Tag Archives: neoliberal

A tale of two crises?

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In 2007/8 we suffered the financial crisis with the consequent bail outs for the finance industry and restriction/depression for the majority.

In 2020 we suffer the Covid-19 plague.

The response to the first involved the rescue of the finance industry from public funds and the removal of wealth from much of the rest of society. Those responsible suffered no physical or financial hardship as a consequence.

The response to the second has resulted in the deaths among those who are working to protect, care for and support us in the midst of this plague.

The pay or monetary value of those responsible for the first crisis is still remarkably and inefficiently high.

The pay for nurses, porters etc. and for those who keep our society functioning by driving, delivering and collecting remain remarkably low. (Also here)

The hospital, care and delivery people have had their pay kept low, even to the point of starving nurses needing to use food banks. Their situation results from Neo-Liberal Economics theory being enforced by the government, economic and, possibly social weakness and because they care about their fellow humans. The senior financiers, who were responsible directly and/or indirectly for the first crisis, have their pay kept high because they have power, they are protected by government and so many of us believe in or accept Neo-Liberal Economic theory.

Posted in Op-eds | 20 Comments

Liberals and Neo-Liberals

Professor David Howarth, formerly LibDem MP for Cambridge, contributes to the new Social Liberal Forum book with a powerful, closely argued essay on Liberal economics. This an extract:

Here is a puzzle: if JS Mill, JM Keynes and James Meade were all Liberals and economists, what is a ‘neo-liberal’ economist? One might have thought that it would be someone who updated their thought to consider new facts and new problems.

In a highly successful example of propaganda and disinformation, ‘neoliberal’ has come to mean the doctrines of Friedrich Hayek or Milton Friedman. But those doctrines are anything but ‘neo’. They hark back to the era before Mill. We need to rectify names. Instead of ‘neo-liberals’ the followers of Hayek and Friedman might be called ‘paleo-partial liberals’.

The next step is to reclaim the Liberal tradition. That was the avowed aim of the editors of the Orange Book, but what some of them seemed to mean was not updating Mill, Keynes and Meade but abandoning them in favour of paleo-partial liberalism. Admittedly the diagnosis was not entirely wrong. The Liberal Democrats, as a political party, had wandered a long way from the Liberal tradition and had succumbed to various forms of conventional wisdom.

But the most distinctive feature of Liberal policy was its stance on corporate governance. From Mill onwards, through the Yellow Book to support for codetermination, Liberals argued for a different way of organising firms, not as hierarchical structures dominated by the owners of capital but as partnerships between labour and capital, incorporating democratic representation. James Meade provided a continuation and deepening of this tradition that should have formed the basis of the merged party’s position.

Posted in Books | Also tagged and | 48 Comments
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