Neoliberalism and its fantasy, creativity, innovation, destruction, and violence

Abstract

Since the 1970s, neoliberalism has been animated by welfare reform/reversal, wage erosion, relaxing trade controls, and privatization schemes. Neoliberalism brought about sluggish growth rates, increasing inequality, the 2008 financial crises, and riots as violent forms of resistance against the tyranny of austerity.

In this paper, I will argue that neoliberalism is animated by fantasy, creativity, innovation and destruction. It ultimately creates violence. We will define neoliberalism as a set of political and economic practices which argue that human well-being can best be advanced by the maximization of entrepreneurial freedoms within an institutional framework characterized by private property, individual liberty, free markets, and free trade.

In a neoliberal model, the role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework that will maximize the potential of such practices. This undermines the developmental state and Keynesian economic models. I argue that neoliberal practices are a double-edged sword — but the edge of destruction is the sharpest. Neoliberalism generates new innovations — but it also creates displacement and a tragedy of the commons. It degrades the environment and undermines alternative futures.

Neoliberalism is a bland technocratic process that is antithetical to our nature as creative human beings. Austerity creates hunger and frustration in the body — and this violence creates riots. I will conclude this paper by proposing alternatives to neoliberalism that will liberate the soul and bequeath authentic democratic mobilizations.

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Baher Hussein is a Freelance Writer

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