Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism has long roots, including in : colonialism, mercantilism, wild unregulated capitalism and free market economics. Today's neoliberal economics have been called 'Disaster Capitalism', 'Hyper-capitalism', ‘Capitalism with the Gloves Off’, 'Casino Capitalism' and 'Zombie Economics'.

One notable critic of this system is the former US bank regulator and criminologist Prof Bill Black. He was responsible for aiding prosecutors during America's savings and loans crisis of the 1980s. In 2005 he pointed out a simple truth with the title of his book : 'The Best Way To Rob a Bank Is To Own One'. His explanation of why this is true was exactly borne out by the 2007/8 global financial crisis, which started in the U.S. mortgage savings and loans industry and quickly spread globally as Banks everywhere were found to be involved in these gargantuan frauds.

As a result, some Banks went bust, many Banks were saved only by $trillions of public money 'bail outs' and some governments fell. Also, billions of people in many nations have been made poor, millions of jobs and incomes have been lost, long term economic insecurity has increased, futures have been robbed, public services cut and social welfare 'safety nets' (where there were any) have been reduced or completely removed. Of course, neoliberal politicians refused to face up to the reality that their neoliberal capitalism was a massive fraud. Instead, they seized on the false ideology of ‘Austerity’, claiming that citizens must now accept this in order for their countries to recover the vast economic losses (i.e. the money stolen by the financial sector).

Bill Black's words are completely borne out, not only by what happened in the crisis, but also by the continuing behaviour of the global financial sector - assisted by their political friends in governments around the world. Black would like to see many more people in the financial sector prosecuted for what went wrong in the run up to the financial crisis. So would we. We would also like to see politicians prosecuted. But politicians have not been keen to prosecute themselves and their friends in finance. If you want to understand how appalling this really is you can watch this short video (from The Real News Network, 2010) of Bill Black explaining how our rotten economies are in the hands of 'psychopaths and sociopaths'. The video is called 'To Rob a Country, Own a Bank'.





At the rotten core of today's global neoliberal economy is the fact that all of our societies are now subject to the whims, vagaries and risks of this colossal gambling, speculation and fraud. This is done on a second-by-second and hour-by-hour basis in the global financial markets and elsewhere. This 'casino' system was put in place by the government policies of Reagan (in the USA from 1978) and Thatcher (in the UK from 1979). These two countries are the main global proponents of neoliberalism. It was embedded in these two economies throughout the 1980s, supposedly to 'free up' the financial industry from 'unnecessary' regulation and it has been ruining whole economies and billions of people's lives since then.

Now that neoliberal capitalism is the dominant global economic system most of the world's economies no longer exist to serve society's needs. The logic has been turned around. Societies (and our only planet) now exist only to serve the greed of the super-rich and the corporations. The fates of whole societies have been (and remain) at the mercy of this global capitalist 'Casino' with all its financial instability, volatility and unpredictability. Politicians in many countries have handed over democracies to the rule of money markets which are in the hands of psychopaths and sociopaths, as Bill Black said in the video (above).
PQ-Neolib-2

Just like any Casino, its the 'Croupiers' who rake in the profits. These are the financial speculators, hedge fund managers, bankers, ratings agencies, etc. Political leaders have made sure that the public are forced to 'bail out' the wrong-doers, the bankers, speculators, criminals, crooks and 'Croupiers'. Since the 2007/8 crisis the latter have been allowed to carry on in the same way, unpunished for their enormous crimes. At the same time, ordinary people from poverty-stricken or other disadvantaged backgrounds are often jailed for comparatively minor misdemeanours. The way these big economic crimes are not being dealt with is the opposite of Justice.

Over the past four decades this badly flawed economic system of neoliberalism has been embedded deeply into the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, EU, ASEAN, World Trade Organisation and a number of other global economic policy 'leaders'. Each of these has been very active in forcing this economic dystopia on numerous other countries, especially those seeking aid to develop. For most of its adherents neoliberalism (including politicians, political parties, most of the press and media - example here) has become a theology and a fundamentalist belief system – no other possibilities or alternatives are tolerated by them. Despite the most recent global financial crash little or nothing has been done to change the system, so more big problems are inevitable. Remember the Golden Rule : Those who have the gold make the rules...

Like other fundamentalisms, neoliberalism is extremely dangerous. It is heavily implicated in many of the current Global Concerns which we highlight here. In less than one lifetime neoliberalism has brought our planet to the edge of catastrophe – and the race towards the abyss is quickening.
PQ-Neolib-1
. Neoliberalism is now the dominant economic philosophy of the rich and powerful - nations, corporations and individuals. It has been spread under the influence of the USA and UK to a few other powerful nations. It now dominates international policy bodies. It has even been adopted, as the preferred model for parts of the Chinese economy. Despite its obvious problems Chinese communism has been quite successful at steadily lifting millions of citizens from poverty over the past four decades. But do they realise they have allowed psychopaths and sociopaths to worm their way into the chinese economy ? And what of the consequences ?

Largely as a result of neoliberal economic policies being 'globalised', since the 1980s there has been widening inequality (more here). Below are just four indicators of what is happening :

• In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. This figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010.

• The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44% in the five years since 2010 – that's an increase of more than half a trillion dollars ($542bn), to $1.76trillion.

• Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half fell by just over a trillion dollars in the same period – a drop of 41%.

• Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth, while 50% of that increase has gone to the top 1%.

So, in the neoliberal countries more and more people have been falling into poverty (e.g. having to rely on food handouts or food banks provided by charities) or becoming homeless, while the wealthiest (e.g. bankers, corporate executives, hedge fund managers, speculators - all the economic criminals, etc) have continued to see their incomes and assets increasing by very large amounts.

Neoliberalism has left many 'developing' countries exploited, robbed and devastated. Many of these are now economic wrecks, despite being rich in natural resources. Here is one example - from many around the world. Having become independent from their colonial masters in the
PQ-Neolib-3
twentieth century many countries are now locked into 'Corporate Colonialism'. Its extremely damaging and they may only 'survive' it at an abject level of poverty and social destruction. All this, to feed the greed of the small minority of already super-rich in the 'developed' countries. This is just one result of neoliberalism.


Below, we list some of the economic features of neoliberalism. Do you recognise some of these in your own society ?
SOME OF NEOLIBERALISM'S ECONOMIC FEATURES :

• Promoting and fostering an ideology of ‘Market fundamentalism’ – seeing global and national 'Free Markets' and ‘laissez faire’ that is : gambling in financial, currency, commodity and futures markets as the primary foundation of the global economy and the only allowable solution to societal needs

• Helping businesses and corporations to become 'free' from the state and from regulations, to do as they wish – regardless of the damage they do to the people and planet

• Increasing vast consumption in rich countries (through massive marketing and advertising budgets - i.e. propaganda) whilst laying waste to the planet by the extraction of natural resources and destruction of local and national communities, especially in poor countries

• Reducing taxes on businesses and corporations and leaving tax ‘flexibilities’ or loopholes for them to exploit and abuse for their own benefit at the cost of many societies

• Reducing the state’s tax collection activities, with reduced action against crimes such as tax abuse by the rich and by corporations

• Fostering and celebrating wealth and capital accumulation for a tiny minority : the rich and corporations

• Reducing state services to an absolutely minimal level or nothing at all

• Reducing state influence on the economy, including by abolishing state bodies or reducing their role

• Deregulating economic and business activities, notably : global capital flows and markets, and many financial sector activities, turning the global economy over to speculators - and giving the world 'Disaster Capitalism' and 'Casino Capitalism' with all of its catastrophic effects - this is pure Zombie Economics

• Deregulating by repealing and removing laws, statutes and regulations that were made to safeguard societies, communities, people and our only planet, but which are unpopular with businesses and corporations,

• Allowing voluntary supervision (of themselves) by industries to replace regulation by the state (and calling this ‘light-touch’ regulation)

• Removing or lowering trade barriers and fostering globalised trading which drives more and more economies in a global 'race to the bottom' destroying the lives of people everywhere

• Handing over state bodies and public services (by privatisation) to profit-seeking businesses

• Selling off state assets and services to the private sector at low prices, depriving whole populations of state assets which they need and which their taxes have paid, over generations, to develop

• Using public money to subsidise certain private sector industries and activities (e.g nuclear power stations, military activities and weapons research) and not others (e.g. health services, community and housing development for homeless people)

• Cutting funding for many central and local public services (e.g. education, health, welfare, pensions, law enforcement, social ‘safety nets’, etc) – under the ideology of ‘Austerity’

• Requiring citizens to pay for deregulated or privatised services that were formerly public services (e.g. higher education, water management, electricity generation & supply, health protection, other utilities, etc)

• Exporting millions of jobs from developed countries to undeveloped countries which have cheap labour, non-unionised workforces, few or no regulations, and dangerous or unhealthy working conditions

• Reducing the rights of workers, labour organisations and trades unions

• Increasingly irrational emphasis on ‘competition’, ‘individualism’, ‘self-reliance’, etc

• Sowing distrust of ideas such as ‘society’, ‘community’, ‘co-operation, ‘common good’, etc

• Reducing people to ‘Consumers’ instead of treating them as fully formed Citizens with full rights and entitlements

• Promoting the fantasy to poorer sections of society that neoliberalism distributes wealth by ‘trickle down’ from the rich, so poorer people could (that's the fantasy) benefit too - at some time in the future, possibly. This is well-proven pure fantasy.