Neoliberalism

What Does 'Neoliberalism' Really Mean?

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Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism, by Quinn Slobodian, Harvard University Press, 400 pages, $35

The word neoliberal is academia's most reviled poltergeist. The term's definition is notoriously fluid, though it usually involves a litany of tropes about globalization and "market ideology" leaving a destructive trail of exploitation and inequality around the world. The scholarly literature on neoliberalism is as vast as it is vacuous, typically deploying its subject as a pejorative stand-in for free market economics. But neoliberalism isn't much more than a ghost of an ideology—or at least it doesn't have many claimants. There are no self-identified neoliberal schools of thought today, excluding minor attempts to appropriate the phrase.

A small group of academics, among them Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, did briefly bat the term around in the late 1930s as they tried to carve out a place for free market ideas amid the Depression and Europe's growing clouds of illiberalism. The name never really stuck, though. Its closest cousin today comes not from Mises or Hayek but from the lesser-known German "ordoliberal" school that developed after the war—essentially a rule-based blend of market principles, conservative central banking, and a fiscally disciplined social safety net. Yet for reasons of both intellectual interest and ideology, modern theorists point to the Mises-Hayek group as an origin story for their poltergeist.

Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism is a thoroughgoing attempt to develop a historical link between the classical liberal economists of the interwar period and the posited ascendance of neoliberalism in our time. The author, Wellesley historian Quinn Slobodian, contends that the "neoliberal" institutions of today—by which he means the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, and an assortment of international trade conventions—are the progeny of the aforementioned classical liberals of the early 20th century. The twist, Slobodian contends, is that maintaining an international capitalist norm requires deviation from the precepts of laissez faire. Thus we arrive at a neoliberal institutional structure today that trumps not only national sovereignty but alleged manifestations of popular will, particularly those that might "collectively" appropriate private wealth.

Several elements of this book are impressive. Slobodian digs deep into the archives to map out his subjects' intellectual network, dubbing them the "Geneva School" in the process. But his excavations are processed from a heavily ideological vantage point that is almost completely adversarial toward his subject matter. Globalists is awash in fascinating content, but its author is often adrift at interpreting the important material he has accumulated.

This problem manifests in two related ways. The first is a basic unfamiliarity with economics as a scholarly discipline. Many subjects Slobodian presents as idiosyncratic characteristics of free market ideology are, rather, matters of common economic consensus. His presentation of the history of trade liberalization as a distinctively neoliberal project is symptomatic.

Although Slobodian focuses on European contributions to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and its successor, the WTO, you cannot contextualize this story accurately without discussing the collapse in global trade following the United States' disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1930. But it wasn't an overlooked school of economists in Geneva who reversed this course. It was mainly President Franklin Roosevelt and the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934. This measure inaugurated a global paradigm shift away from legislative tariff-making and toward the diplomacy-centric model we know today.

This New Deal angle is missing from Slobodian's story, although there is no shortage of trying to retrofit neoliberal thinkers into the deep background of today's global trade institutions—even as he concedes that there was "little or no input from the neoliberals themselves" at key political moments in the processes.

This is not to suggest that Slobodian's Geneva School was absent from trade debates. Quite the contrary. Gottfried Haberler, for example, was one of the leading mid-century trade economists and applied his influence to reducing trade barriers. Twentieth-century trade liberalization is simply a much broader and more politically diverse story than the one Slobodian tells.

A second and perhaps more serious problem is the author's ideological myopia. Slobodian carries with him the training of a scholar steeped in critical theory, power asymmetries, and the "Global South" of postcolonial solidarity movements. These tools are not necessarily unsuited for the subject, but they add several eccentricities to the analysis. Thus, Mao Zedong is introduced to the reader as simply an "anticolonial intellectual," while the very concept of property rights is presented as another "neoliberal" convention.

The author's myopia extends to the heart of his attempt to coin a distinctively neoliberal Geneva School of economic thought. The designation comes from the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Mises' Geneva-based academic home in the late interwar period, which served as a point of connection for nearly all the figures in Slobodian's account. The conservative economist Wilhelm Roepke relocated there in 1937, and a slew of visiting appointments and conferences brought Hayek, Haberler, Lionel Robbins, and the German ordoliberals to its campus.

The institute did indeed play an important and neglected role as an academic waystation for several camps of free market thought. But Slobodian struggles to identify the commonality that brought so many prominent figures to such a small and relatively obscure institution at this point in time. He offers elaborate theories to this end, including a Depression-era crisis of method that shook market theory loose of its laissez faire precepts, a shared contempt for democracy, even an element of pining for the dissipated remnants of the Habsburg empire. The elephant in the room is that these scholars congregated in Geneva as they fled Hitler's persecution campaigns.

To economic liberals, anti-fascist conservatives, and ethnically Jewish academics, Switzerland was the life raft of the German-speaking world. Yet aside from a few passing references to a flight from Vienna because of "the coming fascist wave," the Nazi threat is largely missing from Slobodian's account. This is no small oversight, as Hayek's seminal Road to Serfdom (1944) and Mises' lesser-known Planned Chaos (1947) grappled directly with this totalitarian upheaval.

Slobodian does not just miss this; he offers frequent asides that imply subtle affinities between the Geneva School and Nazism. Thus we're told that only the raising of tariff walls soured certain "neoliberal" perspectives on fascism; that the Geneva School acquired its "global imaginary" from the ex-Nazi legal philosopher Carl Schmitt; that Hayek's conceptual distinction between law and legislation was "shared" with Schmitt (though Hayek was more apt to link this distinction to Enlightenment antecedents); and that certain selectively curated statements of Mises and Roepke evinced fascistic sympathies. The most charitable thing that can be said of these swipes is that they simplify a complex context (e.g., the ordoliberals did engage with Schmitt's work; Hayek wrote that Schmitt "regularly came down on what to me appears both morally and intellectually the wrong side"). But they also omit their subjects' adversarial relationships with Nazi ideology. One might have noted, for example, that in the 1920s, Mises stood as a rare academic voice against eugenically tinged immigration restrictions and population control measures.

Slobodian similarly imposes an ideological lens onto mid-century geopolitics. The problem of communism, a central preoccupation of market liberals, is relegated to a peripheral concern, while the decolonization of the Global South—a subject closer to the author's own training—assumes center stage. Decolonization is an important issue, and one of Slobodian's more interesting chapters contains a biting critique of Roepke's retrograde racial views in the context of South African apartheid. The evidence that Slobodian develops leaves a considerable mark on the conservative economist's legacy, and it shows the ethical tensions at play in the fight against communism. Less examined is Roepke's bitter falling out with Hayek and his eventual departure from the pro-market Mont Pelerin Society—a missed opportunity, since this episode reveals pronounced internal disagreement among a group of scholars who too often are casually lumped under that broad neoliberal label.

While Slobodian asserts a direct lineage "from the end of the Habsburg Empire to the foundation of the World Trade Organization," that final step is the weakest part of the evidentiary trail. Finding a conspicuous absence of direct Geneva School representation inside the WTO, Slobodian must instead argue that its intellectual influence seeped into the institution's administrative ranks. He shows that a handful of formative players in the GATT's evolution used Hayek in their work, crossed paths with Mont Pelerin members, and believed in free trade. He seems to forget that Hayek attained high stature in economics and an accompanying level of citations, or that trade economists interact professionally with other trade economists. What he presents as intellectual genealogy looks awfully similar to routine scholarly exchanges around an influential figure, or to a widely shared consensus belief of the profession.

A sympathetic reader of Globalists might reply that this citation pattern and economists' free trade doctrines offer their own evidence of neoliberalism's triumph. And Slobodian has made a reasonable case that his subjects' ideas extend well into the economic mainstream, albeit asymmetrically. That finding is intriguing in its own right, when it is not lost in the chaos of an ideological ghost hunt.

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  1. Whatever merits classical liberalism had, such as open mindedness, what we now call liberalism is nothing more than superficial virtue signaling, hypocrisy and “tolerance” only for their point of view. Everyone else is a bigot and a bad person! Sad!
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    1. Not all conservatives are bigots. Most of them merely appease bigotry because they see that as the best chance left to prop up their stale right-wing ideology.

  2. Neoliberals ridiculously obsess over free trade. Sad. Tariffs allow nations to win trade wars bigly.

  3. I see neoliberalism as being capitalism but with a government issued social safety net. My main problem with it is the safety net – it is unnecessary and even counterproductive. It is too easily manipulated and abused and makes people dependent and resentful. We are told that people will die in the streets without it, but in fact people are dying in the streets as a result of it. (E.g. homelessness, drug addiction ‘treatment’, France.) But beyond that, neoliberals tend to focus on ‘democracy’ instead of freedom. Soros is a good example. The problem of course, is that democracies quickly erode freedom of minorities. Instead, they should focus on basic rights and equality. Currently the only country in the world with free speech is the USA. I would like to read a book about why other countries seem to have no interest in importing this value.

    1. How about you focus on reading some intelligent things instead of the craphole dregs of conspiracy bullshit? George Soros? WTF? It’s like you people work hard to be stupid.

      A world before safety nets was not a fun world, relatively speaking. Ask any of the gazillions of brain-damaged morons yelling in concert with FOX News all day as they take in every government penny available to them.

      1. George Soros? WTF?
        Tell us all again about the dangers of the Koch brothers, Tony.

        1. In Tony land all people on his side have only benevolent intentions AND outcomes.

      2. The world before safety nets was the world where extreme poverty was the default position of all but the most powerful, whose life was only marginally better. Once markets and capitalism began lifting the world out of poverty, statists invented safety nets as a means of increasing state power, not as a means of making lives better. The world would be better off without government safety nets, where the phrase really means safety for statists and nets to ensnare everybody else. Person-to-person charity does more to help the poor than government.

  4. The key point is that any word with “Liberalism” used by Lefties, never means being Pro-Liberty, Pro-freedom, or Pro-Civil Rights.

    Its just another way to fool the Useful Idiots to fight for Socialism under whatever delusion they can stomach.

    1. Liberal in Bastiat’s time meant laissez-faire, but sugar and cotton planters wanted “property” to mean slaves, as in Biblical times. Princeton economics Prof. Joseph Stagg Lawrence’s “Wall Street and Washington” revived laissez-faire in a modern libertarian sense in 1929, when Bert Hoover was sworn in to enforce the Five & Ten felony beer law. Hoover’s denunciations of laissez-faire would have done Hitler or Stalin credit, but were, after all, required by his oath of office. Hoover’s Administration wrecked and burned once the Dems copied the Liberal Party repeal plank. As a result Hoover was the last Republican elected until Tricky Dick rode in as veep on Ike’s coattails. Republicans copied Hitler’s 1932 pronunciation of liberal, but outside of the US Republican party, liberal means gelded libertarian. Communists hate “liberales” and libertarios alike as “la misma cosa” just as objectivists lump Wallace collectivists, the Klan, Birchers, Nationalsocialists, mixed-economy looters and communists into the looter circle. But only in Amerika does “liberal” mean “non-nazi,” communist or “anti-prohibitionist” as if they were synonyms and a bad thing. The rest of the world is baffled by this equivocation.

      1. You’re even more vapid than Tony

  5. “The author, Wellesley historian Quinn Slobodian, contends that the “neoliberal” institutions of today?by which he means the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, and an assortment of international trade conventions?are the progeny of the aforementioned classical liberals of the early 20th century. The twist, Slobodian contends, is that maintaining an international capitalist norm requires deviation from the precepts of laissez faire. Thus we arrive at a neoliberal institutional structure today that trumps not only national sovereignty but alleged manifestations of popular will, particularly those that might “collectively” appropriate private wealth.”

    1. This quote (large as it is) seems to give the author’s whole game away.

      The ascendency of the “neoliberalism” he’s bemoaning isn’t the result of the ideas of any time so much as it’s the result of the failure of communism and central planning and the facts of market forces and how they work in reality. Market forces worked as they do before anyone ever discovered and described them. If Mises and Hayek and Adam Smith had never been born, market forces would have had their way with us in reality anyway and central planning would still be a failure.

      Do you people have any idea how many millions of people are harmed every year by the laws of physics? It isn’t just car crashes; it’s also things elderly people falling in their bathtubs and breaking a hip. Little kids breaking their arms when they fall from a tree. Every gun I’ve ever seen works on the principles of these damn laws of physics. And you know who’s to blame? It’s that evil Isaac Newton, that’s who. If only it weren’t for Isaac Newton and his ideas, millions and millions of people would be safe from the evil force of gravity!

      1. I have often compared markets to gravity, usually as the long term futility of trying to dam a river; but you’ve done a better job. Thanks, and I will crib your comments 🙂

        1. I have often compared markets to gravity

          Gravity is merely a theory, much like evolution.

          1. Whatever gravity is, it acts upon us and has always done so regardless of whether we believe in it or whether Newton or someone else accurately described it.

            Whether you believe in market forces and the ways they operate, they’re at work on us anyway, and it wouldn’t matter if Adam Smith, Mises, or Hayek had never lived and described their interactions. Market forces would still be acting on us anyway.

            In those ways, market forces are like forces in physics. Two things don’t need to be perfectly alike in every way in order to be an appropriate analogy–so long as the ways in which they’re the same are the things being compared.

            Women are like flowers in that they’re all beautiful in their own way. Pointing out that women don’t use photosynthesis is a red herring. Women are like flowers in that they’re all beautiful in their own way regardless of whether flowers use photosynthesis. And if you can’t follow such a simple analogy because it offends your preferred narrative, then you should probably question your own objectivity–if you can.

            1. Not surprisingly, force-initiating conservatives eagerly adopt the looter rhetoric of market “force.” In agorist reality, “free markets,” the complete, correct, uncoercive and politically uncommunistic expression, mean freedom of trade and production. Freedom, in a political context, is freedom from the very coercion communists and conservatives BOTH want to force on us at gunpoint–and out of altruistic concern for our own “good.” When Adam Smith spoke of the “violence of law,” he was referring to THOSE sort of forces.

          2. Well, you could flight test yourself in regard to gravity being a theory, but I don’t recommend it. The best description of flying I ever ran across described it as basically falling… and missing the ground. Normally, a mistake that big requires a government grant, but I digress.

          3. You really don’t understand how you made Ken’s point!

      2. Yea, that sadly is lost on too many jackasses that get into government service. They have the delusion and arrogance to think that things will work if just THEY were the ones with the big gun. Their malfeasance does border on mental retardation in all honesty in their inability to ever admit fault or reverse course.

        1. The left seems to be all about narrative. They somehow think that believing in things is what gives them their power–as if the belief in free market capitalism, somehow, is the thing that makes central planning fail.

          Somehow, they do imagine that the American experience with central planning would achieve better results than what happened in the Soviet Union, China, East Germany, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, and that’s because if Liz Warren were in charge, well, she cares about people.

          Somehow the futility of the exercise never enters into their calculations. Like I said, it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in physics. If the plane you design doesn’t account for them, it will crash and burn. And it doesn’t matter who the pilot is or how much the pilot isn’t a racist, isn’t a homophobe, and cares about people. That isn’t the issue.

          1. I agree, but the right (and perhaps, by definition, all political types who want power) is just as much about the narrative. Traditional conservatives have bible stories and other archaic moral codes to enforce, lest we end up on some god’s shit list. Necons need enemies to wage war upon–to keep us safe, of course. And whatever Trump represents needs fairy tales of all kinds, along with a savior figure(head).

            All of these are just as eager for a government that directs THEIR narrative.

            1. We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about the belief in “neoliberalism”, by which the author of this book appears to imagine that it’s the belief in markets that is the problem. Like I keep saying, markets would behave as they do even if we didn’t believe in them.

              If creationism is comparable, it’s only that organisms evolve regardless of what creationists believe. But who’s trying to build an economy around creationism? Creationism is relatively unimportant that way. The right isn’t trying to inflict creationism on us the way that the left is trying to inflict central planning.

  6. I’m sure this tussle over “neoliberalism” matters to some, but it strikes me as some modern descendant of how many angels could dance on a pin head. Statism is statism is statism, and would smell as sickly by any other name. What matter is self-ownership, and there’s a name which needs little definition. Liberty is liberty is liberty, and offends statists as much by whatever name they dredge up at any time.

    1. Go live somewhere without a state and see how much liberty you have available to you.

      1. They would 100% Liberty in Anarchyland.

        Unfortunately, Socialists like you will try and take it from them via force.

        1. Liberty defined a certain, stupid, way, yes.

          1. Poor Tony doesnt like the Reality of words. Big shocker!

        2. They would 100% Liberty in Anarchyland.

          The subliterate approach — capitalization, grammar — indicates an audition for the Trump Tweety Team.

          Good luck.

          1. If it is good enough for Thomas Jefferson it is good enough for me.

            Also, fuck off troll.

            1. Thomas Jefferson owned people and extended the US federal government over half a continent.

              1. And he died bankrupt, too. Not great for someone expected to support free markets, even if he whittled away at his debt by selling books to the Congressional library while he was president.

                1. Jefferson was President for 8 years. Back then, it wasn’t cool to get rich off your position of power in the US. He was working for the country rather than himself. He paid for his own travel and for dinners with foreign officials. Sure, he should have reduced his lifestyle and budgeted better, but to claim it is some stain on the market is the height of idiocy.

                  Absolutely, spectacularly stupid. You should be ashamed of yourself for being that dumb.

              2. And we Americans see how bad Socialism is…so we can actively avoid it.

                Sometimes personal experience causes one to advocate for others to be better. Thomas Jefferson fought for America to be better in the future.

                MAGA!

              3. That is rich coming from you.

              4. How is your second point bad or evil?

  7. Putin says Russia is ready for ‘wide ranging’ dialogue with US in the new year

    Yeah. Sure. “Dialogue.”

    Actually, it can’t be called a dialogue when one side pulls the puppet strings of the other. As we all know by now ? and as Robert Mueller will definitively prove next year ? Drumpf works directly for Putin. That frighteningly irresponsible Syria withdrawal? Putin made Drumpf do it. I voted for Hillary Clinton in part because I knew she’d never do something so reckless, so counterproductive to global stability.

    Patriotic Americans shouldn’t want dialogue at this point anyway. Russia’s 2016 attack on our voting system was no less serious than Pearl Harbor or 9 / 11. Putin must be forcefully confronted for hacking our democracy, and military action should not be off the table.

    #StillWithHer
    #TrumpRussia
    #LibertariansForStayingInSyria
    #LibertariansForGettingToughWithRussia

    1. Red Army weak. Our boys could be in Moscow by March if we had a present day version of Gen. Patton. F**k Asiatic Bolshevism!

      1. Our boys could be in Moscow by March if we had a present day version of Gen. Patton.

        If the next Democratic Commander in Chief decides that’s the optimal strategy, I’ll support it.

  8. Damn, this makes me think “neo-liberalism” means whatever the hell the Left wants it to mean and what the Left always wants words to mean is the exact opposite of what normal people consider the term to mean. (“Inclusivity”. I rest my case.)

    When you talk about “the “neoliberal” institutions of today?by which he means the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Bank, and an assortment of international trade conventions” as if they’re anywhere in the same universe as classical liberalism and free market ideology, you’re either ignorant, insane or Orwellian. Globalism is simply rule by Top Men, the scientific technocracy favored by the likes of Woodrow Wilson, Benito Mussolini and busy-body Nanny State buttinskis everywhere who think God was an idiot for creating a universe filled with people too stupid to run their own lives without their advice and consent. They intend to rectify God’s mistake.

    1. Exactly.

  9. Trump: “We give Israel billions of dollars, they’ll be okay.” This cavalier attitude is deeply worrying. Ignores the role of US as force multiplier for Israeli deterrence. From here it’s a short step to Trump asking: why are we giving Israel so much money?

    This is exactly what you’d expect from an alt-right white supremacist President ? questioning the relationship between the US and Israel. Such anti-Semitic thoughts might appeal to David Duke and Pat Buchanan, but decent Americans should reject them.

    #LibertariansForGivingIsraelMoney

    1. I see you missed something about Duke: he does nothing but proverbial silver crosses his palm first. His “endorsement” of Trump was not an endorsement, it was supposed to be a bag of bricks tied to the leg of a drowning man. He’s a dixiecrat in drag, and his home state rejects him resoundingly whenever he pops out of the woodwork.
      So the question we must ask is… what did Duke receive in 2016, and who shoveled it to him? Please note his preferred currency is recent donor and mailing lists that can be sold to campaigns for quick cash.

      1. One afterthought: for all the overreach of Mueller, how is it that Duke hasn’t fallen into the investigation column? Considering how easy pickings that is for staining Trump by proxy, the absence of interest in somebody so widely reviled is truly remarkable.

  10. Without reference to this book, I would have to say that “Neoliberal” means that the same old buttinsky Progressive/Lefties are feeling the need for a new rebranding…since the Deplorables aren’t listening to their betters under the current labels.

    I think they’re going to find that the Deplorables quickly conclude that if it walks like a Schmuck and it talks like a Schmuck and it condescends like a Schmuck, it’s a Schmuck.

    1. True. Outside These States and Dominions, barbarians leapt on “neo-conservative” as a refreshing new way to talk about non-communists without dragging in Gentile Mendelian Race Suicide theories that drive T Roosevelt, G Wallace and A Hitler protagonists apoplectic about forcing them Jezebels to squeeze out pups for Fuehrer und Vaterland!

  11. If you’re an American who constantly sings the virtues of federalism, it would be odd to complain about the lack of direct democratic access to international institutions (which are easy targets of conspiracy theorists, but which do a pretty good job at preventing WWIII, so far). Nation-states are going to interact one way or another, and it’s better if it’s cooperatively rather than antagonistically. I’ve long leaned more democratically (small d) than most people here, but you guys hate democracy because you think you’re entitled to everything you want just because . . . you’re intellectually and emotionally stunted? Mom didn’t buy you Cheetos every time you yelled for some from her basement?

    But democracy is just one check among many on institutions, one that carries the talisman of legitimization. People with buy-in are calmer, and passion is the real problem. Wars don’t happen because people think war is the most logical use of resources. Riots are a failure of good policy-making, including a misallocation of wealth away from the people doing most of the work and toward people who’ve found novel ways of accumulating it so that they can stick it in their ears and go “ptphptpht!”

    Nothing is guaranteed, but Plato had this figured out long before Madison. Be cool and don’t be so emotional about things. We’re all in it together, as even a libertarian will acknowledge the moment he needs something from someone else.

    1. “don’t be so emotional about things.”

      AH HA HA HA HA HA!!!!

      1. You say in a calm, dignified manner.

    2. Exactly passion and over emotionality are the real enemy. We need to enact good policies that placate the poor so they don’t rise up and ruin everything. That’s the basis of good society, and explains how miserable everyone was in the USA before FDR. I know few of you were alive back then, but I’ve read books: trust me.

      Also, one could say civilization began when the wiser, more peaceful societies built walls to repel invaders and outsiders. For thousands of years, civilization has depended on walls. I like civilization. Do you?

      1. Depended? Name a wall that actually worked. Also, we have flying machines now.

        1. I’m sorry, but walls are necessary and do work, because if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have been built in the first place. Obviously, the free market of no walls just didn’t work. QED.

          1. Not even the Great Wall of China worked. It is however highly amusing arguing against massive government projects that serve no purpose except to attempt to subjugate people for no reason–against libertarians.

            1. The Great Wall of China didn’t work, so all walls are pointless.

              We have more than rocks now, you know.

        2. You say “worked” as if their is some kind of pure. No, what’s real is efficacy – your local jail probably has an escapee rate of less than 0.1%, so there’s one wall that worked. That and one of the longest standing cultures on the planet is… China. What of their wall?

          1. That and they built and uses the wall over the course of centuries.

            Strange effort for an idea that didn’t “work.” Or, Tony is functionally retarded.

            1. All evidence points to the latter.

        3. “Name a wall that actually worked.”

          The Israeli terror-preventing wall

  12. Magness and Slobodian exemplify the self-deception whereby mercantilists and communists alike blink away the traffic in opiates by Germany, Austro-Hungary, France, the UK (through Japan) and yes, Switzerland, which was glutted by effective Chinese prohibition in 1912. The Hague convention lacked a few signatures, opportunity knocked and the Balkan Wars soon escalated into the Great War among the morphine processing nations. This inconvenient fact, along with Ayn Rand’s post-Nuremberg reworking of ethical principles (and economics) simply HAVE to be swept under the carpet. On this, Slobodian’s communist and Magness’ mixed-economy ideologies are in perfect agreement. SInce 1957, Von Mises and Hayek are shoved into the limelight by advocates for the initiation of force–primarily as impotent catspaws to obfuscate the revolution pioneered by Ayn Rand. Magness and Slobodian will, I’ll wager, deny that Mabel Willebrandt’s syndicated column on Prohibition reversed the slope of stock prices in These States on 03SEP1929 (or at least feign bewilderment at the suggestion). But the mixed-economy cartels dumping heroin in China were the root of both World Wars. Anti-libertarian professors and writers of “both” mixed-economy schools are induced, like Orwell’s most useful dog, to elide any fact that might encroach upon the fantasy-world that points away from how Prohibition and its exploitation molded economic collapse and war in the 20th Century.

  13. Normally, tilting at labels is worth examining – there’s often something to learn about ourselves and the world at large. But I find myself laden with ennui, adrift in a sea of disinformation and outright idiocy. Too many political hacks of various stripes have done so much violence to language and ideas… I’m about to give up on labels. For example: does anyone know what a “conservative” is anymore? I don’t. It may have been clear in the 60s, but LBJ’s big government juggernaut pretty much steamrolled past William F. Buckley and left him in the dust. The metastasizing cancer of identity politics hasn’t helped my predicament one iota either. Today, the label of “liberal” is in just as bad a shape with the Occasional Cortex bursting on the scene and a landscape of Bernie bots tilting at their own windmills with less realism than most cubists can muster. It may be that western civilization has simply imploded. But there’s no video of that to collectively sum it up, so don’t look for it on the news.
    In short: I hate Harvard.

    1. A conservative, at least in America, is someone who actively works to destroy everything on planet earth. Words, how silly they are!

  14. I would describe the term neoliberalism as the modern ideology to make the rest of the world look/exist like the US or Europe. By using economic, political, or warfare to create these changes in hopes of having a international democratic order.

    1. I think that better describes neocons. But you are right in the regards that there is little difference between the two, ultimately.

      I think a neoliberal is basically Hillary Clinton. A soulless monster that knows the right words to say, but ultimately has no real principles besides accumulating power. Another example would be pretty much the entire EU. Within this ideology lies their useful idiots and willing tools, such as the Reason staff, that spend most of their efforts covering up their misdeeds and doing their best to destroy the enemies of neoliberals.

  15. My first guess was “reboiled Marxism” and it appears I’m very wrong.

  16. The End of this and The End of that.

    Can we come up with different titles?!

  17. Socialists like to call right-wingers (or policies they don’t like) ‘neoliberals’. At least, that’s how one socialist on the radio used to.

    So, for example, if a politician wanted to curb spending through austerity measures, it was called ‘neoliberal’.

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