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View Diary: What is Neoliberalism? (158 comments)

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  •  Obamacare was neoliberal to a T (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, slatsg, JosephK74

    It came from the heritage foundation.

    Other than that the admin has been less neoliberal domestically, but very neoliberal internationally in regards to trade. This is why his about face on NAFTA felt like such a stab in the back to so many people.

    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

    by AoT on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:25:03 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  That doesn't make sense, regardless of the origin (0+ / 0-)

      of some of the ideas in the ACA.  The ACA, while not single payer, does represent a major increase in governmental involvement in the private health sector.  That can't be denied.

      Just look at the specifics of what it does:
      http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/...

      Just because you may think it does not go far enough does not make it neo-lib.

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 12:36:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It provides great economic benefit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JosephK74

        to the corporate interests of the insurance companies. That is neoliberal by purpose and by design.

        •  No, neo-lib is about the free market uber alles (0+ / 0-)

          From a theoretical standpoint, the ACA is a neo-lib bad dream--expansion of government into the health insurance market, expansion of Medicaid, the govt telling insurers what percent of earning they have to invest, etc.  Maybe not a neo-lib nightmare, but a bad dream, nonetheless.  

          If you want a neo-lib wet dream, see this:
          http://store.cato.org/...

          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

          by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:05:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Neoliberalism = corporateism (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JosephK74

            Since you are determined to hold onto your political illusions you'll define anything to suit your purposes.

            •  Richard, I'm working with a definition (0+ / 0-)

              accepted by the vast majority of academics and put forward by the diarist.  You seem to be working from a set belief.  If you don't accept the definition, fine.  But show me something that supports what you say.   Otherwise, you're just using the term loosely to make a non-academic political point.  How is that any different from Jonah Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism"?

              To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

              by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:18:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Definitions (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, JosephK74

                Definition of 'Neoliberalism'

                An approach to economics and social studies in which control of economic factors is shifted from the public sector to the private sector. Drawing upon principles of neoclassical economics, neoliberalism suggests that governments reduce deficit spending, limit subsidies, reform tax law to broaden the tax base, remove fixed exchange rates, open up markets to trade by limiting protectionism, privatize state-run businesses, allow private property and back deregulation.
                It is a third way between democratic socialism and and rigid traditional conservatism. The practical implementations of it have involved the mixing of tactics with the underlying goal of opening markets on an international scale and using private corporations to provide public services where ever possible. The ACA is a very valid example of this type of mixed approach.

                The standard of evaluation that you are trying to apply is something that would only match the Ayn Rand libertarianism of the Tea Party.  

                While I think that this is generally a good diary, I disagree with the diarist with the narrowness of his definition and posted that early on.

              •  Neoliberalism is both a political and an economic (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Richard Lyon

                tendency. In regards to economics it's pretty much the same as libertarians in the US. In politics it's what Richard is talking about.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:51:21 PM PDT

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                •  That would depend on which brand (0+ / 0-)

                  of libertarianism you are talking about. I doubt that most neoliberals would want anything to do with the hard right Ayn Rand version, but there are other forms of it that would fit right in.

                  •  Economic neoliberalism is what I meant (0+ / 0-)

                    Not political. Economic neoliberalism came out of a conference that included Hayek and von Mises in the 30s.(I think the 30s) That's where the Chicago school version of economics came from as well. And where most libertarians, in the US sense of libertarian, get their economics from in my experience.

                    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                    by AoT on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:15:21 PM PDT

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                    •  I think that people like Clinton, Blair (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AoT, JosephK74

                      and Obama haven't been economic purists in that regard.

                      I've always thought of the Washington Consensus as a touchstone of neoliberalism. I guess that's a mixture of politics and economics. That is the point at which I got interested in the issue. I would consider Paul Krugman to be a neoliberal and he is most definitely not Chicago/fresh water school.

              •  No, Richard is right. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Richard Lyon, Claudius Bombarnac

                Having insurance companies preside over healthcare is neoliberal.  To be sure, Obama introduced more regulation, but the core principle is still neoliberal (and there's never been pure neoliberalism anyway).  Obama's positions on education are also neoliberal, as are his policies towards Wall Street.  Please don't evoke me in defense of your misleading remarks.  Third Way dems have not been friends of the left since Clinton and are only slightly more preferable than republicans.  Indeed, Clinton privatized and deregulated in ways that Reagan could have only dreamed of.  Obama has very much continued this tendency.  Neoliberalism doesn't neatly map on to the parties.

                •  I like the diary, but this (0+ / 0-)
                  Having insurance companies preside over healthcare is neoliberal.
                  ain't true.  

                  Sorry, but our healthcare system is much more complex than that, and the ACA is much more complex than simply another "market based solution".  We have a form of single payer (Medicare/Medicaid) we have direct government run health care (military and VA) and we have private insurance.  

                  The ACA may have some neo-lib elements, as Richard and I discussed below, but it is heavily regulated, has governmental influence in the form of subsidies and taxes, and expands governmental presence in a way unseen in the health care arena in decades.  Hardly neo-lib.  

                  You can argue that the government run health exchanges are the creation of a new market, hence neo-lib, but the fact that they are govt run and not private sector only says much, no?  

                  No doubt the 3rd way Dems followed a neo-lib path.  As for Obama, I hold to the position that his presidency, all told has not gone the same way (see the first comment I made in this thread.  

                  But, what I have said was hardly misleading.  What I had hoped was that this diary would be  step towards putting a leash on the pejorative use of "neoliberal" as it has been used at DK, where it often gets thrown around indiscriminately without its true context, like fascism, feudalism and the versions with "neo" labels applied.  

                  To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                  by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:21:25 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Obama's presidency (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AoT

                    has overwhelmingly been third way.  This is what the criticisms of him here have been all about.  There are all sorts of degrees where neoliberalism is concerned, but going with insurance companies is nonetheless a market based solution and therefore neoliberal.  The regulations that Obama instituted over insurance companies are welcome, but there are nonetheless structural features of market based solutions that generate all sorts of problems.  I actually wrote the diary not to lend support to Obama, but to give the Obama apologists a bit of context so they might understand the entirely justified criticisms of Obama coming from the left.

                    •  It is also impossible to make a general (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JosephK74

                      characterization of the policy of his administration without looking at both international and domestic policy. The trade treaties are explicitly anti-regulation and very supportive of turning the MNCs loose to roam the world.

          •  And ACA forces more people into the market (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Richard Lyon

            Which makes it "more free" in the eyes of neoliberals. The problem is that they aren't really consistent.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:21:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But it is taking people who have NO health care (0+ / 0-)

              and putting them into a situation where they can afford insurance--that's a huge difference from say, turning pensions into 401ks, no?  

              To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

              by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:29:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If it was just doing that (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Richard Lyon

                then I wouldn't be calling it neoliberal. If it was just about subsidizing those who need help then it would be a different issue. It does other things, but all those things are premised on an increased market size. It's another "market based solution".

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:34:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  It doesn't mean that it doesn't accomplish (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT, JosephK74

                something that is beneficial to some people. It is not a Tea Party starve to poor approach. The issue is the approach taken in achieving that and the resources that are diverted to the benefit of private corporations in the process.  

      •  What is mostly denied by neoliberals when (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon, JosephK74

        inconvenient but is actually true is that markets are created by the government and expanded by the government. The neoliberal project, as broadly defined, attempts to expand participation in markets as much as possible, through government coercion if necessary, as in the case of the ACA with the mandate. "To a T" was incorrect though. The ban on denying people due to existing conditions is definitely not. The underlying law is definitely neoliberal though.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:06:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again, I disagree with this (0+ / 0-)

          The health care exchanges are heavily regulated and make up only a part of the overall act.  Not to mention the govt subsidies going to individuals to purchase insurance.   Is there a market component?  Yes.  Is it free market?  No.  It's as neo-lib as the GI Bill,..    

          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

          by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:15:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You continue to try to equate (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, JosephK74

            neoliberalism entirely with the Chicago school of economic thought. That is a serious inaccuracy.

            •  See the diary's definition (0+ / 0-)
              Neoliberalism is a label for economic liberalism, advocates of which support economic liberalization, free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation, and decreasing the size of the public sector while increasing the role of the private sector in modern society.
              If you disagree, provide some context please.  Links, alternative definitions something.  Otherwise, we're just talking in circles.

              To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

              by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:22:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

                •  I do see above, and other than your statement (0+ / 0-)

                  that it "creates a market"--which, again, is not the whole of the act nor are the exchanges wholly free--nothing fits the definition you give.  The ACA has more subsidies, expands Medicaid, has many more regs on insurance cos and health care providers.  

                  Just because something has a market component does not make it neo-lib.  

                  In looking at what you and AoT have written, I feel as if you have decided that the ACA was neo-lib already and try to make it fit your pre-existing positions on it.

                  No, it's not as good as single payer.  Single payer would be great.  But, it has much to be aid for it.

                  I also think that there are quite a few here (not you necessarily) who are invested in the idea that "Obama is neo-lib", regardless of the facts.  It's a label, it has some "word-magic", it fits with a narrative.  

                  To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                  by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:50:31 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It is not a black and white binary matter. (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    dizzydean, AoT, JosephK74

                    I'm not one of the people trying to condemn Obamacare as a creation of the devil. I don't think that there is anything in the way of law or policy that could be called 100% neoliberal. The ACA has clear neoliberal elements in it. That makes it attractive to some people. Given that my economic and political views are well to the left of that it makes it less attractive to me.

                    I think that the ACA is better than doing nothing about health care.  

                    •  Good. That's the sort of nuance needed for a (0+ / 0-)

                      discussion on this or any other policy.  

                      One of the problems I see at DK right now is that too many want to buy into an all-or-nothing approach with regards to practically every issue--maybe that's a dynamic of short view politics/concerns.  I dunno.  But, what I do know is that we've seen all sorts of labels get thrown around without any real context--neo-liberal being one of those--as a pejorative.  

                      You are right, there may be some neo-lib parts to the ACA, but these seem to be mostly shrouded in definitively non-neo-lib regulations or programs.  To label the whole act as neo-lib seems hyperbole designed to express unhappiness with the end result rather than actuality.

                      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                      by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:05:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Daily Kos just echos the US media political (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        dizzydean

                        narrative. It is a sporting event with two teams pushing and shoving each other. That leaves no room for people who want to talk about complex policies.

                        I find that the best way to get a handle on any political or economic movement is to tune out the rhetoric and look at what the proponents actually do when it is time to take specific action.

                        •  Yeah, though wouldnt it be nice if we just had (0+ / 0-)

                          one team at DK?  I feel as if it's gotten to the point that we have two sides who won't talk to each other.  And that's sad, because this place has such potential to mobilize activists to do some good stuff.

                          To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

                          by dizzydean on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 02:23:14 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  There are still people on both "sides" (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Richard Lyon, dizzydean

                            that talk to each other, at least some times.

                            It seems to go back and forth here. And I claim nothing like innocence in all of it, but I do try. Though I don't succeed nearly as much as I would like.

                            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                            by AoT on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 03:29:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

        •  Agree (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlueDragon, Richard Lyon, AoT, JosephK74

          and corporations may talk a good game about free markets, but they're the first ones to stifle those markets through consolidation, collusion, monopolies, price-fixing, etc.  They always want the game rigged in their favor -  and that's not free market.

          "The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul." Helen Thomas

          by Betty Pinson on Fri Aug 02, 2013 at 01:20:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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