Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 26052
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2002/9/30 [Politics/Domestic/California, Politics/Domestic/SocialSecurity] UID:26052 Activity:high
9/30    What does "neo-liberalism" mean?
        \_ google "what does newliberal mean", "I'm feeling lucky":
           http://tiss.zdv.uni-tuebingen.de/webroot/sp/barrios/themeA2a.html
           Essentially I think it means economically liberal... which means
           a hands-off type approach to economics... so free-market-type
           stuff. I think this type of liberal ecnomic policy is now
           considered somewhat conservative (as "liberals"  believe in more
           hands-on type of economies), hence the term "neo-liberal". This
           is essentially what libretarians are: economically conservative (eg
           neo-liberal), but socially liberal (in the tradtional sense).
           \_ I think a better term for libertarians is "nutcases"
              \_ another term is "half of the csua"... sad but true, computer
                 geeks love ayn rand.
                 \_ I never read Ayn Rand in my life.  Does that mean I'm not
                    a computer geek?  I don't even know what her beliefs are.
              \_ There's nothing wrong with the basic libertarian premise of
                 minimal government.  They just take it too far.  That's the
                 nutcase part.  Sort of like how democrats would have a 100%
                 confiscatory tax or republicans would allow big business to
                 bring back slavery if allowed free reign.
                 \_ Some libertarians are more extreme than others.  It's
                    obviously equally silly to equate the entire movement
                    with the fringes, for democrats, republicans, or
                    libertarians.  A conservative libertarian is very hard
                    to tell from a moderate republican.
           \_ No, that's not what 'libretarians' are.  Libertarians believe
              in a hands off approach both economically and socially.  Ayn
              Rand is an objectivist, not a libertarian.  All objectivists
              are libertarian, but not all libertarians are objectivists.
              And incidentally, you are all uninformed morons.  -- libertarian
              \_ your attitude illustrates why most people dislike
                 libertarians.  it's not just an ideological difference,
                 it's that most libertarians seem to be assholes.
                 \_ Better to be an asshole than wrong.  That's the whole
                    premise of being a libertarian.
2021/12/06 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular
12/6    

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Problems in defining neoliberalism Trying to define neoliberalism means facing some great problems. First it is necessary to say, that in this essay we only look at the meaning and the measures in Latin America. Therefore it is impossible to accept the usual definition of neoliberalism in Europe and the USA. The usual assumption that neoliberalism bases on the classical idea of liberalism which consists of social, political and economical aspects is not a reasonable explanation in this case. Neoliberalism in Latin America is restricted to the economical part of liberalism. This hypothesis will be verified by analysing the most famous, the Chilean example of neoliberal policy. Under the leadership of the "Chicago Boys", one of the most important neoliberal changes took place The Chicago Boys were a group of economists which tried to realise the ideas of Milton Friedman. At the same time the authoritarian government of Pinochet stayed at work. Liberal ideas had been implemented in economic but not for the public and social life. In social sciences there is also great confusion in defining neoliberalism because the theory of neoliberalism does not form part of social sciences but of economics. This is, why there are a lot of questions which are important for social scientists but not for economists. Additionally, there is no theorist who claims to be a neoliberalist. The word neoliberalism is used as a label by people interested in criticising this special kind of policy and economy. Further-on in this essay the basic thoughts of neoliberalism, and how it is used more or less consequently in Latin America will be taken from Milton Friedman. The theory of man Neoliberalism has a pessimistic view of human nature. The basic assumption is that human beings, will always try to favour themselves. This applies also to people holding a public office (Messner 1995: 1341). Therefore neoliberalists think that the rise of corruption is an automatism. There is only one way in neoliberal thinking to prevent such a phenomenon. The public sector has to be reduced as far as possible to create a free market. For neoliberalists the perfect human being is comparable to Robinson Crusoe who has only limited power and alternatives. He is solely restricted by his natural surrounding and not by any other human being. In this situation he can act absolutely independent (Friedman 1962: 12). There is no possibility to justify any activity of the state that is more than a predefined minimum amount in neoliberal theory. This means a guarantee of totally equal opportunities, protection of the individual, prevention of discrimination and assurance of the necessary frame conditions of free markets. In Friedmans theory discrimination is only an intrusion upon the individuals privacy and equality of opportunities. Tariffs or non-tariff trade barriers would be another unacceptable intervention. Therefore, a major aim within this theory is to reduce taxes and duties as much as possible. The only justified intervention of the state in the economy is the prevention of monopolies since monopolies harm the free markets. In this respect there is the biggest discrepancy between theory and practice. Contrary to the theory, the "Chicago Boys" accepted the authoritarian regime of Pinochet and the military junta. A powerful state is a necessity to carry out unavoidable, but usually unpopular measures involved when the economy is to be changed radically. This confirms the hypothesis that neoliberalism forms part only of the economical but not of society. The function of the state in neoliberal thinking is very close to Robert Nozicks theory of the minimal statebut just in theory. In practice, the government is only important for the enforcement of the reforms. For the "Chicago Boys" the Chilean dictatorship was an important part of their work. This quotation shows the far-reaching alliance between the economists on the one hand and the military junta on the other hand. State-owned enterprises are an inadmissible intervention of the state into the economy. Therefore, another major aim of the neoliberalists is the privatization of all public and state-owned enterprises. For example in Chile every nationalized enterprise had been sold to Chilean or foreign investors or had been given back to the former owners. Within a short period of time agricultural companies have been privatized, too. The problem was that the land was not only given to big landowners but also to small farmers who could not survive without subsidies. The governmental reaction to these breakdowns shows very clearly the "economical Darwinism" of the Chilean government and the neoliberalists. A jungle of savage beasts, where the one who can kill the one next to him, kills him. The social policy of neoliberalism Social measures are almost meaningless for neoliberalism. They are rather a kind of discrimination against the one who does not profit of them. There is only one accepted form of "social measure" in neoliberalism: the creation and preservation of equality of opportunities in the sense of an equally legal treatment of all society-members. In neoliberal theory such an equal treatment leads to social justice, but for neoliberalists social justice means equality of opportunities. This is why neoliberalists do not consider of the social consequences of their reforms. In this respect the neoliberalists differ significantly the more moderate liberalists, like John Rawls. A position like this would not be acceptable to a neoliberalist in any way. Friedman even says that the realization of ethical and social ideals is only in responsibility of the individual. He frees state from any social and ethical responsibility. Conclusion Neoliberalism is an economic theory which emphasizes deregulation and reduction of state. As long as the state satisfies the desires of economists. Like in Chile an authoritarian state is even preferred in many cases to carry out the necessary measures. Such a reform aims at a free market which regulates itself, in order to create a society of justice, in the sense of neoliberalism. This justifies even very high social costs which are unavoidable in such far-going reforms and changes. Moderne Verlags Gesellschaft, Mnchen Rawls, John: Eine Theorie der Gerechtigkeit, 1994 Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt/M. Valds, Juan Gabriel: Die Chicago-Schule: Operation Chile in: Dirmoser, Dietmar etc.