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Neoliberalism as an Economic Philosophy

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    George Monbiot, The Guardian: Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

    For those interested in debating economic philosophies, or what Monbiot calls an ideology, his article is worth reading and contemplating. Like many articles along similar themes, there is much that we can relate to, and some things that we might just disagree with, but he does a pretty good job of making his case about the evils of neoliberalism.

    Here is one short paragraph:

    Chris Hedges remarks that “fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”. When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

    I took this paragraph out of context as just one example in his much bigger argument about the many failures of neoliberalism. For those interested in the subject Monbiot covers a lot of territory with anecdotal descriptions of how neoliberalism has failed us as a society. It is hard to argue with many of his assertions; however, for all his criticisms, I was rather looking forward to an equally well thought out plan about how we might shift the thinking (or maybe I should say lack of thinking) to extract ourselves from the hole we have dug for ourselves.

    In my worldview, and looking at the momentous task that would entail, one is left with either a revolution or some kind of progressive incrementalism with an educated electorate saying we have had enough...and pushing a vision that can be articulated in a way for people to understand rather than always driven by emotions. Monbiot proposes something along the lines of the latter reduced to one short paragraph at the conclusion of his otherwise well researched article:

    What the history of both Keynesianism and neoliberalism show is that it’s not enough to oppose a broken system. A coherent alternative has to be proposed. For Labour, the Democrats and the wider left, the central task should be to develop an economic Apollo programme, a conscious attempt to design a new system, tailored to the demands of the 21st century.

    Easier said than done without electing the kinds of minds that would be capable of such an enormous undertaking...an economic Apollo program that can inspire the politically inactive to participate in our democracy though critical thinking rather than emotional knee jerk reactions.

    Thoughts?

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt; very interesting. However which ever way you call "things" one thing should be clear: we are in the predictment as of now and things will get only worse. It needs an drastic turnaround in mentality and thinking to get this country back on course. Nice to name an Apollo program; sorry an government like ours is far from it related to "brains". It needs a lot more intellect to turn the Titanic around. Guess who got Trump in the White House; the dumbest in the country; not Apollo engineers. Neither can you launch an Apollo with the Electoral College or only Super Pac money. Beautiful proza nor intellectual words will change this country. Only an common sense non corruptible voting system will help as well an "leader selection" based on experience and knowledge of the job.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Main thing is that neoliberalism is based on bad economics as it matters to public purpose and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. The problem remains that the so called left remains captured by neoliberal ideas about the state and economics but don’t even realize it. And that goes for most of the people commenting on this site!

  • Independent
    Washington
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    Well my head is spinning trying to mentally digest the first part of the article. The first thing that pops into my head is "Who is his target audience?" because he surely is not expecting anyone of trumps followers to understand.

    If what he is suggesting that we have some positive national initiative the entire nation can rally behind, then I get that. Typical things like wars have been a way bring people together because we are fighting an evil force of some kind.

    In some ways, Obama missed his opportunity to become the next JFK by finding a 21st century equivalent to the 1960's Apollo program. It may have not been his fault because Obama could have focused on trying to cure cancer and he would have hit a political\racial wall that was too much to tear down in 8 years.

    It could be argued that trump is a total waste of a huge opportunity for this country. The country wants a signficant change and would rally behind a great American ideal that was universal to all Americans, not just one side or the other, nor favored one race over others. trump is in it for himself, and every presidential decision is about what is best for him now and after he leaves office. The change people were hoping for is like handing over their life savings to trump and he simply invests into to what will make him the most profit\powerful\etc. When he leaves office, trump is likely to lay the blame on those left in DC, claiming it was a vast conspiracy as to why the wall never got built, or coal miners have even less jobs (doing anything), and nothing else was accomplished that benefitted any single american except trump. trump has a lot of new friends around the world, or so he thinks, so there is reasonable chance he will be building new trump towers and golf resorts in Russia and in other trump friendly countries.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I should have probably clarified what neoliberalism means. The author writes from a British viewpoint, but the term is misused in some contexts. To be clear, neoliberalism in a nutshell advocates for privatization over government ownership, austerity in government spending, deregulation, and free trade with minimal tariffs or quotas.

    In reality, much like the arguments on capitalism versus socialism, we are served by a mixture or blend of philosophies. Over time the various trends have not served those on the bottom of the economic ladder as well. But having a revolution of sorts to remake the system is not in the cards either.

    Private ownership certainly drives innovation and creates jobs; however, private ownership is responsible for the loss of jobs because of its need to continually innovate through technology improvements and competition in the market place.

    Government ownership or control through regulations is demanded for many facets of society. However, government bureaucracies can become bloated without the competitive edge to continually improve.

    Government spending also drives the economy and is necessary especially in times of recession. However, government spending can also be very inefficient as one only has to look at the way our military wastes our tax payers money. No bid contracts invite corruption.

    Trade is necessary function for every country in the world to survive. I am an advocate for "freer trade" and was a big supporter of the Trans Pacific Partnership. Our withdrawal from that trade deal will hurt our economy in the long run.

    Global trade has resulted in the loss of jobs, but like technical innovation has also created jobs in other sectors. Those who oppose free trade or push for restricted trade only on their terms to protect jobs will find that our global competitiveness is harmed.

    We certainly need a public dialogue on the pluses and minuses of various aspects of our economies, but the selfish amongst us cannot allow that to happen. The so called "Apollo program" is a dream and certainly could never happen in the time frame that would appease those who are naysayers.

    For now the best we can do is carve out incremental gains by electing people with the knowledge and insight on how to accomplish those goals. But we may be too far down the rabbit hole for that to happen. We vote our emotions more than ever.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Liberal.... Oy Vey. We could sure use an assertive quick witted wordsmith in our party to refocus the results of the last 12 years where we had no message and they painted everything in a bad light.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    TJ Wrote:

    Liberal.... Oy Vey. We could sure use an assertive quick witted wordsmith in our party to refocus the results of the last 12 years where we had no message and they painted everything in a bad light.

    Forget it; it has nothing to to with "names' or "philosophy" it is pure who you select with "brains" or people who know facts in life and accept reality. What is missing in this country is reality of life and existence.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    TJ Wrote:

    Liberal.... Oy Vey. We could sure use an assertive quick witted wordsmith in our party to refocus the results of the last 12 years where we had no message and they painted everything in a bad light.

    Oh you mean an entertainer who can captivate the media....
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote:
    TJ Wrote:

    Liberal.... Oy Vey. We could sure use an assertive quick witted wordsmith in our party to refocus the results of the last 12 years where we had no message and they painted everything in a bad light.

    Oh you mean an entertainer who can captivate the media....
    Mr. Obama wasn't an entertainer but he could connect with audiences and think brilliantly when discussing issues. More of that please. At least the new and improved version.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Okay, getting back to the topic of neoliberalism, yes I am sure that Obama could have put it into words that could be understood by the masses. However, that gift is not one you'll find in many politicians. And someone like Hillary probably understood the economic concepts better than Obama, but as soon as she opened her mouth people started judging her on her voice, her hair, her pantsuits, or automatically assumed "crooked Hillary".

    Trump's psychological warfare in demeaning opponents repeatedly should have been a disqualifier for him. Instead it served to disqualify all of his Republican opponents and Hillary one by one in the minds of many Americans. Those Americans who were sucked in by that "entertainment" were conned and that includes the media.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    Okay, getting back to the topic of neoliberalism, yes I am sure that Obama could have put it into words that could be understood by the masses. However, that gift is not one you'll find in many politicians. And someone like Hillary probably understood the economic concepts better than Obama, but as soon as she opened her mouth people started judging her on her voice, her hair, her pantsuits, or automatically assumed "crooked Hillary".

    Trump's psychological warfare in demeaning opponents repeatedly should have been a disqualifier for him. Instead it served to disqualify all of his Republican opponents and Hillary one by one in the minds of many Americans. Those Americans who were sucked in by that "entertainment" were conned and that includes the media.

    Yes Schmidt "conned" is the right word. Amazing that still more than 40% here love to be conned; especially the "evangelicals". Behind the scenes Trump is quietly moving in the direction of an dictatorship; he still follows the Bannon doctrine to achive such ; by trying to appoint unqualified judges etc.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Yes a segment of the voters were conned by the Trump rhetoric. However, people are catching on that the neoliberal "trickle down" tax breaks for the wealthy are not supported by the facts. Polling shows that the Republican tax plan is not doing well.

    For example, a recent Quinnipiac poll found that:

    Sixty-one percent of voters said the Republican tax plan would mainly help the wealthy.

    Only 24 percent said that it would primarily benefit the middle class, and only 6 percent said it would help low-income people.

    More revealing, 59 percent said it would favor the rich at the expense of the middle class.

    Contrary to Republican and Trump claims, only 36 percent of those polled said the Republican tax plan will lead to more jobs and better economic growth. A majority, 52 percent, disagreed.

    Thirty-six percent of voters said their taxes wouldn't change much, 35 percent said their taxes would go up, while only 16 percent said their taxes would go down.

    The bottom line is that Americans are waking up to the fact that Republicans are conning them. It remains to be seen how our respective members of Congress respond to these polls. I for one will be writing and calling them today.

    Call or write your Congressperson. It's more effective than complaining in this website.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I just wrote my Senator Cory Gardner. It only took 5 minutes. Next is Rep. Doug Lamborn, although he is unmovable.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    Yes a segment of the voters were conned by the Trump rhetoric. However, people are catching on that the neoliberal "trickle down" tax breaks for the wealthy are not supported by the facts. Polling shows that the Republican tax plan is not doing well.

    In deed Trump lied to most.

    That was when he was talking to them. Did Democrats lie ? Hell No.

    We didn't even acknowledge they existed.

    We probably gave them them web site address though. Did all we could......

    Current Tax plans are a dumpster fire. 1 worse than the other but neither is good. Hopefully that is pointed out with much enthusiasm because as Trump prefers it, the poor and middle class (differently poor) get screwed at the expense of all and to the benefit of corporations and the wealthy.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Back to the op, sort of:

    Here's some of the main things people need to know about the economy and how it functions, so as to combat neoliberal economic fictions:

    The funds to pay taxes and buy government securities originate or come from government spending first

    Government borrowing operations function as means for the Federal Reserve to conduct interest rate policy.

    Loans create deposits in the banking system, and banks do not lend customer deposits. Fractional reserve lending is a fiction.

    The money supply is endogenous and not set or fixed by the government, but by the demand for loans + savings.

    Total savings = total debts. Total surpluses=total deficits.

    Government deficits=nongovernment surpluses

    Exports are the costs of imports, and imports are a real benefit.

    Capitalism 'runs on' sales.

    Sales=Incomes or Spending