Let’s talk about neoliberal thinking
One of the most important tasks of politics is to end so-called neoliberalism. This is a concept that everyone has heard before, without necessarily understanding what it means. This is not surprising, since people are more likely than not to hear this concept in the litigation of those who want to deny that neoliberalism is a phenomenon that exists at all. Those who do so have good reason to say so. After all, neoliberalism is really nothing more than a promise of the prevailing political and economic situation in the West and the whole world in recent decades.
The concept of neoliberalism is an extremely important analytical tool, as it describes and explains the economic policies and ideologies of the West in recent decades as a coherent and holistic phenomenon. It thus makes it easier for people to clearly understand the economic, political and social changes that have taken place – as well as the situation today. Equally important, understanding the changes of recent decades as a holistic phenomenon – which has very clear characteristics, doctrines, and ideas – makes it easier for people at the same time to resist this development.
This is exactly what the dominant interests in society want least of all – after all, the development of neoliberalism in recent decades has been to their great advantage and they do not want to change course in any way.
Neoliberalism is a very real phenomenon. It has had far-reaching consequences in virtually every area of society, from large international institutions to the innermost minds of individuals.
But to fully understand it, you really need to see it from two angles.
Two sides of neoliberalism
Neoliberalism has, on the one hand, a political-economic side. This refers to the theoretical theories in economics and political philosophy that are used as a guide in government policy-making and the economic measures that are taken. The basic doctrine here is that free markets are a phenomenon that will always come to the best conclusion. The state can never know more than a free market, and thus never make better decisions about how society should be organized and its material quality should be divided. The economic policy of neoliberalism thus aims to reduce as much as possible the “intervention” of the state and democratically elected representatives of the economy. This is done through various means, most notably through cuts in the various institutions of society that make it impossible for them to carry out their role (especially those who perform some kind of supervisory role). This is therefore one of the most obvious features of neoliberalism: superstition about the market and its ability to solve all societal problems.
The other side of neoliberalism, however, is no less important. It is what could be called the ideological side. Because neoliberalism does not dominate society only through economic measures and the decisions of politicians and the economists of its advisers. The reason why the same actions are being continued indefinitely, despite the fact that their serious damage has long since been revealed, is that the public is largely uncritical of these actions. Most people take them for granted, even as if it is some kind of natural law where nothing else is available.
This is not because the public is particularly mad. Rather, it is because neoliberalism is the dominant ideology of society.
This ideological aspect is based primarily on radical individualism, which states who is the maker of his fortune. Whatever happens to the individual, good or bad, is the individual’s fault. If the individual is wealthy, it is because of his own diligence. If, on the other hand, the individual is poor and living in poor conditions and difficulties, it is similarly due to his own personal failure. In other words, it is the individual’s fault – and the responsibility is thus shifted from those who have made the decisions that led to a society where people live in such conditions.
These two aspects of neoliberalism are thus intertwined and have enabled it to achieve hitherto unheard of results in recent decades. Since the beginning of the 1980s, neoliberalism has managed to infiltrate every nook and cranny of human existence. Whether it’s in the decisions made by International Organizations, or in the behavior of influencers on Instagram. Everywhere, the individual, the private enterprise, and the so-called free market are blessed at the expense of social virtues.
Consequences of neoliberalism
It is no exaggeration to say that the consequences of neoliberalism have been catastrophic on almost every scale.
To name just a few of the most familiar:
- Inequality at dizzying heights is unprecedented in human history.
- Stagnant or deteriorating conditions for working people in the West.
- The endless imperialist wars of the West in one poor country after another (with the aim of “opening up” markets and their economies to Western corporations)
- Increasing employment and existential insecurity.
- A crisis in mental health that is now raging like wildfire in almost all Western countries and beyond.
- Not to mention climate change – which is a direct result of large corporations being allowed to govern themselves in the name of private enterprise and freedom.
In order to unwind neoliberalism, it is not enough to elect other politicians to power who promise an economic policy other than the free market of neoliberalism. As long as the ideological side has this grip on society, the same politicians, with the same old “solutions”, will always inevitably return to power – and continue on the same old path.
Neoliberalism works in many different areas. In order to combat and overcome it, the struggle must also take place in different areas. It is not enough just to criticize neoliberalism. Other ideologies that preach different values and emphases need to be replaced.
This is exactly what socialism is. Socialism is not just a political policy, but at the same time an ideology in direct opposition to neoliberalism and its values.
As opposed to individualism, socialism prioritises society.
As opposed to individual diligence, socialism prioritises solidarity
As opposed to competition, socialism prioritises cooperation.
As opposed to selfishness and self-worship, socialism prioritieses compassion and solidarity
Socialism basically preaches what can be called a proper society. The financial crisis of 2008, which led to the Icelandic economic collapse, was the death of neoliberalism. It was unmistakably revealed how this ideology, together with its economic policy, was a very dangerous fantasy. However, neoliberalism has miraculously managed to survive, as a kind of zombie. No one has a passion for it or a belief in it anymore. Yet neoliberalism continues to dominate society, controlling both politicians’ decisions and their own experiences of existence.
The only thing that can finally bring neoliberalism to the grave where it belongs is socialism. There is simply no other option.
VIII. socialist manifesto: Winding off neoliberalism
- Tax cuts on the rich will be stopped and tax cuts in recent years will be reversed.
- No sale of state property. All transfer of public property to the private sector will be stopped and this trend reversed.
- The privatization of resources will be halted and efforts will be made to transfer the nation’s resources from the private sector to the public.
- The privatization and profitability of basic systems will be stopped. The basic institutions and services of society will no longer be seen as an opportunity for the rich to prosper.
- Outsourcing of public services will be stopped.
- Contrary to popular belief, society has more than enough resources to sustain all the services and welfare it desires.
- Charges for basic systems are a complete disgrace and will be abolished altogether.
- The Socialist Party will always fight against the breakdown of the trade union movement and support the trade union struggle by all possible means.
- The policy of starvation towards public services will be completely stopped.
The only thing that will starve under the rule of the Socialist Party are the bank accounts of the rich in tax havens.