Talk:Neoliberalism

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This Article Reads Like It Was Written on Mises.org[edit]

This article consistently and incessantly refers to the Austrian School, Anarcho-capitalism, and all other manner of pet Mises.org issues. Hayek is of relevance if too often brought up. The rest of the mises idols are not of relevance at all and should not be peppered throughout the article. A brief mention is sufficient for those who had so little to do with the movement.

It doesn't mention the American School of Economics that was dominant prior, or the evolution of the American School to neoclassical synthesis and the resultant neoliberal consensus (Washington Consensus).

Moreover, it doesn't talk at all about how elements of neoliberal thought evolved from social liberalism. In fact, it's in the conservative portal and is portrayed as a conservative philosophy. Many traditionalist conservatives would not agree.

Put simply, this article was written 100% from a libertarian perspective, and is completely inaccurate.

Moreover it is rambling and full of original research and primary sources.

One would get a more useful overview of the topic by going to http://www.thefreedictionary.com/neoliberalism.

Wikipedia should hold itself to a higher standard. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.12.250.236 (talk) 07:56, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Certainly has too much Mises, but I think that is a result of the confusion of the Left-wingers who invented the term "neoliberalism", jumbling together all manner of non-Socialist schools, not the result of some pro-Mises bias. The difficulty we have is that that confusion is in the sources, so it is difficult to disentangle. cwmacdougall 15:19, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Agreed. This reads more like an opinion piece than a wiki entry. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2.124.98.80 (talk) 22:16, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

There are still lots of indications of bias in this piece; I particularly notice a number of statements that make objective truth claims about neoliberal economics that are something less than objective. For example: "Friedman's chief argument about neoliberalism can be described as a consequentialist libertarian one: that the reason for adopting minimal government interference in the economy is for its beneficial consequences, and not any ideological reason. At the heart of economic neoliberalism are various theories that prove the economic neoliberal ideology." Are the beneficial consequences of neoliberal economics actually settled fact without reference to ideology, or is the insistence that it is objectively beneficial an ideological claim? Do the various theories at the heart of neoliberal economics "prove" the economic liberal ideology, or do they merely support it? I am no economist, but I do know something about language and logic, and these kinds of statements seem to be pushing assumptions from a specific point of view. SpankyMac (talk) 13:52, 22 May 2014 (UTC)

I wrote that line and what I was trying to express was the view that one group of neoliberals seemed to view that the beneficial consequences of economics prove the economic liberal ideology. In other words, they had framed the debate from ideological grounds into grounds of fact, so that anyone who disagreed with them was an idiot, not just with a difference of opinion. Of course, that framing is in itself potential evidence of bias, which I tried to point out later in the expanded definition section. So, no, there was no intended bias. Aphenine (talk) 16:28, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

I have reverted the opening paragraphs of this article back to a previous edit in 2012. I have chosen to do so in that the previous definition is not one that was shared with any other sources or dictionaries that I have read, and does not reflect the general application or meaning of the word in a modern context. Similarly "awful" used to mean something that inspired awe or wonder, but now is defined as something that is terrible or unpleasant. Additionally the definition appeared to draw all its support from a single Harvard University Press publication written by Philip Mirowski, whose personal reflections on neoliberalism differ wildly from the majority of other sources that I have encountered.

It also lacked citation, for instance the following: The impetus for this development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early 1930s which conventional wisdom of the time tended to blame on unfettered capitalism, and a simultaneous concern with avoiding the inhumanity of National Socialism. In the decades that followed, neoliberal theory tended to be at variance with the more laissez-faire doctrine of classical liberalism and promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a model which came to be known as the social market economy.

The above appeared to be structured like a personal reflection on the development neoliberalism, none of which was supported by any external sources or reference to any particular individuals; I also struggled to find anything that associated neoliberalism with the social market economy, rather the two are seen as precise opposites in the context of mordern liberalism.

Hayek79 (talk) 13:48, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

I don't necessarily object to the rebalance, but it still isn't quite right. First, the old centrist meaning has been used as recently as 1979 by Foucault, so it's still live. Second, the most common current meaning is not Milton Friedman and the Chicago School, but encompassing views much more interventionist that theirs. It is often used in the UK to refer to Tony Blair's Labour government, under which there was a vast increase in regulation, replacing state ownership with state management through regulation. That would certainly be and was opposed by Classical Liberals. The current meanings are confused and contradictory, in large part because the word is mainly used by critics; this is unusual among political terms, most of which are used with pride by proponents to describe themselves. cwmacdougall 14:33, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Would it be possible for us to draft a definition that would encompass both usages of the term? At present it seems that it is a label that is applied more to liberalised economies than regulated economies; in which case could use by opponents be described as a misuse of the phrase? In my experience neoliberalism was more a conservative reaction to the social-liberalism of Lloyd George that replaced traditional classical liberal thought in the early 20th Century. However I feel it would be more helpful to refer to both the centrist and the free market approach in the definition since the word has come to mean both. Hayek79 (talk) 17:26, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

The meaning of Neoliberalism has changed in time quite a lot. To understand the term one needs to know the development. Alexander Rüstow, Walter Eucken, Wilhelm Röpke et. alt. were proponents of a strong state rejecting laissez-faire as the cause of the Great Depression. They called their theory Neoliberalism (neo=new in the sense of improved liberalism). Nowadays Neoliberalism is associated with Friedman and Hayek which never used the term Neoliberalism to describe there theories. Unfortunately it is that complicated. --Pass3456 (talk) 18:34, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Your edit was helpful, however I have reinserted the following Today the term is mostly used as a general condemnation of economic liberalisation and its advocates, in that it pre-existed my edit this afternoon (GMT) and is consistent with the "expanded definition" in the following sections."Hayek79 (talk) 18:49, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
The definition says that Neoliberalism is a political philosophy. What kind of political philosophy is this that has no political philosophers? There are only third party sources for this supposed ultra free market ideology, i.e. someone that is not Neoliberal himself says that neoliberalism is this, this and that. The only definitions that have ideologues that named their ideology Neoliberalism are that of Rüstow and later that of some Democrats. It should be clear in the wikipedia article that when the term is used for the free market liberalism it is only a label refered like this only by the opponents of liberalism (not in the American sense) and not something that has ideologues that explain what neoliberalism is etc and when we refer to it as a political philosophy it is in the center left of the political spectrum as were those that actually had an ideology called Neoliberalism. Wikipedia should be objective and not reproducing its authors biases. --DagonAmigaOS (talk) 15:22, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
I reverted DagonAmigasOS' edit, which was unreferenced and seemed to suggest that neo-liberalism is a state interventionist ideology. Also, you moved the lead into the past tense for reasons that are unclear. KingHiggins (talk) 18:21, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Well if you have read the Terminology section then you would see that the only political philosophy that called itself neoliberal was a State interventionist with all the references you need. The reason I used past tense is that the neoliberal philosophy is a a thing of the past but I wont stand on that. There are no original sources about this so called extreme market philosophy. What it is in its current usage is a label. People who are not neoliberal themselves call other people neoliberal who don't call themselves that way. This distinction between political philosophy and label is real and it should be made clear instead of being hidden.--DagonAmigaOS (talk) 10:58, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
...as shop owners started to predict the rate of increase in the money supply, rendering the government action useless. Please preent the exact passage and refs you are referring to in order to help me understand your position. KingHiggins (talk) 17:55, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

5.4 Corrupted Neoliberalism[edit]

I feel that this section, with the exception of "5.45 Globalisation", requires citation; otherwise would anyone be offended if I were to revise several of the paragraphs to improve the balance of the article? There are areas of the text, for instance The failure of property rights means that individuals can't protect ownership of their resources and control what happens to them, or prevent others from taking them away. This usually stifles free enterprise and results in preferential treatment for those who can., that could do with rephrasing to make them less partisan. I believe this falls under NPV, but I'm not particularly experienced so I might not know.

Would it be possible for us to create a "Criticism" section, something that many articles have, where the various criticisms of neoliberalism can be explained? Because that's what I feel this section was intended to be originally. Hayek79 (talk) 19:20, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Certainly the section seems biased (in spite of its own declaration to the contrary). But I don't think it could be reworked to be in line with WP policy or spirit. That's because the whole thing is based on Original Research. Without any sense of irony, the section claims to be "unbiased" and then goes on to elucidate an entirely original POV about certain things called "neoliberalism" actually being against the spirit of "neoliberalism". What does and does not count as "true" neoliberalism of course being entirely the opinion of whoever wrote the section. The whole section is a personal essay and given the title it couldn't be otherwise: what possible neutral, objective measure is there of whether something is "true" or "corrupted" neoliberalism? The term itself is basically a pejorative, used only by its opponents and applied broad-brush to a huge range of things, from free trade to free schools. My point is it doesn't matter what we do, the section will always be POV and OR. That said, I do see the problem with a "Criticism" section, that too would inevitably be POV, since because "neoliberalism" is such a broad-brush term we'd have to take a POV about what it is we were criticizing. The whole problem is that, in spite of the assumption to the contrary constantly made in this article, "neoliberalism" nowadays is not a coherent ideology advocated by anyone but really just a framing tool that some people use to criticize a bunch of things they don't like, and which they perceive as forming an ideology. Nonetheless I have removed what I thought to be the most flagrant POV from the section, and tagged it OR.--146.90.104.56 (talk) 00:43, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi. I just wanted to say that I wrote that section originally. In hindsight, I think you're entirely right about it being too much original research. I worried about it at the time (see archive of talk) and now I'm a bit older and wiser, I do think that I went too far. I'm glad it's being fixed. I think I'd agree that the section now sticks out like a sore thumb, but I feel, honestly, that at the time I wrote it, the article was in such a mess that a separate section just trying to get to the bottom of the differing ideas and going back to the original sources was a good idea. I think the article has improved a lot since then and there's a lot I missed. I read the introduction now and I wince.
I just thought you might like to know that, since you're having a go at POV, that I also wrote the bit above that, where I'm getting slated for being biased towards Mises and right wing ideology. I think it's amusing as hell that you're slating me for left wing bias :) When I wrote the corrupted neoliberalism, section, like you pointed out, I was making a point about how, if there is an economic type of neoliberalism, then there must be cases where that didn't quite happen. So corrupted refers to the "true" neoliberalism of economic neoliberalism section. I thought I'd made that really, really clear, but plainly not :( I don't know if changing it to criticism really helps and it's certainly not a criticism of all of neoliberalism as you pointed out, because that would involve me making a value judgement about what neoliberalism is, which I wouldn't and hopefully didn't. Aphenine (talk) 13:30, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Just litle notice and hint for those who are concerned: Russia in nineties was hardly neoliberal/libertarian/liberal since it had state socialistic healthcare, state free education system etc, huge amount of different subsidies including free public busses, utilities bills etc. etc. etc.. It had huge amount of state property and state companies, and of course Russia still had all those soviet bureaucrats and "red directors" (term widely used in Russia for ineffective, procrastinating ex-soviet factory CEO). So we can hardly consider it as example of results of liberalis/neoliberalism/libertarianism etc. 89.179.12.252 (talk) 22:56, 19 March 2014 (UTC)


Neoliberalism

The last sentence of the third paragraph of initial definition is wrong. Instead of The term "neoliberal" is now used mainly by those who are critical of legislative initiatives that push for free trade, deregulation, enhanced privatization, and an overall reduction in government control of the economy. there should be The term "neoliberal" is now used mainly by those who are in favor of legislative initiatives that push for free trade, deregulation, enhanced privatization, and an overall reduction in government control of the economy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Unilseptij (talkcontribs) 01:05, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Unilseptij, the sentence isn't wrong. It is pointing out that the term "neoliberal" is a pejorative. When the sentence states it is "used mainly by those who are critical of legislative initiatives that push for free trade, deregulation, enhanced privatization" it doesn't mean used to describe themselves, it means used to describe their opponents, i.e. those critical of initiatives promoting free trade and privatization use the term "neoliberal" to describe the proponents of those things, but the proponents of those things usually do not describe themselves as "neoliberal".--146.90.245.55 (talk) 18:56, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

Repeated Content[edit]

The sentence "Once the new meaning of neoliberalism was established as a common usage among Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused directly into the English-language study of political economy." is in the article 3 times. 71.52.54.28 (talk) 19:10, 22 April 2014 (UTC)Brent Hansen

History section[edit]

The history section could do with some cleanup and rewriting. It also needs sources to support several statements. I'll comment on several sentences one by one:
"In the 1930s, the mood was decidedly anti-liberal" --> what mood? In what way was it "anti-liberal"? Also, what kind of liberalism is refered to here? In what country was "the mood" anti-liberal?
"To join forces a group of 25 liberals" --> to join forces sounds like a phrase that came from a comic book, not an encyclopedic entry. It should be clarified as to what the aim of the colloque was. Did the attendants want to form a single movement propagating neo-liberalism? Did they want to form a collective in order to increase their visibility and increase the impact of their efforts?
"At the Colloque Walter Lippmann, the fundamental differences between 'true neoliberals' around Rüstow and Lippmann on the one hand and old school liberals around Mises and Hayek on the other were already quite visible". Just what is a 'true neoliberal'? It's unclear whether this is somebody propagating a laissez-faire mentality or a Third Way mentality. Also, how were the differences visible?
"After a few years the insurmountable differences between old liberals and the neoliberals become unbearable". This should be clarified. What exactly happened? In what way did it show that the differences became unbearable? What concrete action made it clear?
"Rüstow was bitter that Mises still adhered to a version of liberalism that Rüstow thought had failed spectacularly". How do we know Rüstow was bitter? Is there a source supporting it? Again, in what way did it show Rüstow was bitter?

The section makes value judgements and uses words that may seem to describe something but actually don't, like "join forces", "the mood was anti-liberal", etc. These sentences may at first glance appear valid, but when you think about them, they are not precise and leave much room for debate. SeraphinMr (talk) 16:44, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

I tried to make some clarifications [1]. --Pass3456 (talk) 21:01, 23 June 2014 (UTC)