Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Global South


What is authoritarian neoliberalism? In this paper, I will conduct a literature review on the connections between neoliberalism and authoritarianism. I define authoritarian neoliberalism as a resilient mode of economic and political governance that is animated by complex and contradictory technocratic, apolitical, and oppressive processes that bequeath hegemonic discourses and practices that are animated by creative destruction and displacement.

I will then take a comparative approach to explore how neoliberalism is linked to authoritarianism in Chile, Egypt, and Turkey. I selected these three countries as case studies because although they have distinct historical, geographic, economic, cultural, and ethnic features authoritarian neoliberalism is a hegemonic and resilient discourse and practice that is reproduced across space and time no matter the context.

A comparative approach will show us that authoritarian neoliberalism is a set of one size fits all logics, discourses and practices that neglects citizens needs for creativity, economic development, and democratic mobilization and it fails to account for complex histories and characteristics between countries and people.

Absurd logics are enforced by state mechanisms such as the police. It effectively reproduces itself in the face of popular opposition and it is fraught with contradictions, cracks, and fissures. Thankfully, it creates a space for resistance and mobilization.

I will explore how this resistance assumes form across the three countries. I will conclude this discussion by proposing alternatives to authoritarian neoliberalism. I propose a celebration and coexistence of different social movements and modalities of economic development. This will bequeath the end of neoliberal authoritarian hegemony and give agency to citizens in the global south.

Authoritarian neoliberalism: A Literature Review

Neoliberalism today is animated by constitutional debt ceilings through sweeping trade agreements and the violent suppressing of political freedoms. Authoritarian neoliberalism is fast becoming an established part of critical social science scholarship.

The term authoritarian neoliberalism is located at the intersection of a range of social relations that highlight how contemporary capitalism is governed in a way that tends to reinforce and rely upon practices that seek to marginalize, discipline and control dissenting social groups and oppositional politics rather than strive for their explicit consent or co-optation. This strips people of their agency and is directly antithetical to any sort of authentic democratic governance.

The practices of authoritarian neoliberalism include the repeated invocations of ‘the market’ or ‘economic necessity’ to justify a wide range of restructurings across various societal places and spaces. This reshapes states, households, workplaces, and urban spaces – making them into inorganic and superficial spaces that uproot people from place and space.

In the global south, neoliberalism has been animated by reassertions of law and order, rising technocracy, rising technology, re-built bureaucracies, and choiceless democracy. The United States has been successful in dictating neoliberal polices — and it has used the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as vehicles for enforcement.

Since the 1970s, neoliberalism has transformed the economics and politics of global capitalism. It has bequeathed rising levels of inequality and poverty. Neoliberalism in the global South is characterized by new forms of accumulation by dispossession such as the privatization of the commons and the rise in power of finance capital at both the national and international level.

Neoliberalism is an attempt by the ruling class to contain and ultimately reverse gains by popular forces under the rubric of the developmental state. Neoliberalism undermines Third World ideologies from the 1950s until the 1970s and shifts the balance of class power decisively in favor of capital. In the global South, this shift was particularly characterized by the defeat and marginalization of revolutionary and radical nationalist movements.

Authoritarian neoliberalism is rooted in the reconfiguring of the state into a less democratic entity through constitutional and legal challenges that seek to insulate it from social and political conflict. Authoritarian neoliberalism is based on the explicit exclusion and marginalization of subordinate social groups though the constitutionally and legally engineered self-disempowerment of nominally democratic institutions, governments, and parliaments in the name of economic necessity.

This literature review has shown that neoliberalism and authoritarianism are intimately connected and nourish one another. The neoliberal view of politics is attracted toward authoritarian politics because neoliberal thinkers largely lack any alternative option to account for the possibility of neoliberal reform. An organic relationship between westernized merchant classes and authoritarian forces exists. However, the fusion between neoliberalism and authoritarianism can bequeath social mobilization.

Authoritarian neoliberalism in Chile

Chile is the perfect case study through which to examine the nature and impact of authoritarian neoliberalism. Chile was the first country in either the developed or developing world in which a thorough program of neoliberal restructuring was initiated.

The privileged position of neoliberal technocrats in the policymaking bodies of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship between 1975 and 1989 gave them an unparalleled opportunity to undertake far-reaching reforms with little intervention from the state. Neoliberalism and authoritarian rule went hand in hand in Chile. No Latin American dictatorship had a closer relationship with big business than that of the Pinochet regime.

Pinochet’s dictatorship aimed to radically transform the Chilean economic model its Marxist predecessor created, as well as the import substitution industrialization model-built decades earlier. Pinochet oversaw new policies that included the reversal of the agrarian reform program.

He created laws that limited the power of labor unions – and he accelerated mass privatizations. Pinochet and his technocrat’s economic policies illustrate to us that neoliberalism is an authoritarian discourse and practice that seeks to circumvent democratic mobilizations by way of the diffusion of labor unions and the privatization of places and spaces by a few privileged elites.

Mass privatization in Pinochet’s regime led to the concentration of several economic sectors in the hands of a small group of large business groups. Large business groups and authoritarian regimes rely on another for power, prestige, influence, and legitimacy – and they work together to coerce and displace.

Pinochet’s policies favoring both the business groups that existed before 1973 and the new ones created around exports and retail allow us to understand how the persistence of wealth concentration during the post-1990 democratic period in Chile is linked both to the continuity of dictatorial institutions, such as the 1980 Constitution, and to the perdurance of business practices acquired in dictatorship, such as anti-union, monopolistic, and collusive corporate practices.

Authoritarian neoliberalism creates hegemonic business practices and a diffusion of labor unions – and this leads to economic inequality and suppresses the needs and wants of the people. The Chilean neoliberal experiment under Pinochet illustrates the tensions and contradictions of the neoliberal project’s theories and practices.

Neoliberalism is theoretically based on political ideas of human dignity and individual freedom. The reality on the ground was much different. In the case of Chile, the ideas of freedom promoted by Milton Friedman and Frederick von Hayek were applied by Pinochet’s repressive authoritarian regime that violated human and political freedoms.

These ideas served to legitimize a political and economic system based on the deprivation of freedom. These logics are hegemonic and are reproduced across space, time, and borders from Latin America to Africa. Before neoliberalism became global, it was an intellectual project that had a hegemonic and authoritarian vision of the power of constitutions to limit sovereign states, anchor economic freedoms and protect markets from democratic pressures for greater equality.

Friedman and Hayek visited the country during Pinochet’s dictatorship — and they collaborated with top Chilean authorities to implement their theoretical agendas in real world scenarios. Chile’s constitution-making process between 1973 and 1980 offered an on-sight experiment in introducing neoliberal’s radical economic transformation. This transformation concentrated capital in the hands of a few businessmen.

The Pinochet dictatorship’s neutral law-based rule of law principles went hand in hand with neoliberal constitutional ideologies. Pinochet and the neoliberals designed the innovative institutional arrangements necessary to guarantee the market’s priority in the structural and rights dimension of the 1980 Constitution.

Authoritarian neoliberalism is antithetical to any authentic democratic mobilization. It favors the rights of business and capital over people. Authoritarian neoliberalism in Chile is a disruptive discourse and practice that diminishes various necessities, spaces, and places in society. Authoritarian neoliberalism in Chile negatively effects water access and education.

Water in Chile played a huge role in consolidating the design, implementation, and outcomes of Chile’s neoliberal project – through the contested production, retention, and reform of the 1981 Water Code. Water and power are mutually constitutive. Private tradable water with minimal state regulation created new power asymmetries and changing social relationships that were hegemonic and unequal in nature.

The beneficiaries of this uprooting are the military regime, government technocrats, and business groups — who enjoy the fruits of authoritarian neoliberalism. Authoritarian neoliberalism has had corrosive effects on education in Chile. In 1973, just before the violent coup d’état by Pinochet, there was free education for all Chileans and a national budget of 7% assigned to education.

As a result of neoliberal policies, the portion of the national budget that goes to education is 4.2% as of 2011 – and the Chilean government spent only 0.7% on post-secondary education that year. Under authoritarian neoliberalism, the principal tenets for education include reduction of state involvement in the provision of services and parental choice in school selection.

This illustrates to us that authoritarian neoliberalism is hegemonic in nature –and its austerity effects the quality of life of citizens and undermines institutions like education that are vital to challenging power and creating a space for democratic mobilization. Authoritarian neoliberalism has also had detrimental effects on music education in Chile.

It has negatively influenced Chilean music education in at least five areas: facilities and provisions, curricular conception and delivery, professionalism, social segregation justified based on the constitutional right of academic freedom, and an individualistic mindset.

The erosion of the quality of education in Chile illustrates to us how neoliberalism functions. It is hegemonic and disruptive. It utilizes institutions and laws to undermine the needs, wants, sovereignty and creativity of the democratic subject. Authoritarian neoliberalism does create a space for resistance. Since 2006, high school and university students have been mobilizing to lead a resistance movement against neoliberal government policies.

This movement is animated by high levels of organization and analysis of government neoliberal policies It has negatively influenced Chilean music education in at least five areas: facilities and provisions, curricular conception and delivery, professionalism, social segregation justified based on the constitutional right of academic freedom, and an individualistic mindset.

The erosion of the quality of education in Chile illustrates to us how neoliberalism functions. It is hegemonic and disruptive. It utilizes institutions and laws to undermine the needs, wants, sovereignty and creativity of the democratic subject. Authoritarian neoliberalism does create a space for resistance.

Since 2006, high school and university students have been mobilizing to lead a resistance movement against neoliberal government policies. This movement is animated by high levels of organization and analysis of government neoliberal policies – and students demands have moved from measures that will improve their learning conditions to proposals for changes in the way society is organized. This illustrates to us that neoliberalism creates a third space for the agency and emancipation of the subject from authoritarian neoliberal discourse and practice.

Authoritarian neoliberalism in Egypt

In contemporary Egypt, authoritarian governmental practices come to inform everyday life, manners, and forms of interaction among the subjects of government. Forms of government and rule are deployed by the state. This gives rise to modes of action, norms of interaction and socio-political dispositions among the people.

The state and neoliberal discourse in Egypt work together to undermine the autonomy of the individual. This bequeaths authoritarian structures and logics. The practices of government in Egypt are a project of the security state. This security state is animated by neoliberal rationalities of rule.

Economic liberalization and neoliberal economic policies under Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (1970–1981) brought about a shift in state-society relations. These asymmetrical relationships reorient citizenship rights and obligations. The government of the police in Egypt is situated within a global political and economic conjuncture. This conjuncture is structured by the articulation of neoliberal and authoritarian governmentalities.

The current neoliberal moment has bequeathed inequality on a global scale – and opposition to this inequality is suppressed by the police. This moment has created state-society arrangements that illustrate the marks of different political and institutional trajectories — and these trajectories are bequeathed as a product of neoliberal structures that create a crisis of governance. This is a direct result of the twin process of neoliberalism and globalization.

Neoliberalism yields the reduction of publicly shared resources through privatization – and globalization is animated by the subordination of state capacities to supernatural institutions. These absurd logics are enforced by the state apparatus by way of the police in Chile, Egypt, and Turkey – and space for dissent is scant.

The police in Egypt are central to the reproduction of the neoliberal global order. The police in Egypt have a dynamic relationship with various elements of the ruling elite. These authoritarian powers preserve the neoliberal order because it leaves them with all the power and privileges they need. In the case of the post-2011 uprising in Egypt – police institutions used the uprising as way to reinforce and increase its power.

The police in Egypt reinforce authoritarian neoliberal logics because the centrality of the police in Sisi’s regime (2014 – present) reduces political discourse to an inflated and simplistic concept of ‘security’ to establish its long-term legitimacy – just as authoritarian neoliberalism justifies itself through inflated and simplistic concepts of development, progress, and individuality.

Authoritarian neoliberalism in the Egyptian context and elsewhere is a political and economic project that is about restructuring state institutions. This reordering is animated by deregulation, privatization and reduced social spending. Authoritarian neoliberal logics and practices are reliant on specific institutions of dominance and the rise of a new political class and a set of policies that are characterized by accumulation by dispossession.

The outcome of neoliberal authoritarian is essentially the same everywhere. A greater share of the surplus is directed toward wealthy elites. All around the world, neoliberal authoritarian logics are enforced by force. This authoritarian force ensures that the process of accumulation is going smoothly and that the elites have all the power and privileges that they need. In the Egyptian context, this inevitably leads to an expansion in both size and the remit of the state security apparatus.

From the 1990s, the Mubarak regime accelerated Sadat’s neoliberal polices. The Mubarak regime began developing Egypt’s own version of neoliberalism. For several years leading up to the January 25th uprising, the World Bank praised Egypt’s efforts as one of the world’s top-10 most improved economies. The Mubarak regime earned universal acclaim among neoliberal institutions by accelerating privatization of public assets, introducing drastic cuts in social expenditures, launching legal reforms to guarantee flexible employment and removing trade barriers.

In the 2000s, a new elite political and business class emerged under the wing of Mubarak and his sons ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). This brought top business elites to positions of dominance in the government and various state institutions – allowing them to control the policy process. This illustrates to us the cozy relationship between business and authoritarian regimes in a neoliberal authoritarian framework.

Business tycoons were assigned to key ministries in 2004 – thus forming a business Cabinet. This encouraged the building of new forms of oligarchy where specific markets were dominated by a few corporations. This inequal and unjust concentration of capital is part and parcel of the neoliberal experience globally.

In the strategic market of iron and steel, just three companies controlled over 90% of total production in the country – and other industries owned by Egypt’s new political-business elite accounted for three-quarters of all subsidies on energy during the same period.

Monopoly and inequality are part and parcel of authoritarian neoliberal logics – as is the drive to attract foreign investment. The drive to attract foreign investment under the Mubarak regime led to the enactment of several laws believed to create an attractive environment for investors.

For instance, Law 12/2003 restructured labor relations, giving more freedom for employers to dismiss workers – as well as the power to modify contracts at will. The erosion of just labor conditions and relations in favor of so-called progress and development are a symptom of neoliberal discourse, policy, and practice – and these corrosive policies and practices are reproduced from Chile to Egypt.

Similarly, Law 96 of 1992 – which came into effect in 1997, revoked previously determined state rents of small farmers. This led to the skyrocketing of rents by up to 400% in some areas and the dispossessions of millions of peasants families. Hegemonic authoritarian neoliberal logics, discourses and practices are animated by this dispossession of the subject – which strips citizens from democratic and creative agency.

Around the world, neoliberal authoritarianism puts the interests of capital above all else. In the case of Egypt, new elites abolished progressive income taxation and slashed corporate tax from 42% to a flat rate of 20%.

This undermining of progressive state institutions is part and parcel of authoritarian neoliberal logics and practice — which deprives the people of justice, equity, and the good life. Mubarak and his crony’s authoritarian neoliberal practices yielded anger, resentment and resistance from the streets – and illustrating to us that authoritarian neoliberalism’s oppressive and hegemonic logics often bequeaths authentic resistance.

During the revolution of 2011, the Egyptian public rejected neoliberalism and authoritarianism. Unfortunately, Egypt has reverted back to the neoliberal model of economic development. The Arab Spring of 2010 and 2011 was a resistance against authoritarian neoliberal logics that were guided by crony capitalist structures where politically connected actors benefited from the privatization of public assets and the deregulation of economic sectors – while workers experienced wage stagnation and rising unemployment. This illustrates to us that authoritarian neoliberalism is institutional – and that it diminishes the living standards of the people.

Changes in the patterns of wealth distribution, taxation, rents, and prices in an authoritarian neoliberal framework increases wealth inequality and social polarization. These transformations resulted in the creation of gated cities and lush green lawns for the few rich and a dilapidated public housing and crumbling infrastructure for most Egyptians. That is what authoritarian neoliberalism brings. This is Egypt today.

Authoritarian neoliberalism in Turkey

The recent trajectory of Turkish politics under the government of the AKP (Justice and Development Party) has created decay in the quality of democracy in the country. Authoritarian neoliberalism demonstrates to us how the political, socioeconomic, institutional, and ideological components of AKP’s authoritarianism assumed form in an extended timeframe — including the party’s so-called ‘golden age’. In the Turkish context and elsewhere, we can define authoritarian neoliberalism as a mode of governance that operates on twin principles.

These are about (1) establishing a disciplinary statecraft which closes off key decision-making to popular pressures, public input, and non-partisan auditing to protect the circuits of capital accumulation, and (2) deploying the coercive, legal, and administrative state apparatuses to marginalize democratic opposition and dissident social groups. This is the way authoritarian neoliberalism functions in Turkey and elsewhere.

All over the world, authoritarian neoliberalism can be defined as a technocratic discourse and practice that is antithetical to any authentic democratic mobilization. Authoritarian neoliberalism around the world leaves key decisions to bureaucratic elites and utilizes legal, and administrative state apparatuses to marginalize democratic opposition and dissident social groups in the name development, freedom, and progress.

During the early years of the AKP, Turkey was viewed as a burgeoning democratic power propped up by economic prosperity in line with the reforms for European Union (EU) accession and International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionality. 20 years later, Turkey under Erdogan is considered an emblematic case of authoritarian neoliberalism.

Turkish authoritarian neoliberalism functions like it does everywhere. Authoritarian neoliberalism is animated by the same logics, from Chile to Egypt all the way to Turkey. It amplifies poverty and inequalities that have assumed form because of sweeping neoliberal reforms and authoritarian consolidation in the country.

A striking feature of authoritarian neoliberalism in Turkey and elsewhere is its emphasis and celebration of contemporary capital accumulation. Contemporary capital accumulation has an overarching capacity to penetrate various arenas of everyday life. Authoritarian neoliberal states are animated by coercive and preemptive practices that target counter-hegemonic groups directly and systematically. In an authoritarian neoliberal framework, families, neighborhoods, and cities are uprooted, disrupted, and dominated.

Authoritarian neoliberalism penetrates domains of life such as the economy and urbanization. It ecologically transforms pre-existing practices, cultures, and norms into market-oriented power relations. From Chile to Egypt to Turkey, authoritarian neoliberal logics are legitimized by way of a constantly developing neoliberal security state. Authoritarian neoliberalism all over the world has been strengthened by the 2007–2008 global economic crisis.

The crisis has strengthened authoritarian elements in Turkey and around the world through reconfigurations in capitalist states coercive and judicial apparatuses. In an authoritarian neoliberalism, state institutions and practices are effectively redesigned to fulfill these tasks.

Turkey has had an accelerated integration into global neoliberalism during the AKP period of the last 20 years. This process has transformed the country’s socio-economic, political, cultural, and ideological structures. The AKP era bequeaths the construction of a new axis of power.

This new axis of power brings together the ruling party, the police force, and the judiciary. This concentration collectively designates and conducts a new politics of security in Turkey – and its aim is to strengthen the AKP’s position vis-à-vis the military. There is a deep authoritarianism embedded in the neoliberal experience in Turkey.

This systematically prevents popular democratic empowerment and facilitates the expansion of authoritarianism under the AKP government. The party’s labor policy has been a key feature of its authoritarian agenda. Labor relations and regulations in the AKP period reveal important authoritarian practices – which have been embedded in the historical trajectory of Turkish neoliberalism.

The AKP incorporated large segments of society into its political project by utilizing authoritarian techniques and constructing an unmediated disciplinary bond between the individual laborer and the state. In Turkey, as is the case in Chile and Egypt — authoritarian neoliberalism has systematically prevented popular democratic empowerment. It is compatible and productive with authoritarian and despotic corrupt state forms.

Authoritarian neoliberalism functions in the same way across space and time – from Chile to Egypt to Turkey. Across space and time, authoritarian neoliberalism is a historically specific set of capitalist accumulation strategies that exacerbate the existing, structural trends in the political organization of capitalism.

It is animated by distinct practices geared towards unshackling accumulation at the expense of democratic politics and popular participation. In a neoliberal authoritarian regime like Turkey, the regime undermines or restrains public involvement in policymaking and protects neoliberal policies through a collection of coercive instruments that include curbing the opportunities for collective resistance and diminishing formal liberties.

Authoritarian neoliberal governments from Turkey to Chile to Egypt have set out to appeal to a different spectrum of interests, such as those of business, international finance organizations, the peasantry, poorer populations or conciliatory workers unions to diminish the power of an independent and confrontational labor movement.

Resistance to neoliberal authoritarianism in Turkey has become more visible during the Gezi Resistance of 28 May 2013. The Gezi resistance was as an uprising against a technocratic authoritarianism that is part and parcel of authoritarian neoliberalism.

The technocratic component of neoliberal authoritarianism is when crucial economic issues are located outside of the democratic policy making arena by a technocracy. For instance, in Turkey and elsewhere, determination of the minimum wage, monetary policy or inflation targets is labeled as “Technical issues”. This way, demands of trade unions or of different societal groups can easily be ignored.

In an authoritarian neoliberal framework like in AKP Turkey, there is a certain level of state restructuring — and this restructuring gives way to the empowerment of the executive branch over the legislative and judicial. The executive branch in Turkey is dominated by technocratic economic policies that subvert the popular will and block democratic participation.

The Gezi resistance was an authentic grass roots rebellion against the commodification of the commons. The aim of the movement was to reclaim public space while challenging and undermining neoliberal conceptions and logics of developmentalism and competitiveness. This illustrates to us that authoritarian neoliberalism encourages grassroots mobilization because it uproots people from places and space. This encourages the people to challenge the banality and consumerism that is at the heart of technocratic and individualistic authoritarian neoliberal logics.

Can we move beyond Authoritarian neoliberalism?

Many alternatives can liberate the global south from the tyranny of authoritarian neoliberalism. Social movements can function as a third space were questions about daily life, democracy, the state, political practice, and the redefinition of neoliberal development models can be explored and implemented. Social movements can be a refreshing way to challenge the state and hegemonic development discourse.

Another alternative to authoritarian neoliberalism is an embrace of the Rastafari tradition. The Rastafari tradition has become a rallying point for the construction of an alternative conception of reality that challenges neoliberal frameworks. Rastafari is both a form of agency and a socio-cultural movement. Rastafari refers to a body of beliefs, attitudes, and practices embraced by Rastafari men or women. The term identity is both an individuating and unifying concept in the Rastafari tradition.

The Rastafari movement is a socio-political and religiously inspired resistance movement which advocates against the (neo) colonial, capitalist, imperialist, racist and Eurocentric power structure which they call Babylon.

Rastafarians are a counter-hegemonic force against authoritarian neoliberalism globally. Rastafarians resist technocratic authoritarian neoliberal logics through critical reggae music, a focus on self-sufficiency and leaving the system. Even though the Babylon system still exists, the spirit of Rastafari resistance has encouraged people worldwide to stand up against authoritarianism.

Rastafarian visions are animated by resistance tactics that remain applicable in the 21st century, especially when fighting authoritarian neoliberalism. Utilizing pan African lens is crucial to challenging hegemonic, authoritarian neoliberal logics and practice. The African belief that persons are related to other persons and non-persons such as animals and plants can yield a fruitful social harmony that will help postcolonial subjects transcend the violence of colonialism and authoritarian neoliberalism. African culture encourages the politics of consensus rather than the politics of exclusion.

A politics of consensus recognizes the rights of all persons to participate in the politics of serving and protecting the interests of members of the community; these members are not only persons, but also plants, animals, and the divine. This politics of consensus can challenge authoritarian neoliberalism by encouraging full participation towards realizing the interests of the community. It quells resentments and provides a pan African alternative to technocracy.

Challenging neoliberal development should be about embracing different traditions of development. It is about having a just and free state not imposing a technocratic authoritarian neoliberalism. Indigenous ways of knowing, social movements, African feminism and pan African traditions should coexist with modernity. Music, film, and fashion should be celebrated and primitive accumulation should not guide social relations.

Modernity should be a vehicle in which to improve the lives of those in the global south. One system of development should not dominate another, and all beings should be viewed as autonomous individuals that are productive. A robust and just social safety net should ensure that everyone has access to the good life. The state should listen to the students in Chile and the revolutionaries in Tahrir square and Gezi Park. It should abandon apolitical, technocratic, and authoritarian frameworks. It should ensure bread, freedom, and justice for all.


In this essay, we have defined and explored the implications of authoritarian neoliberalism. We have found that authoritarian neoliberalism has similar functions and characteristics across space and time. In Chile, Egypt, and Turkey, it puts money in hands of a few elites and leaves the majority poor.

Across the three countries, neoliberal authoritarianism is animated by technocracy and violent austerity that diminishes the quality of life of citizens – and it erodes labor relationships and uproots urban places and spaces. It degrades peasants and indigenous ways of knowing. It strips us of our creativity and makes everything technocratic.

Authoritarian neoliberalism creates a restructuring of the state. Decisions are made by technocrats and international organizations, and the state uses its tools to violently enforce neoliberal logics. Wither its Pinochet’s or Mubarak’s Thugs, or a crackdown on peaceful protesters in Gezi Park, neoliberalism is authoritarian because it enforces its hegemonic logics by any means necessary. It uses repressive tools to ensure that the people are compliant.

Neoliberalism is inherently undemocratic. It suppresses any real potential for direct democracy. From Chile to Tahrir Square to Gezi Park, authoritarian neoliberalism has created anger, resentment, and resistance. This resistance can help us imagine new futures away from authoritarian neoliberalism.

Recognizing different modes of development and creating autonomous and just states can help us break free from neoliberal development models that are technocratic, disruptive, and hegemonic. Embracing the Rastafari tradition and celebrating social movements while embracing modernity to improve living standards will lead to fruitful outcomes.

Instead of an all-knowing technocracy, the state should function as an ear to the streets, only working to fulfill the needs of the people. The state should work every day to fulfill the development needs of the people.


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