A short story of neo-liberalism: twenty years of elite economics and emerging opportunities for structural change

A short and critical story of liberalism; reflection to find new alternatives.

Susan George, February 2001

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Summary :

After the second World War, neo-liberalism emerged from its small, unpopular ghetto to become the dominant doctrine in the world today. It is really in the 1980s and 90s that neo-liberalism emerged, with its central notions of competition and privatisation, launched by people such as M. Thatcher and R. Reagan. As a consequence of its social Darwinism, for 20 years inequalities have increased, the Welfare State is under threat and environment is on the edge of the collapse, whereas only a tiny proportion of all the money sloshing around would be enough to close the North-South gap, and to provide every human being with a decent life and a clean environment.

Neo-Liberalism is not the natural human condition and it is not invulnerable. Therefore, through efficient organisation and unity, further transnational action must be undertaken to reduce inequalities, including redistribution of wealth and ideological offensive, and designing workable and equitable international taxation systems.