The big con: how neoliberals convinced most there wasn't enough to go around

Different governments in different countries make different decisions at different points in time. While much of neoliberalism’s rhetorical power comes from the assertion that “there is no alternative,” the simple fact is that the world is full of alternatives. ...
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... For the past 30 years, Australians have been told that we can’t afford high-quality public services, that public ownership of assets is inefficient, and that the pursuit of free markets through deregulation would create wealth and prosperity for all. But none of this is true.
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... neoliberal ideas such as deregulation were never aimed at powerful interest groups like the pharmacists or the gambling industry. And savage spending cuts were never aimed at subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry or private health insurers.
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The political strategy behind these contradictions is simple: it is difficult to criticise government spending on health and education, or popular regulations like consumer protection and limits on executive pay. So why not just criticise all government spending and all red tape in general? Once you have convinced the public that all government spending is inefficient, you can set about cutting spending on your enemies and retaining it for your friends. And once you convince people that all regulation is bad, you can set about removing consumer protections while retaining the laws that protect the TV industry, the gambling industry, the pharmaceutical industry and all your other friends.

When powerful groups want subsidies, we are told they will create jobs. When powerless groups want better funding for domestic violence shelters or after-school reading groups, they are told of the need to reduce the budget deficit. When powerful groups demand new regulations, we are told it will provide business with certainty, but when powerless groups demand new regulations, they are told it will create sovereign risk.

And to think that the above doesn't even mention we can create all the money we want to do everything we want (and without price inflation).

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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