfred Max-Neef, Chile, February 21, 2007;
Manfred Max Neef on en.wikipedia: born October 26, 1932 in Valparaíso, Chile, is a Chilean economist and environmentalist mainly known for his human development model based on Fundamental human needs. He is of German descent. Max-Neef started his career as a Professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley in the early 1960s.