A Brief History of Neoliberalism Quotes

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A Brief History of Neoliberalism A Brief History of Neoliberalism by David Harvey
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“Neoliberalization has not been very effective in revitalizing global capital accumulation, but it has succeeded remarkably well in restoring, or in some instances (as in Russia and China) creating, the power of an economic elite. The theoretical utopianism of neoliberal argument has, I conclude, primarily worked as a system of justification and legitimation for whatever needed to be done to achieve this goal.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Neoliberalization has meant ,in short,the financialization of everything.There was unquestionably a power shift away from production to the world of finance.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“The main substantive achievement of neoliberalization, however, has been to redistribute, rather than to generate, wealth and income. …[T]his was achieved under the rubric of ‘accumulation by dispossession’. By this I mean the continuation and proliferation of accumulation practices which Marx had treated of as ‘primitive’ or ‘original’ during the rise of capitalism. These include the commodification and privatization of land and the forceful expulsion of peasant populations (compare the cases, described above, of Mexico and of China, where 70 million peasants are thought to have been displaced in recent times); conversion of various forms of property rights (common, collective, state, etc.) into exclusive private property rights (most spectacularly represented by China); suppression of rights to the commons; commodification of labour power and the suppression of alternative (indigenous) forms of production and consumption; colonial, neocolonial, and imperial processes of appropriation of assets (including natural resources); monetization of exchange and taxation, particularly of land; the slave trade (which continues particularly in the sex industry); and usury, the national debt and, most devastating of all, the use of the credit system as a radical means of accumulation by dispossession.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Neoliberal theorists are, however, profoundly suspicious of democracy. Governance by majority rule is seen as a potential threat to individual rights and constitutional liberties. Democracy is viewed as a luxury, only possible under conditions of relative affluence coupled with a strong middle-class presence to guarantee political stability. Neoliberals therefore tend to favour governance by experts and elites.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“The process of neoliberalization has, however, entailed much ‘creative destruction’,”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“State interventions in markets (once created) must be kept to a bare minimum because, according to the theory, the state cannot possibly possess enough information to second-guess market signals (prices) and because powerful interest groups will inevitably distort and bias state interventions (particularly in democracies) for their own benefit.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Thatcher forged consent through the cultivation of a middle class that relished the joys of home ownership, private property, individualism, and the liberation of entrepreneurial opportunities.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Beyond the speculative and often fraudulent froth that characterizes much of neoliberal financial manipulation, there lies a deeper process that entails the springing of ‘the debt trap’ as a primary means of accumulation by dispossession. Crisis creation, management, and manipulation on the world stage has evolved into the fine art of deliberative redistribution of wealth from poor countries to the rich. I documented the impact of Volcker’s interest rate increase on Mexico earlier. While proclaiming its role as a noble leader organizing ‘bail-outs’ to keep global capital accumulation on track, the US paved the way to pillage the Mexican economy. This was what the US Treasury–Wall Street–IMF complex became expert at doing everywhere. Greenspan at the Federal Reserve deployed the same Volcker tactic several times in the 1990s. Debt crises in individual countries, uncommon during the 1960s, became very frequent during the 1980s and 1990s. Hardly any developing country remained untouched, and in some cases, as in Latin America, such crises became endemic. These debt crises were orchestrated, managed, and controlled both to rationalize the system and to redistribute assets. Since 1980, it has been calculated, ‘over fifty Marshall Plans (over $4.6 trillion) have been sent by the peoples at the Periphery to their creditors in the Center’. ‘What a peculiar world’, sighs Stiglitz, ‘in which the poor countries are in effect subsidizing the richest.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“What the US evidently sought to impose by main force on Iraq was a state apparatus whose fundamental mission was to facilitate conditions for profitable capital accumulation on the part of both domestic and foreign capital. I call this kind of state apparatus a neoliberal state. The freedoms it embodies reflect the interests of private property owners, businesses, multinational corporations, and financial capital. Bremer invited the Iraqis, in short, to ride their horse of freedom straight into the neoliberal corral.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“The assumption that individual freedoms are guaranteed by freedom of the market and of trade is a cardinal feature of neoliberal thinking, and it has long dominated the US stance towards the rest of the world.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“The central values of civilization are in danger. Over large stretches of the earth’s surface the essential conditions of human dignity and freedom have already disappeared. In others they are under constant menace from the development of current tendencies of policy. The position of the individual and the voluntary group are progressively undermined by extensions of arbitrary power. Even that most precious possession of Western Man, freedom of thought and expression, is threatened by the spread of creeds which, claiming the privilege of tolerance when in the position of a minority, seek only to establish a position of power in which they can suppress and obliterate all views but their own. The group holds that these developments have been fostered by the growth of a view of history which denies all absolute moral standards and by the growth of theories which question the desirability of the rule of law. It holds further that they have been fostered by a decline of belief in private property and the competitive market; for without the diffused power and initiative associated with these institutions it is difficult to imagine a society in which freedom may be effectively preserved.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“The management of the New York fiscal crisis pioneered the way for neoliberal practices both domestically under Reagan and internationally through the IMF in the 1980s. It established the principle that in the event of a conflict between the integrity of financial institutions and bondholders’ returns, on the one hand, and the well-being of the citizens on the other, the former was to be privileged.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“With the whole world in economic recession, a new approach was called for.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“The shift from government (state power on its own) to governance (a broader configuration of state and key elements in civil society) has therefore been marked under neoliberalism.11 In this respect the practices of the neoliberal and developmental state broadly converge.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“What the neo-conservatives do is to change the ‘peculiar ways’ in which such questions enter into debate. Their aim is to counteract the dissolving effect of the chaos of individual interests that neoliberalism typically produces. They in no way depart from the neoliberal agenda of a construction or restoration of a dominant class power. But they seek legitimacy for that power, as well as social control through construction of a climate of consent around a coherent set of moral values.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“The management of the New York fiscal crisis pioneered the way for neoliberal practices both domestically under Reagan and internationally through the IMF (international monetary fund) in the 1980s. It established the principle that in the event of a conflict between the integrity of financial institutions , on one hand , and the well-being of the citizens on the other, the former was to be privileged .it emphasized that the role of the government was to create a good business climate rather than look to the needs and well-being of the popualtion at large.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“the neoliberal turn is in some way and to some degree associated with the restoration or reconstruction of the power of economic elites.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“For the elite, living comfortably in their gilded ghettos, the world must indeed seem a better place.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Redistributive effects and increasing social inequality have in fact been such a persistent feature of neoliberalization as to be regarded as structural to the whole project. Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy, after careful reconstruction of the data, have concluded that neoliberalization was from the very beginning a project to achieve the restoration of class power.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“a button that elites can press to open the door to the masses”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Planning and control are being attacked as a denial of freedom. Free enterprise and private ownership are declared to be essentials of freedom. No society built on other foundations is said to deserve to be called free. The freedom that regulation creates is denounced as unfreedom; the justice, liberty and welfare it offers are decried as a camouflage of slavery.35 The”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Finance capital increasingly looked abroad for higher rates of return.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Volcker, Reagan, Thatcher, and Deng Xaioping all took minority arguments that had long been in circulation and made them majoritarian (though in no case without a protracted struggle).”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Volcker and Thatcher both plucked from the shadows of relative obscurity a particular doctrine that went under the name of ‘neoliberalism’ and transformed it into the central guiding principle of economic thought and management.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism
“Powerful corporations in alliance with an interventionist state were seen to be running the world in individually oppressive and socially unjust ways.”
David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism