Friday, 22 March 2019

The Truth About Neoliberalism

Phil Mullan masterfully sets out what leads him to this conclusion: 

Motivated by those three concerns – international conflict, capitalist collapse, and the distrust of people – globalists are pragmatic, often fervent, about using state institutions to maintain and stabilise capitalist economic relations. 

The ‘liberal’ rules of the international financial regime were constructed more to build the capacity of international organisations, not to limit the interventions of individual governments. 

Globalists are happy running not just international institutions but national ones, too, as long as they can build in protection from democratic accountability.

Globalists and neoliberals will still today repeatedly recite their belief in the ‘free market’ and in ‘free trade’. 

But the freedom that really motivates them is not freedom from state intervention. It is freedom from the intrusion of politics. 

In the end this comes down to freedom from being answerable to the people. 

The triple goals of protecting capitalism from war, from breakdown, and from popular intrusion, and ultimately from popular insurrection, is what necessitates the globalist desire to curb the potentially disruptive effects on market processes of national democracy. 

The synthesis of those three fears accounts for the anti-political core of neoliberal globalism. Slobodian appropriately describes neoliberalism as less a theory of the market, or of economics, than of law and the state. 

Neoliberal-informed globalism is much more a political project than it is an economic one. 

Hayek’s most important contribution to globalism was not his romantic attachment to the free market. It was his arguments about what he called the ‘dethronement of politics’. 

The irony is that the neoliberal goal of ‘depoliticising the economy’ is itself a political programme. It ultimately finds expression in trying to shield capitalism from democratic influences. 

As early as 1932, Eucken, the father of German Ordoliberalismus, had openly denounced what he called the ‘democratisation of the world’, referring to the masses coming into politics through ‘universal’ (although, then, mostly male) suffrage. 

Almost exactly 50 years later, after visiting Pinochet’s Chile, Hayek was equally explicit about his contempt for democracy.

In an interview with the Chilean newspaper, El Mercurio, he said he was ‘totally against dictatorships’ as long-term institutions, ‘but… at times it is necessary for a country to have, for a time, some form… of dictatorial power’. 

‘Personally’, he continued, ‘I prefer a liberal dictator to democratic government lacking liberalism’. 

This summed up the globalist philosophy that you cannot have political freedom without economic freedom, but economic freedom is okay without political freedom. 

A quarter-century later, in 2015, Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, expressed the same authoritarian message: ‘There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties.’ 

This was no slip of the tongue. A few years earlier, when leading the Eurogroup of finance ministers, Juncker explained, ‘Monetary policy is a serious issue. We should discuss this in secret.’ 

He went on to acknowledge, ‘I’m ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic but I want to be serious… I am for secret, dark debates’. 

It is not such a long step from Hayek supporting General Pinochet’s Chilean dictatorship in the 1980s to the anti-democratic impulses of the EU bureaucracy in the 21st century.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. 

It has become a local commonplace that I am on 30-30-30 with Labour and the Conservatives here at North West Durham, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post. 

I will stand for this seat, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Please email Very many thanks.

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