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Transcript of Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is an economic system that is based on the idea of the free market. It advocates little government involvement and regulation. It sounds innocent enough, but things are not always as they seem.
Neoliberalism generates a collection of impacts, some of which are surprising.
Neoliberalism hides behind a facade of "freedom" to achieve its true intentions, which are ironically the exact opposite of what it claims to stand for. In order to understand this, here are a few terms you need to know.
Mahima Pirani, Shriya Sharma, Alex Jeon, Lydia Lim
Modern Day Examples
The core periphery model depicts the way the economy functions. Those at the core rely on those in the periphery to provide raw materials and resources, and those resources are then used to supply the masses, which are necessary to the core's power. This system is abusive to those in the periphery as they seldom benefit, and the masses are oblivious.
The Core Periphery Model
The global north and south is a theory that those at the north are comparatively richer than the south, and typically exploit those in the south. In other words, those at the core are typically in the northern half of the world.
Global North and South
"Since 1945, mass production of goods, improvements in transport, and the global flow of capital for investment has meant that the world, rather than a single nation, is the arena of decision making for modern transnational corporations" (King et al, 2006).
Pax Americana translates to "American Peace" from Latin. This is an allusion to the Pax Romana.
Pax Romana refers to a method of control used in the Roman Empire, a time in which citizens of Rome experienced lives of great luxury and splendor. The same could not be said of those outside Rome. Pax Romana is a method of control by which the Roman rulers kept the citizens inside Rome (from whom they derived their power) loyal by providing them with lives of luxury. These luxuries were made possible by the labor of those outside of Rome (but still in the Roman Empire). In other words, the suffering of those outside of Rome was necessary to keep the Romans loyal to the rulers, which was necessary to the rulers in charge. Sound familiar? (hint: core and periphery!)
Pax Romana, in certain contexts, is simply used to mean luxury and splendor, but actually represents a cruel system of manipulation and exploitation. So why didn't those outside of Rome object? They couldn't -- the power of the Roman Empire was too much for them to overcome. So they toiled endlessly and suffered with no way out.
Pax Americana is the same system, except with America in control. Americans live a life of luxury that is achieved through the cruel manipulation of those outside of America. But what about America being "the land of the free" and democracy and rights?
So how does this relate to Pax Americana?
That's all a cover. Those are terms used to keep Americans loyal to the system and to justify exploitation for financial gain. Seems incredulous but it all makes sense.
So why is this relevant to neoliberalism?
Neoliberalism is used to justify the exploitation of those in the periphery.
Those at the core are typically hardcore neolib proponents. They accept neoliberalism enthusiastically and wholeheartedly; not just as true, but as the only truth.
How does that "justify" abuse?
Those at the core accept neoliberalism fanatics. Those in the periphery are not. The masses swallow what the core tells them to. The core uses the periphery as a means of financial gain. But rather than terming it manipulation or exploitation, its termed globalization.
Globalization is the process of spreading an ideology globally. Global Neoliberalism is spreading neoliberalism across the globe.
What is Globalization?
"In this complex exchange system, capital, technology, and ideology flow south, while profits and migrants flow north" (Nef and Roncallo, 2010).
Remember global north and south? This means globalization is led by those at the core. Why? Neoliberalism is spread to other countries to create opportunities for financial gain. Remember the periphery is crucial to the core. By globalizing neoliberalism, the core can access the raw materials and resources necessary to its existence. In other words, neoliberalism is used as a means of acquiring resources. In order to understand this, there are a few more terms to know.
The core-periphery model depicts a self perpetuating cycle. Hopefully this will be easier to understand after seeing the next few slides. This cycle runs on consumption- the masses swallow the luxuries that are acquired from the periphery and don't question why.
Resource Rich El Dorado is a phrase coined by Jorge Nef that alludes to the El Dorado of Spanish conquistadoras.
Resource Rich El Dorado
El Dorado is the "City of Gold" that Hernando Cortes searched for during the Spanish conquests of South America. His lust for gold justified the absurd massacre of thousands of natives.
How does this relate to neolib?
So we already established the globalization is intended to bring financial gain to the core. El Dorado describes globalization's intentions: the exploitation of the periphery (South America) is justified by the financial goals (to get gold) of the core (Spain/Europe). The core views the periphery as an El Dorado. But rather than terming it that way, they call it neoliberal globalization.
Manifest Destiny refers to the westward expansion that occurred in America, motivated by the idea of resources such as land and raw materials. Globalization is a similar process.
Okay so we've established what neoliberalism's true intentions are. Now the facade..
Neoliberalism hides its true intentions behind a facade. This facade actually makes globalization seem beneficial to the victim population. Anyone that doesn't accept neoliberalism is considered to be "uncivilized" and globalization claims to "civilize" them.
Neoliberalism claims to civilize.
This is best illustrated by the Scramble for Africa
The Scramble for Africa was when European countries colonized Africa. Europe viewed Africa as nothing more than resource rich land, and cared little for the people there. However, when they colonized Africa they claimed to be helping the Africans by bringing their European ideologies there- the Africans were considered "uncivilized" because were different from the Europeans. The Europeans brought the Africans their way of life, while stripping them of their resources, culture, and dignity. In reality, the Europeans couldn't care less about benefiting the Africans-- all they cared about was the financial opportunities they presented.
Neoliberalism is similar in that when the core expands their ideology globally, they claim to be helping the countries invaded by bringing them Western ideals, when in reality all they care about is the money.
So now that we've established how neoliberalism works... why does any of this matter?
"The abysmal gap between the rich and poor within all of the countries in the Americas continues to expand" (Nef and Roncallo, 2010)
Because neoliberalism opens new economic opportunities, the rich (at the core) get richer, while the poor stay where they are, and sometimes get poorer.
Rich Poor Gap
This occurs both within and between countries-- meaning rich countries get richer than poor countries, and the rich people of a country get richer than the poor of that country.
As the gap widens, it becomes harder to overcome. This deteriorates the value to life of the poor.
"For contemporary US elites, what lies south of the Rio Grande continues to be simultaneously perceived as a resource-rich El Dorado and as a cultural and political threat."
This is how Nef and Roncallo describe America's relationship with Latin America. This idea of a cultural and political threat exists because their lack of neoliberalism instantly makes them an enemy-- we associate with them only for their resources, while simultaneously framing them as threats to our way of life, and bashing on their way of life. In the context of Latin America: "The South is constructed as a source of evil in the form of narcotics, illegal aliens, and undesirable values" (Nef and Roncallo, 2010). They are framed this way to provide a reason for globalization.
"As the entire region becomes more closely integrated, a potentially dysfunctional system of mutual vulnerability is taking shape. Its impact on the life of millions throughout the Americas could be catastrophic" (Nef and Roncallo, 10).
Structural Violence and Instability
Hopefully you have picked up on something thus far-- everything neoliberalism claims to solve for is actually caused by the mindset neoliberalism assumes and the discourses it promotes. Without neoliberalism there would be no weak economy to solve for, no social instability, no security threats.
Endless Feedback Loop
"The Root Cause"
The Middle East is a prime example for neoliberal colonialism. The worldwide economic powers, such as us Americans, invade these areas claiming to rid the land of human injustice and violence. This mode of propaganda has, in fact, fueled multiple invasions.
Rather than the gold of "El Dorado", oil now serves as a drive for globalization. Wealthy countries have most recently chosen oil as their newest justification to "spread democracy and freedom" to eastern lands.
The human rights violations and atrocities are supposedly caused by the Assad regime, the Taliban, Islam, oppression, terrorism-- terms impossible to avoid with today's obnoxious media. This is a form of propaganda to frame the Middle East as a threat, to justify the need to "civilize" them. They are only considered threats because of our neoliberal discourse.
Cultural and Political Threat
The Vietnam and Korean Wars were fought because of America’s imperialist arrogance against communism. In reality, these wars were actually all fought primarily to allow the economic superpowers the ability to globalize their ideologies and benefit themselves financially, regardless of the damage done.
Neoliberalism justifies modern day colonialism
Brave New World
and Neoliberalism are terrifyingly similar.
Brave New World
"The persistence of neoliberal economic dogmatism and the rebirth of national security doctrines designed to fight elusive and perpetual global enemies. That narrowly defined concept of military security as practiced in the Americas is, in fact, a major cause of insecurity. This link underpins the insurmountable contradiction between globalization and militarization" (Nef and Roncallo, 2010).
"The net result is a significant deterioration of the security of most people " (Nef and Roncallo, 10)
Because neoliberalism identifies everything except neoliberalism itself as a threat, this creates limitless enemies, which is ironic, because the facade claims to solve these threats, when it reality it creates the very threats it tries to solve.
"In fact, anything that threatens the investment climate, or the core elites' interests, qualifies as a threat to national security and as a candidate for enemy status" (Nef and Roncallo, 2010).
"The linkages of mutual vulnerability between North and South and their multiple accelerators, including the contingent mode of labor relations, create a spiraling lose-lose situation: a negatives core game" (Nef and Roncallo, 10).
Neoliberalism creates a very frail economic structure with too many moving parts-- think about the fragility of the core-periphery model. This is ironic, because neoliberalism is supposed to be an economic philosophy that helps the economy.
"During the first decade of neoliberal economic restructuring (the 1980s), the number of people living in poverty increased from 120 million in 1980 to 196 million in 1990, a 42 percent increase...instead of wealth trickling down to the poor as promised by the advocates of neoliberalism and so-called globalization, millions of people have trickled down from the middle and working classes into the impoverished masses. Moreover, the "global competitiveness" of the economies of most of the Latin American and Caribbean countries has not improved as they have been further "integrated" into the global economy" (Nef and Roncallo 10).
"In Latin America today there are 70 million more hungry, 30 million more illiterate, 10 million more families without homes and 40 million more unemployed persons than there were 20 years ago .... There are 240 million human beings who lack the necessities of life and this when the region is richer and more stable than ever, according to the way the world sees it. (Press 1993, E20) In addition to causing human suffering and losses, these neoliberal economic measures have also jeopardized the advances toward political democracy and political democratization underway throughout the continent...Latin American economies are increasingly being integrated into the U.S. -dominated hemispheric trading sphere and global capitalist economy" (Nef and Harris 8).
"If the neoliberal economic policies continue to fail to produce a better standard of living for the alienated majorities (as is currently the case throughout the Americas), and should the structural crisis deepen, these civilian regimes will likely be replaced once again by repressive civil-military regimes in the name of national security" (Nef 8).
Neoliberalism actually creates the need for repressive regimes, when often times regimes are part of the facade for globalization, as the coming examples will explain.
"The supposition that there is an unlimited supply of natural resources has resulted in a continuing, and in some cases increasingly deep, process of environmental deterioration. The high natural fertility of certain regions has hidden this deterioration process until recent times. The pattern of resource extraction that has been established in the region involves the unrestrained pillage of one area after another without any regard for resource renewal and conservation...The dominant style of development is characterized by what Galafassi describes as a unimodal approach in agriculture and resource extraction that assumes all regional ecosystems have the same stability and resistance. This assumption has led to the depletion of biodiversity and the destruction of the most fragile ecosystems. Contemporary productive practices have acquired a pattern of uniformity and homogeneity that has given rise not only to the depletion of biodiversity but also to the destruction of the cultural variability of the indigenous and peasant communities affected by these patterns of production" (Nef and Harris 8)."
Because everything is in the name of financial gain, environmental degradation is justified, even glorified. The lust for money allows us to excuse and ignore our impact on the environment. This is also a result of the consumption that neoliberalism teeters on.
"Regional security cannot be equated with short-term business confidence, the magic of the marketplace, or a messianic vision of a hemispheric "Manifest Destiny," or "wars" on terrorism, or fending off the "Hispanic threat" (Huntington 2004). On the other hand, a breakdown of democratic development, prosperity, and equity, together with the increase of tensions in the more volatile regions of the hemisphere, would have a direct and most deleterious effect upon the well-being and security of the people all over the Americas.... The "safe," "limited," "low-intensity," and substantially meaningless democracy brokered and supported by Washington and encapsulated in the famous, unilateral "Washington Consensus" is fundamentally flawed" (Nef 8).
Neoliberalism rarely succeeds in spreading Western ideals, as that is just a cover. Rather than spreading democracy (which is also a staple facade), globalization actually creates a fragile, corrupt democracy, often worse for the people than the original form of government.
Every war fought with the Middle East was to acquire oil; rather than saying that directly though, politicians say they're fighting the regime and the human rights violations occurring. This very closely parallels Hernando Cortesand his use of Christianity as an excuse to acquire gold, all while massacring millions of natives in the process.
It is often said that neoliberalism is the root cause of all evil- without the neoliberal mindset, none of these problems would even exist, let alone need to be solved for.
Reliance on consumerism --> ex: "The more stitches, the less riches." (Huxley 121)
Allows 'stability' in society --> ex: Neoliberal elites (ex:Roman rulers) rely on consumption for "peace", creating loyalty and power
People swayed by luxury
~Brave New World: Fanny's fascination with Lenina’s “Malthusian belt” (Huxley 51).
~Citizens are “compelled to consume so much a year…in the interests of industry” (Huxley 54)
Ability to think for themselves or to rebel is out the window; they lack the ability.
~Brave New World: Panicking and soma when something is different; sent to a different island
~Real World: Seen as the enemy if there is disagreement
Neoliberalism= The only way
Other ideologies are never acknowledged- in Brave New World citizens are scarred by their "therapy" during the time they were infants
The Absolute Imperialist.
Brave New World: Complete dominance of Mustapha Mond
~Represents an all-encompassing, hegemonic countries that exercise control over other, weaker countries
People have the need to victimize others to feel dominant and in power
~Ex: Lenina’s “hate [for the] epsilons” (Huxley 67)
Neoliberalism: allows the authority to victimize other countries
The Framing of Differing Ideologies
Imperialists react to ideas that are different from neoliberalism with a critical narrow-mindedness.
~Ex: Lenina “started crying louder than ever” (126) at the sight of the ‘savages’
~Causes a anxious need to rid of them and abolish them (wanting them to conform)
Non-Westernized countries = ‘uncivilized’, for they are different
Is America lost in an “orgy-porgy” (Huxley 84) state of mind, hectically overwhelmed by these ideals, far beyond the point of rationality?
Quickly accelerating towards the dystopia?
THE FACADE~ neoliberalism claims to solve for societal issues such as communism, corruption, tyranny, and human rights abuses, when in reality not it exists only to create new investment opportunities for the elitists, hiding behind the “false realism, ceaselessly promoted by neo-liberal think-tanks throughout the world” (Boron). The stark differences between the two are ironically opposites.
ROOT CAUSE OF INSTABILITY~ Although blindly worshipped as the only truth, it is astonishingly destructive. Neoliberalism “impedes rather than facilitates the materialization of a sustainable security community and real democracy” (Nef). Latin America particularly demonstrates this, as after US economic expansion occurred, millions “lack the necessities of life and this when the region is richer and more stable than ever, according to the way the world sees it” (Nef and Harris). This creates many of the impacts it claims to solve for.
ENDLESS FEEDBACK LOOP~ If neoliberal discourse was not so deeply engrained, etched into the minds of economic elites, many of the issues that it aims to solve would not even exist. Human rights violations, social inequality, economic collapse are all issues that exist because of the precarious system of interdependence that global neoliberal economics establishes. Neoliberalism doesn’t solve for anything—it spawns a disgusting world consisting of evil and little else, and simply covers it up with pretty words like democracy and freedom and human rights. This endless feedback loop is impossible to eliminate without stepping back and acknowledging its existence, which at this point would be a huge leap for mankind. The more we try to "solve" for issues like communism, the more we globalize neoliberalism, and the more impacts there are to solve for.
VALUE TO LIFE~ one way in which neoliberalism dehumanizes those victimized is that it deteriorates their value to life. Consider the "Impacts" slide- neoliberalism leads to economic destruction, environmental degradation, social instablity, etc. These all decimate the value to life of those impacted by neoliberalism and are enough to dehumanize alone, as those affected have no say in this.
SILENCING THOSE AT THE BOTTOM~ Neoliberalism also mutes those at the bottom of the class chain, ensuring that they have no say of what goes on in the capital society of today. They are forced to take part in the things that higher class groups choose, unable to voice their own opinion. This causes those at the bottom of this social structure to be held at the bottom, captive, having no chance of changing their lifestyles.
CONDEMNS THOSE AT THE BOTTOM~ When silenced nobody can hear their pleads of the victims that were condemned at the bottom. Once there the people at the bottom are not acknowledged at all, to a point where it is as if they are non-existent to the society. This is primarily where the line is drawn from the wealthy to the poor, where the wealthy citizens are lavished with luxuries and deemed more important to society compared to how the poor are viewed-- invisible.