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Neo-feudalism (literally new feudalism – the terms are used interchangeably in the literature[1]) refers to a theorized contemporary rebirth of policies of governance, economy, and public life[2] reminiscent of those present in many feudal societies, such as unequal rights and legal protections for common people and for nobility.

The concept of "neofeudalism" largely focuses on economics. Among the issues claimed to be associated with the idea of neofeudalism in contemporary society are class stratification, globalization, mass immigration/illegal immigration, open borders policies, multinational corporations, and "neo-corporatism".[3]

Use and Etymology[edit]

The term seems to have been originated as a criticism of the paternalistic left; an early example being the essay Galbraith's Neo-Feudalism[4] published in 1961. The term is still used by some on the right in that sense in the twenty-first century:

Although he would later become a naturalized American citizen, Soros remains in social outlook very much a European and believer in the paternalistic neo-feudalism euphemistically called "democratic socialism" or "social democracy." [5]

In 1992 Immanuel Wallerstein has made his view on global development of the world, which has neofeudalism among three other variants, which meant autarky regions with local hierarchy and hi-tech goods available only for elite.[6]

Privatized governance[edit]

According to Les Johnston, Clifford Shearing's theoretical approach of neofeudalism has been influential.[7] Shearing "use[s] this term in a limited sense to draw attention to the emergence of domains of mass private property that are ‘gated’ in a variety of ways".[1][8] [9]

Neofeudalism entails an order defined by commercial interests and administered in large areas, according to Bruce Baker, who argues that this does not fully describe the extent of cooperation between state and non-state policing.[10] The significance of the comparison to feudalism, for Randy Lippert and Daniel O'Connor, is that corporations have power similar to states' governance powers.[11]

The widening of the wealth gap, as poor and marginalized people are excluded from the state's provision of security, can result in neofeudalism, argues Marina Caparini, who says this has already happened in South Africa.[12] Neofeudalism is made possible by the commodification of policing, and signifies the end of shared citizenship, says Ian Loader.[13] A primary characteristic of neofeudalism is that individuals' public lives are increasingly governed by business corporations, as Martha K. Huggins finds.[2] Seattle-based technology billionaire Nick Hanauer has stated that "our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society".[14]

John Braithwaite notes that neofeudalism brings a different approach to governance, since business corporations in particular have this specialized need for loss reduction.[15]

Neofeudalism in popular culture[edit]

  • Frank Herbert's Dune series of novels is set in the distant future with a neofeudalistic[16] galactic empire known as the Imperium after the Butlerian Jihad which prohibits all kinds of thinking machine technology, even its simpler forms.


  1. ^ a b Shearing, Clifford (2001). "Punishment and the Changing Face of the Governance". Punishment & Society 3 (2): 203–220. doi:10.1177/1462474501003002001. 
  2. ^ a b Huggins, Martha K. (2000). "Urban Violence and Police Privatization in Brazil: Blended Invisibility". Social Justice 27 (2). ISSN 1043-1578.  External link in |work= (help)
  3. ^ Thom Hartmann, "Time to Remove the Bananas...and Return Our Republic to Democracy",, 6 November 2002 [1]
  4. ^ George Reisman Human Events, February 1961 [2]
  5. ^ Lowell Ponte "George Soros: Billionaire for the Left" Front Page Magazine, November 13, 2003
  6. ^ Wallerstein I. Capitalist civilization. -Binghampton (N.Y.), 1992.
    Malinovsky P. V. (2001). "Globalisation as a Civilization Shaping Process". Russia and the modern world (Россия и современный мир) (ИНИОН РАН) (2): 7 (5–30). ISSN 1726-5223. 
  7. ^ Johnston, Les (1999). "Private Policing in Context". European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research 7 (2): 175–196. doi:10.1023/A:1008753326991. 
  8. ^ Shearing, Clifford D. (1983). "Private Security: Implications for Social Control". Social Problems 30 (5): 493–506. ISSN 0037-7791. 
  9. ^ Zedner, Lucia (2006). "Policing Before and After the Police: The Historical Antecedents of Contemporary Crime Control". The British Journal of Criminology 46 (1): 78–96. doi:10.1093/bjc/azi043. 
  10. ^ Baker, Bruce (2004). "Protection from crime: what is on offer for Africans?" (PDF). Journal of Contemporary African Studies 22 (2): 165–188. doi:10.1080/cjca0258900042000230005. 
  11. ^ Lippert, Randy; O'Connor, Daniel (2006). "Security Intelligence Networks and the Transformation of Contract Private Security". Policing & Society 16 (1): 50–66. doi:10.1080/10439460500399445. 
  12. ^ Caparini, Marina (2006). "Applying a Security Governance Perspective to the Privatisation of Security" (PDF). In Bryden, Alan; Caparini, Marina. Private Actors and Security Governance. LIT Verlag. pp. 263–282. ISBN 3-8258-9840-7. 
  13. ^ Loader, Ian (1999). "Consumer Culture and the Commodification of Policing and Security". Sociology 33 (2): 373–392. doi:10.1177/S003803859900022X. 
  14. ^ Nick Hanauer (2014-07). "The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats". Politico Magazine.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. ^ Braithwaite, John (2000). "The New Regulatory State and the Transformation of Criminology" (PDF). The British Journal of Criminology 40 (2): 222–238. doi:10.1093/bjc/40.2.222. 
  16. ^ Erman, Eva; Möller, Niklas (August 2013), "What's Wrong with Politics in the Duniverse?", in Nicholas, Jeffery, Dune and Philosophy: Weirding Way of the Mentat, Popular Culture and Philosophy Series 56, Open Court, p. 66, ISBN 0812697278