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Book Title: الليبرالية الجديدة - موجز تاريخي|
The author of the book: David Harvey
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 953 KB
Date of issue: 2008
Read full description of the books الليبرالية الجديدة - موجز تاريخي:"...There is no such thing as society, only individuals..."
"...greed, for lack of a better word, is good..."
Margret Thatcher and Gordon Gekko together summed up the essence of neo-liberalism in two quotes. This book is an excellent summary of the history and damage done by the impoverished ideology of these two neo-liberal icons.
Harvey's "Brief History of Neoliberalism" reads like a true-life detective story investigating the mugging of the world economy in autumn 2008. What's unusual about Harvey's detective work is that the victims were identified, the weapon discovered and the crooks fingered before the crime was even uncovered.
The battered body of the economy was found alive but barely breathing in an alley in Lower Manhattan on 15th September 2008, three years after the book was published and the day that Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in US history. That was the same day 99% of the population began to understand their wallets had been emptied by billionaire thieves carrying a neoliberal cosh who had left them with nothing but the small change in their pockets.
"…a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve the institutional framework appropriate to such practices…"
In case you're wondering, Neo-conservatism is Neoliberalism plus God and guns.
It all sounds innocent enough, which is one reason for the success of neoliberal dogma. But as with most public discourse these days, the mischief is in what is left unsaid by words designed to conceal rather than to reveal. The "..institutional framework…" created by the state is the use of its monopoly on violence to preserve private property rights. The state encourages its citizens to be used as the tools of private enterprise and cares nothing for them as individuals and members of society.
Neoliberalism's main success has been to enrich the few at the cost of the many. The evidence is everywhere and irrefutable: unprecedented growth in inequality and stagnation or falls in real wages for ninety percent of the population while those already rich watch their wealth grow from tax cuts and subsidies to corporations.
The magic spells neoliberalism uses to make wealth flow uphill to the rich instead of trickling down to the rest of us as are as numerous as the bedrooms in a billionaire's mansion and as subtle as a lawyer's undisclosed side letter. Chapter six explains the methods in detail: privatization and commodification, excessive financialization, the management and manipulation of crises and state redistribution.
Privatization is particularly invidious. As a trained accountant I well know how the tiniest change to a pension fund's expected investment return or the smallest tweak to the priority of a lien can send large sums of money out of the taxpayer's pocket and into the ether, only to rematerialize in the hands of a well connected businessman.
If you don't believe this just pause to reflect, how did the twenty four Mexican billionaires appeared on the Forbes rich list after Mexican privatization? Are these billionaires genuine "wealth creators"? Did Mexico spontaneously generate twenty four Bill Gates or Steve Jobs practically overnight?
Harvey outdid many trained economists with his insight into the financial markets and the phantom speculative profits they were reporting. As events in 2008 showed, Harvey was spot on in foreseeing how:
"…So-called global cities of finance…become spectacular islands of wealth and prvilege, with towering skyscrapers…Within these towers, trading between floors creates a vast amount of fictitious wealth…"
The only thing he got wrong was underestimating the depths of criminality in the financial system. Even Harvey couldn't imagine the extent to which bankers were shamelessly breaking out the Bollinger to toast their rigging of LIBOR, FX, commodity and other markets. Neoliberalism has failed to live up even to its limited ambition of preserving private property rights and creating fair markets: the markets were rigged and if you ever took out a loan or changed foreign currency then your pocket was picked.
The discussion on neo-liberalism's theft of the human desire for individual freedom as a cover story for its rapaciousness is the best section in the book. Harvey is known as a Marxist and he has some controversial quotes up his sleeve. Take this for example:
"…Americans must forswear that conception of the acquisition of wealth which, through excessive profits, creates undue private power over private affairs and, to our misfortune, over public affairs as well…we do assert that the ambition of the individual to obtain for him and his a proper security, a reasonable leisure, and a decent living throughout life, is an ambition to be preferred to the appetite for great wealth and great power…"
Who is this preferring the freedom evinced by proper security, reasonable leisure and a decent living throughout life ahead of the acquisition of wealth and power? Roosevelt of course - who these days is a dangerous radical given Neoliberalism's current hold on public debate.
It only took the US a few decades to abandon the freedoms Roosevelt spoke about and replace them with the freedom of unregulated markets.
UPDATE: An outstandingly good article on neo liberalism in The Guardian today
Read information about the authorDavid Harvey (born 1935) is the Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A leading social theorist of international standing, he graduated from University of Cambridge with a PhD in Geography in 1961. He is the world's most cited academic geographer (according to Andrew Bodman, see Transactions of the IBG, 1991,1992), and the author of many books and essays that have been prominent in the development of modern geography as a discipline. His work has contributed greatly to broad social and political debate, most recently he has been credited with helping to bring back social class and Marxist methods as serious methodological tools in the critique of global capitalism, particularly in its neoliberal form.
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