Read: September 2020

Inspiration: Frequently mentioned in the news, what exactly is “neoliberalism”? (recommended by a friend)


Written with the help of ChatGPT, below is a brief summary to understand what is covered in the book.

“A Brief History of Neoliberalism”, published in 2007 by author and professor David Harvey, traces the origins and development of neoliberalism, a political ideology that advocates for free markets, minimal government intervention, and individual freedom. He argues that neoliberalism has had a profound and far-reaching impact on society, shaping the way we think about economics, politics, and the role of the state. The book is divided into several chapters, each of which looks at a different aspect of neoliberalism and its impact on society. Some of the topics covered in the book include the origins of neoliberalism, the ways in which it has shaped global economic policy, and the social and political consequences of its rise. Throughout the book, Harvey provides a critical and detailed analysis of neoliberalism and its impact on the world. He also offers insights into the ways in which it has shaped the modern global economy and the challenges it poses for the future. Overall, “A Brief History of Neoliberalism” is meant to be a thought-provoking look at the ideology of neoliberalism and its impact on society.

Unedited Notes

Direct from my original book log, below are my unedited notes (abbreviations and misspellings included) to show how I take notes as I read.

Neoliberalism emphasize minimal gvt intervention once markets established (private ownership key), state just maintain institutional framework necessary for markets to operate on own, neoliberal state in Iraq attempt to enable profits, first neoliberal experiment in Chile 1973 after Pinochet coup (“Little Sept 11”)—Chicago boys help build, post WW2 focus on full emp, econ growth & citizen welfare (use Keynesian), embedded liberalism (market processes surrounded by social/political constraints and regulation), neoliberal project is to disembed capital from constraints, crisis of capital accumulation 1970s lead to neoliberalism as unemp and inflation rise (rich lose money), neolib in late 70s restore wealthy power, Thatcher UK 1979 privatize public enterprise, attack unions, cut taxes, individual first, Reagan and Volcker 1979 move to neolib, 1973 opec oil embargo lead to US threaten and arab states move $ thru US banks then US banks lend internationally (risky and align US with dictators), Mexico default 1982 and US rollover debt with strict reforms to save banks from losses (lenders not risk anything), neolib emerge in US with 1970s lack of NYC bailout (value biz over citizens), neolibs use PACs in 1970s to control republican party (Jerry Falwell bring Christians into Repub in 78), repubs vote against material interest on cultural/religious grounds, Reagan and Thatcher entrench neolib such that successors Clinton and Blair couldn’t reverse course without hurting electorate, neolib state in crisis favor finan system solvency over population well being (want good biz climate), contradictions in neolib lead to emphasis on nationalism (need gvt to organize strong biz climate but emphasize ind’l value), IMF first loan for neolib reform in Mexico debt crisis 80s, China experiencing rapid urbanization (unemp in rural as foreing inv allowed—job security lost for millions), info tech far more useful for speculation and short term contracts than production, accumulation by dispossesion (i.e. redistribute not generate wealth, result of neolib)—consist of privatization & commodification, financialization, mgmt and manipulation of crisis (debt trap)

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