The Four Crumbling Pillars Of Neo-liberalism

 

Few recognise we are at the end of the neoliberal era

The media and political class are well behind the curve in this regard.

Old assumptions still dominate the BBC and the right wing press which in this regard are hardly distinguishable. But it’s not only New Labour that is as dead as Monty Python’s parrot. It is the whole horizontal separatist left –right political spectrum. Life – in the sense that human and natural value are not left wing as the Greens and Labour still believe.

The new political spectrum is between Love and Extractive Power not between left and right

Power must be contained by the forces of Love which itself is a power capable of not being extractive. Consequently it is neither weak nor self serving but is at the same time generative and self-limiting. And the societal equivalent of Love is Civil Society – whose values of fairness, respect, responsibility and reciprocity are all self- limiting. These values need to be legally integrated into new institutions so we are no longer dependent on the frail ethics of individuals in power. Until the Liberalist and Conservatist philosophies can embrace their respective shadows of Entitlement – the shadow of claiming rights without responsibilities- whether we are in the business of making money or creating a new society, we will remain in an impasse that has no way forward. We need a civil society alliance committed to building a space that is free from the mafia-like domination and dependence on either market or state. This requires a new way of resourcing communities such as the Commons Equity Society www.commonssociety.org

‘When we look in a different way, what we are looking at changes’

Max Plank

We are witnessing and indeed participating in the end of a period of history. The neo liberal era of political economy is coming to an end. Yet the vast majority of our political, economic and media elites are behind the curve in the sense that they have yet to realize this or are in denial.

The current globalized capitalist western model often described as the neo-liberal model was designed and put in place by a small powerful group of influential economists, academics and businessmen close to President Nixon through what was secretly known as the Powell Memorandum.

The manifesto of the neo-liberal capitalist project comprised four pillars:

  1. Individual Freedom
  2. The Free Market
  3. Strong Defence, and
  4. Small Government

This narrative appealed to ideas of freedom and prosperity after the austerity and deprivation of World War II as a counter narrative to Communism, statist intervention and Keynesian economics.

Neo-liberal philosophy became hugely influential in university economics departments and in the corridors of power of western governments. Today it still forms the basis for understanding reality and progress in terms of money and wealth and is driven by its core measure of ‘progress’ GDP. Neo-liberalism is the context which determines how we all live our lives in the west.

The crumbling pillar of individual freedom

Today for an increasing number of people, neo-liberalism’s ubiquitous version of individual freedom tethered and driven by an extractive globalized engine of economic growth, GDP and state extraction has come to mean a work-debt treadmill that for most families requires both parents to work to survive in an economic and a cultural bondage to the idols of consumption, debt and meaningless work.

The instrumental economistic valuation of the individual, the erosion and exploitation of privacy and the monetization of nature for what they contribute in monetary terms to the economy undermines relational and human value as well as degrading natural capital.

What does freedom to consume mean in a context of the attrition of personal time, the erosion of the social and of civil society and the degradation of the natural environment?

Increasingly globalized societies yoke and tithe individuals  and communities to both the state and the market.

The crumbling pillar of the free market …

 


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