Milton Friedman on Neoliberalism “It Never Occurred to Me That…”


Here’s hoping that this headache–neo-liberal BS–goes away one day. This is a post meant to contain resource material for the study of Neoliberalism and its effect on the world:

1) The rule of the market
2) cutting expenditures for social services
3) deregulation
4) privatization
5) eliminating the concept of “the public good” or”community

And to start off the send off here’s a quote from the man himself, Milton Freedman.

Milton Friedman — “It never occurred to me at the time that I was helping to develop machinery that would make possible a government that I would come to criticize severely as too large, too intrusive, too destructive of freedom. Yet, that is precisely what I was doing. [My wife] Rose has repeatedly chided me over the years about the role that I played in making possible the current overgrown government we both criticize so strongly.”

Here’s The Milton Friedman Choir singing about Friedman’s definition of a corporation. This clip can be found in the DVD special features section of The Corporation.

John Quiggin — ” Despite being spectacularly discredited by the global financial crisis, the ideas of market liberalism continue to guide the thinking of most policymakers. Economics must take new directions in the 21st century if it is to remain a socially useful body of thought.”

Will Rodgers–“The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.”

Joseph Stiglitz — “If you believe that markets are always self-correcting, that they always take care of themselves, that you don’t need regulation—even when the evidence comes in, that that’s not true—the question is, do you think it’s a minor adjustment that’s required, or do you think there’s a more major overhaul that’s required?… Or is the real problem with the design of the system.”

Gone. No, don’t start crying yet.  Why does liberalism keep coming back from extinction like a zombie?  What does global collapse mean for economic  liberalism?
Let’s take a look at the Neo-liberal world and try to come up with at least some ideas.
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Neo-liberalism Dead or Dying?
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One would think after 2008 that liberalism would just give up, but no– unfortunately not. It keeps thriving for some reason.
 “The ideology of neo-liberal globalization was not in fact a new idea in the history of the modern world-system, although it claimed to be one. It was rather the very old idea that the governments of the world should get out-of-the-way of large, efficient enterprises in their efforts to prevail in the world market.”writes Immanuel Wallerstein, YaleGlobal. 2008: The Demise of Neoliberal Globalization
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With a look back to the first part of this century in the U.S, liberalism did seem to disappear with the Great Depression, however it returned from a short dormancy around the year 1980, thus giving us new or neo-liberalism that is indeed still the old liberalism only called, ironically, new.
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What the heck?
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What is neo-liberalism?  More specifically, what is economic neo-liberalism?
In their article, What is “Neo-liberalism”? A Brief Definition, Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia give five characteristics:
 1) The rule of the market
2) cutting expenditures for social services
3) deregulation
4) privatization
5) eliminating the concept of “the public good” or “community.”
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“Neo-liberalism is the great economic paradigm of our lifetime–Noam Chomsky
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Links for Further Reading:

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Corpwatch:  “Neo-liberalism” is a set of economic policies that have become widespread during the last 25 years or so. Although the word is rarely heard in the United States, you can clearly see the effects of neo-liberalism here as the rich grow richer and the poor grow poorer.”
Global Issues:  “Neoliberalism is promoted as the mechanism for global trade and investment supposedly for all nations to prosper and develop fairly and equitably. Margaret Thatcher’s TINAacronym suggested that There Is No Alternative to this. But what is neoliberalism, anyway?’
New Statesman:  “Neoliberals wanted to limit government, but the upshot of their policies has been a huge expansion in the power of the state.”
Robert W. McChesney: “In sum, neoliberalism is the immediate and foremost enemy of genuine participatory democracy, not just in the United States but across the planet, and will be for the foreseeable future.”
Death Throes of the Neo-liberal Delusion: “If the neo-liberal era had begun with Reagan’s witticism about government being the problem rather than the solution, and if it had been entrenched when Bill Clinton observed that the era of big government was over, we might think of it as coming to an end when Barack Obama argued at his inauguration that the real issue was not whether government ought to be big or small but whether what it did actually worked.”
The Failure of Neo-liberalism: “This in a nutshell is the problem: Both Left and Right seem incapable of challenging monopoly capitalism.”
Friedman’s Misplaced Monument :  The Chicago School has moved beyond a movement of economic theory into an aggressive agent of intellectual imperialism – but the collapse of market fundamentalism in economies everywhere is putting its theology on trial,” writes Henry C K Liu
Obama’s Chicago BoysBarack Obama has openly declared himself as a pro-growth, pro-free trade guy who “loves” the open market. But before Obama can purge Washington of the scourge of Friedmanism, he has some ideological housecleaning of his own to do,” says Naomi Klein.”
Neo-liberalism in Globalized Trouble Wild stock market gyrations and a global financial meltdown open 2008.  Around the world, old and new critics of neo-liberalism smirk and repeat “I told you so.”  Neo-liberal dogma — that private enterprise is good and efficient whereas state economic interventions are bad and wasteful — suffers deepening disrepute.  The private, deregulated capitalism of recent decades produced imprudent credit orgies that generated unsustainable bubbles bursting across scary headlines.” 31st Jan 08 – Rick Wolff, MR Zine  
Consensus Against Neo-liberal Washington Consensus  There is agreement among economic development experts, civil society representatives and government officials attending the Helsinki Process conference that the neoliberal Washington consensus is not a solution to the problems of developing countries, but rather one of the causes of these problems,” says Julio Godoy.

The Luckiest Nut in the World from Emily James on Vimeo.

Neo-liberalism and Economic Globalization:  “The goal of neoliberal economic globalization is the removal of all barriers to commerce, and the privatization of all available resources and services. In this scenario, public life will be at the mercy of market forces, as the extracted profits benefit the few,” writes Rajesh Makwana.
Pierre Bourdieu from the Essence of Neo-liberalism: “The transition to “liberalism” takes place in an imperceptible manner, like continental drift, thus hiding its effects from view. Its most terrible consequences are those of the long term.”
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