What is Neoliberalism?

What is Neoliberalism?

One of the important tasks that, you know, the term neoliberalism
has been performing is as a way to gather together and
explain the social policies over the past 30, 40 years
that have resulted in a tattered social safety net and redistribution of all kinds
of power and resources upward. The term neoliberalism emerged
pretty much from the scholarship – critical
left scholarship – done on and about Latin America as a way of naming, in a much more more critical incisive way, some of the
economic policies being imposed through the IMF and the World Bank, what
was called the Washington Consensus. So rather than talking as, you know,
Bill Clinton did about globalization as this sort of fabulous connecting up of everything and flows of
capital around the world in a totally positive way, neoliberalism was a name for – a more negative name, a more critical
name – for policies that forced countries that were having to
borrow a lot of money from the IMF or the World Bank, forced them into structural
adjustment reductions of social welfare programs and so on. And
then we saw what I was seeing in my research at that time was how those same kind of structural
adjustment policies were being deployed in the US as well,
so it wasn’t just about a kind of imposition on developing countries, but what was also
then turned around as social policy in the US the reduction of the welfare state. Sexuality and gender are such embodied spheres that on one hand, you – it is very private, it is very individual – and on the other hand, it has tremendous social importance. So from Foucaultian
biopolitical perspective, you know, you need to target
sexuality to – in order to, in order to make sure that everybody
falls in place. So I think if you apply that to the neoliberal logic, then you need people to fall in line
according to certain gender and sexual norms, in order to to ensure the smooth operation
of neoliberalism, especially when it is about the
retrenchment of the state, when it’s withdrawing all this other
social support, you need a certain stable order of heterosexual reproductive family in order to progress. So I think gender, sexuality is a necessary part of the larger – I wanted
to say warfare, but – strategy of neoliberalism. So neoliberalism refers to several things.
It’s been used as a periodizing schema to describe a related constellation of
changes that have happened over roughly the last four decades. And it’s also theoretical shorthand for
summarizing the ways in which various schools of thought see the most significant
amongst these changes. There are probably three main schools of analysis that seek to capture these different and interrelated
changes. The first school is the neo-Marxist school and is
indebted to theorists like David Harvey who talk about neoliberalism as
a project of upward redistribution of economic resources through policies like structural
adjustment and IMF policy, literally a shift in
economic resources from the poor and working classes to elites. Second major school thought is
the neo-Foucaultian school associated with theorists like Nikolas Rose, Wendy Brown, which sees neoliberalism as more of a cultural project and talks about the ways in which
new market rationalities get embodied and
subjectively incorporated into self-responsiblized
neoliberal subjects. The third school of thought
is associated with social scientists who work on
theorizing state transformations and is associated with people like the
French sociologist Loïc Wacquant, who talk about neoliberalism as a new
mode of statecraft and are particularly interested in the shift from the
welfare state to the carceral state, the rise of a new securitized state
apparatus, and, in particular, the growth of mass incarceration
or “hyperincarceration,” as he calls it, as the
paradigmatic state project. All of this goes together, right, in
this sort of neoliberal frame of concentrating wealth, extracting
more and more and more from poor people – extracting
it from people not only by making conditions of work
worse, making wages lower, making sure nobody has pensions or health benefits, all
those sort of literal ways, adding free trade agreements that make it easier to capture wealth and exploit
laborers and the environment all over the world – but also through actually
making money off imprisoning people and off of every aspect of domestic and
international warfare. So there’s sort of this new
level of profit-making that’s also a form of intense
social control that certainly makes it difficult to –
it’s hard for resistance in many ways. So we have a new law, SB 1070, which uses the implicit key terms of neoliberalism to help itself congeal into this
law, so the key terms being things like personal responsibility,
law abiding citizen, strong family values.
All of those things are mobilized by the law in order to criminalize a certain
segment of the population: immigrants who are undocumented. The term neoliberalism
sometimes can allow us to look at a bunch of things that would be,
that might be analyzed as disparate, siloed incidences, and instead
look at them together and think together about – for example,
instead of looking at the criminal and immigration system separately, which the law might tell you to, the law
says one is a civil system, the other is a criminal system, they’re different. Instead, we can
understand, together, a broader trend of expansion of racialized imprisonment
and then we might see something different about how – Wow! The same companies own the criminal prisons as the
immigration prisons. Interesting. The US never gave up
on the spectacular power of the predisciplinary sovereigns and we still
have the whole circus of death penalty here, for example, and shaming of people on workfare. We still have a very moralistic
and violent society and indeed, a sort of fetishization of power and structure. So we have to understand that these forms of power are
asynchronous and occur at the same time, and
that for poor people we still have much more of these older forms of power.
Disciplinary power and sovereign power are far more important than
self-managing power. And that’s really the forms of neoliberal governance which make
more sense for understanding poverty management in the US. So I think that in order to
understand neoliberalism, we’ve got to bring these
two literatures together, bring together the Marxist tradition
and the Foucaultian tradition in a way which speak more
clearly to each other. What we have in Mexico is a
very – it’s very puzzling because just as neoliberal policies regarding the welfare
state are underway, at the same time, we
get a universal right in the capital city, and I mean
abortion rights in public clinics. So, of course,
neoliberalism is by no means something that is advancing
in a very monolithic way, but
it gets played out very differently, even according to the people who are in power – their interests, their takes on the welfare state, their takes
on modern notions of citizenship. The political culture
has moved, so it’s not neoliberalism as a set of policies,
but it’s a set of policies that circulate and get implemented in law and in institutions because these feelings and
ideas about who’s deserving and who’s not deserving have
become so pervasive.

local_offerevent_note November 6, 2019

account_box Matthew Anderson


41 thoughts on “What is Neoliberalism?”

  • Thank you for this video. Now I have the slightest idea what neoliberalism is about. I just started taking my master's. I hope to take a doctorate degree as well and to become as knowledgeable as these people… 

  • Funny that they are so against Capitalism when they, and their scholarship, and salaries, and subsistence, are all so dependent on Capitalism. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

  • The only thing I have to disagree with is blaming politicians for expressing their opinions on family structure. It is not some huge conspiracy that people want parents to stick together, for single parents to have less kids, forgays to not adopt children. It has worked for the past few thousand years it will work for the future.

  • Great stuff, but please slow it down in the future haha, my pen can keep up in class but not with these people. Too much info too quick

  • thank you so much!! this was very clear and intelligent! I haven't been able to find an explanation like this anywhere.

  • The speakers in this video have just taken an issue which all working people can agree is bad, the funneling of resources from the bottom to the top by legislative means, and made it partisan. Right wingers should hate neo-liberalism too. Its policies and ideas stop small business succeeding by strangling competition, and keeps people from being able to climb the ladder. It's a moving away from meritocracy to rewarding wealth. This video could've been so much better.

  • lies. The social sciences are the institutions that were created as the pillars of neoliberalism, which is why you can't trust social scientists when they describe it. They are the high priests of neoliberalism. They are sophists and all they are capable of doing on the subject is lying

  • What I hear is a description of conservatism. Most people these days who use the term neoliberalism use it to describe center-left and moderate liberals.

  • Post Modern Progressive Liberalism is a cancer on society and NEEDS to be cut out. When people say liberalism is a mental disorder this is what they are talking about. Progressive liberals are mentally insane literally.

  • Half of what they said was spot on. The other half was waaaaayyyyy off, these people,obviously injected their own biases into their definition, and clearly are left leaning and injected their own theory into the actual theory, badly distorting what neo-liberalism is. Theyre totally avoiding the fact that the left is probably the worst Neo-liberalists compared to right and theyre not even acknowledging how the left is more neo-liberal than the right, clearly their either brainwashing people, or brainwashed themselves.

  • I started this video expecting it to be critical of neo liberalism and then I hear it's waging war on gay people. Bizarre.

  • This video doesn't explain neoliberalism so much as it further obfuscates it for the general public.

  • They're right because they make no sense and there's a bookshelf behind them. None of them would even know what the next is talking about.

  • Neo-liberalism is neo-classical economic liberal capitalism that replaced keynesian economic liberal capitalism in the anglo-saxon-celtic world/five-eye federal/national/unitary states/governments/public-sector's this gradually undermines itself with continuing monopolisation coupled with creeping automation instead of migration of the work-places people/person's and money/fiat currency/capital/surplus/medium-of-exchange/legal tender or out-sourcing and off-shoring respectively which has happened or is happening in the labor-force and the military-force/external police-force respectively and as the political-legal-economic establishment automate the military-force/external police-force the political-legal-economic establishment simultaneously are militarising the police-force/internal military-force which means that the technological advancements trickle-down into the police-force/internal military-force specifically automation

  • I am a small "c" conservative and strong free market advocate, and I resent being called a neo-liberal. I think the term is designed to confuse the sheep.

  • I'm an academic leftist and this embarrassing. It's no wonder people hate us. Enough with the identity bullshit and subjectivity.

  • "The spectacular power of the pre disciplinary sovereigns" – off putting hermetic jargon, otherwise interesting insights.

  • Its conservative fiscal policy mixed with social liberal policy.. But in the end the conservative fiscal policy will start to destroy any social liberal policy because when you are starving and you schools are crumbling…its hard to be a social justice warrior.

  • Anyone else completely confused how this video can have over 98 thousand views, yet only 570 likes or just 80 dislikes??? That certainly won't trigger the algorithms to get this video noticed will it?

  • Nothing to do with sexuality I'm afraid this error added to the convoluted explanations I've been exposed to yet doesn't explain neoLiberal thought and economics. No mention of it's philosophical beginnings in 1870, no mention of Hayek, Meses, Friedman et al. This effort confuses the central issues.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *