Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Book to Look For

A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

I first read about it in a George Monbiot article.

These problems appear unrelated, but they all have something in common. They arise in large part from a meeting that took place 60 years ago in a Swiss spa resort. It laid the foundations for a philosophy of government that is responsible for many, perhaps most, of our contemporary crises.

When the Mont Pelerin Society first met, in 1947, its political project did not have a name. But it knew where it was going. The society's founder, Friedrich von Hayek, remarked that the battle for ideas would take a least a generation to win, but he knew that his intellectual army would attract powerful backers. Its philosophy, which later came to be known as neoliberalism, accorded with the interests of the ultra-rich, so the ultra-rich would promote it.


...

But as David Harvey proposes in his book A Brief History of Neoliberalism, wherever the neoliberal programme has been implemented, it has caused a massive shift of wealth not just to the top one percent, but to the top tenth of the top one per cent(4). In the United States, for example, the upper 0.1% has already regained the position it held at the beginning of the 1920s(5). The conditions that neoliberalism demands in order to free human beings from the slavery of state -minimal taxes, the dismantling of public services and social security, deregulation, the breaking of the unions – just happen to be the conditions required to make the elite even richer, while leaving everyone else to sink or swim.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Interesting...I've seen David Harvey's name in a number of places, and he seems to have interesting things to say, but I've yet to have a chance to read anything by him....