Socio Economic Inequality And Neoliberalism Notes
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Inequalities and Neoliberalism Past Questions
1. To what extent does income inequality affect well-being and why? (Specimen)
2. Discuss the claim that neoliberalism is a global project that has now largely succeeded (2014)
3. The general character of the state in the era of neoliberalisation has varied greatly from place to place as well as over time. Discuss (2013a+b)
4. The central issue of globalisation is inequality: between as well as within nations. Discuss (2013a)
5. Explore the claim that neoliberalism is best understood as a set of techniques for governing subjects. (2013a)
6. To what extent does neoliberalism take country specific forms?
7. Does the work of Marx of the work of Foucault provide a better analytical vocabulary for understanding the geography of neoliberalism? (2012)
8. Conditionality for development aid is a form of neoliberalism. Discuss (2012) Emergence of Neoliberalism Neoliberalism has a clear intellectual genesis with European liberal scholars in the 1930s, and through proponents in the USA such as Friedman, Harberger and Hayek, became widespread and accepted towards the end of the 50s. Liberalism of the late 19th C saw a move towards freer trade. Not all ideas were new but different in there dominance and politics
Having studied under the tutelage of Friedman and Harberger in the USA in the 50s, under the military dictatorship headed by Pinochet and severe social repression, the Chicago boys implemented economic reform in Chile, which really took effect in the beginning of the 1970s.
Paradox of N is that it is a rolling back of the state, but takes a v. strong state to pull it off, eg. Totalitarians in S. America and Thatcher Gov. Need a strong state to put framework in place.
Bretton-Woods agreement (established at the end of WW2), which tied exchange rates together (USD tied to gold), collapses. US withdrew in 71, collapses in 73. Restraints removed, currencies now floating, multinational companies arise, which sets the base for neoliberalism
Age of discontent in the late 70s, oil crisis, power cuts etc. provided opportunity for neoliberalism to take effect in the UK
Conservatives Regan (80) and Thatcher (79) elected almost simultaneously, and under recommendation from Hayek in the
US, started to implement economic and social reform in the early 80s. o Thatcher for example privatized industries such as British Telecom, British Gas, British Airways, and national electricity companies Spread, Consequences and Variety of Neoliberalism Neoliberalism arrives in different places in different ways, articulates with other political projects, takes multiple forms and can give rise to unexpected outcomes. In many areas of the Global South including Africa, Asia and Latin America, the spread of neoliberalism came in the form of the SAPs of the IMF and World Bank. In the 80s and 90s, over 80 states in the Global South implemented SAPs to some degree. These were debt right-offs and loans given to developing nations that were tied to economic and social policy prescriptions. Williamson (1989) coined the term Washington Consensus to describe the 10 policy prescriptions that constituted the standard reform package
These included policies regarding economic opening with respect to trade and investment, privatization of national industries, and macroeconomic stabilization.
One of the first nations to receive loans tied to SAPs was Mexico, whose foreign debt had increased from $3bil in 1970 to over $100bil in the early 80s. The conditions attached to their loans, including measures to open the economy to foreign corporations, eliminate trade barriers, restrict access to credit, and cut social spending, resulted in real wages decreasing by 80% between 1982-96 (Torres, 2010) The global resistance to the pauperisation of the African populace stemming from neo-liberal policies led to the 'demise' of Structural Adjustment Programmes and the emergence of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) in an attempt to help developing nations achieve the MDGs.
However, loans continue to be attached to onerous conditions. For example, in June 2005 when Finance Ministers of the G8 nations announced the cancellation of the debts of the poorest nations owed to the IFIs, Sierra Leone, the poorest nation according to the UN Human Development Index was not qualified for debt relief due to failure to comply with conditionality of the country's PRSP (Zack-Williams, 2005). Neo-liberalism is not a trajectory to an end point, but instead a process that takes different forms and leads to different outcomes across space and time. An example can be seen in research by Larner (2000), which shows in New Zealand the neoliberal project has been though three distinct 'phases'.
The 1980s saw large-scale privatization, but an extension of welfare and social justice. Early 1990s saw the introduction of neoconservative social policy and an extension of marketization program, whilst by the end of the decade, policy reflected a partnering ethos between economic and social policy. In West Germany in the 80s, neoliberalism articulated in an interesting way. There was a gradual reduction in trade barriers leading up to Maastricht (1991) under pressure from neoliberalised UK. However, central bank still followed a monetarist line, the trade unions remained strong, social protections were kept in place and wages remained relatively high. o This stimulated technological development that kept West Germany ahead of the field in international competition in the 1980s, as export-led growth powered the country forward as a global leader.
Regarding the Asian Tigers, a World Bank report (1999) credited neoliberal policies including maintenance of export-led regimes, low taxes, and minimal welfare states, for the growth these four economies experienced in the later 20C. However, others note this not to be the case, and the Tigers' focus on education was particularly crucial (Page, 1994).
By 1965, all four nations had achieved universal primary education. South Korea in particular had achieved a secondary education enrollment rate of 88% by 1987
Additionally, the WB (1999) acknowledged benefits from policies of the repression of the financial sector, such as stateimposed below-market interest rates for loans to specific exporting industries.
Approach is even different among the four. While HK and Singapore encouraged free trade, SK and Taiwan adopted mixed regimes that accommodated their own export industries. In HK and Singapore, due to small domestic markets, domestic prices were linked to international prices. SK and Taiwan introduced export incentives for the tradedgoods sector.
Asian Tigers and Japan started their accelerated growth before the rise of NL - adopted some NL policies in 70s, 80s and 90s, especially the liberalizing of trade.
Response to 1997 crisis was a move away from neoliberalism for some - in Singapore, a main response was to bring forward planned government construction projects, while in HK, the government went about buying approximately HK$120 billion (US$15 billion) worth of shares in various companies, becoming the largest shareholder of some (e.g. HSBC which it owned 10% of by August 97)
o However, for those economies most gravely hit, including Thailand Indonesia and SK, they had no choice than to accept IMF loans and the SAPs that came attached, which called on these nations to reduce government spending and deficits, allow insolvent banks and financial institutions to fail, and aggressively raise interest rates o Resulted ion much anti-Western and anti-IMF sentiment. As a result, major rounds of world trade talks since the crisis, in Seattle, Doha, Cancún, and Hong Kong, have failed to produce a significant agreement as developing countries have become more assertive, and nations are increasingly turning toward regional or bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) as an alternative to global institutions The Japanese post WWII 'economic miracle' was chiefly due to the economic interventionism of the Japanese government. Along with push to industrialize came the fostering of large and powerful trade unions, especially in industry and life-time employment guarantees in big corporations, and heavy government investment in infrastructure to facilitate export-led growth. However, growth was export led and Japan did well being a part of global liberal capitalism China has a socialist market economy with some neoliberal characteristics, but many socialist. Growth has been trade led, and it is now the largest trading nation in the world. Efforts to liberalize trade starting in the latter 70s were key to this.
However, public sector still accounts for more share in national economy than the burgeoning private sector. They have a widespread and comprehensive welfare system, along with policies of domestic protectionism and accusations of artificial currency devaluation. Iraq and Afghanistan In recent times, especially in the last 10-15 years and with Americas 'war on terror', we have seen the spread of neoliberal ideas being tied to American and European military endeavors (Harvey, 2003). In Iraq the defense of national interest took an economic framing as the US state became the means to forward capitalist growth through the spreading of their neoliberal ideology to the region and the securing of Iraqi resources.
Security aims dismissed by fact that the weapons of mass destruction (the primary reason given for a pre-emptive strike) were no threat and the supposed connection of Saddam to al Qaeda and 9/11 did not exist
Normative aims of overwhelming concern for human rights are contradicted by continuing US support for violently oppressive
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