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So What's Neoliberalism?

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Posted (edited)

I think most people are sick of the sleaze - Cameron, Johnson Jenrick, and Hancock reveal again the squalid reality that conservative governments represent.

 

Economics has become dominated by the Mont Pelerin doctrine: after eighty years of slow, patient capture of the economics schools its ideology has become the unquestioned orthodoxy. New economic thinking is systematically marginalised. A central neoliberal strategy is to demonise socialism and establish the private sector as the only way of doing business. But that soon transforms into profit without delivery, power without accountability. And it means all the spoils go to a very slim sector of society - limited to executives and shareholders.

 

Mariana Mazzucato's new book, Mission Economy is well worth a read. Mazzucato wishes to reorient capitalism in order to restore public purpose to economics and rejects outsourcing in favour of functioning public institutions. George Osborne systematically destroyed the capacity of the public sector by the discredited policy of austerity, leaving NHS staff demoralised and supplies depleted. This led to the current government looking to their cronies to supply PPE, a hopeless solution that disintegrated amid corruption and sleaze. Test and trace was outsourced to tax abusing, exploitative outsourcers and it was an abject failure leading to thousands of preventable deaths. The success of the vaccine was achieved only through public investment and the deployment of public institutions such as the universities, the NHS and the armed forces, and was delivered only via the socially responsible rejection of shareholder profit in favour of  'at cost' supply of the pharmacology. That is the reality behind the vaccine triumph here in the UK.

 

Contrary to the claims of the Mont Pelerin Society, the state is the real entrepreneur in most economic advancement, but the capitalists that move in once the public has shouldered all the risk get to capture all the profit. And recall who bailed out the market when it failed so spectacularly in 2007/8 - the taxpayer. Ask who is set to foot the bill following the cladding scandal? The taxpayer again. These are not exceptions, it's how capitalism works. Accumulation in the pockets of billionaires means deficits elsewhere.

 

We need properly funded public sector institutions, paid for by tax, from a revenue and customs arrangement that cannot be gamed by billionaires or big business. We need robust regulatory arrangements to ensure high standards and accountability, we need science led health and environmental research, and a viable welfare arrangement.

 

Neoliberalism is hostile to democracy, and this factor must be understood and rejected in favour of responsive democratic institutions. And it is essential that we transform the press so that it presents facts rather than the current diet of bogus claims, distraction and crass entertainment. There is an alternative. And we must begin by making capitalism responsive to society rather than to the enhancement of riches for the already wealthy.

 

 

Mariana Mazzucato, Mission Economy, Allen Lane (London, 2021)

Edited by Staunton
Typo correction

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On 18/01/2021 at 02:03, ECCOnoob said:

  A free-for-all on University leads to degrees being devalued and some students more concerned on the social and party side over actually qualifying in something which will be of use to them. 

Free university education ended in name, in the UK, in 1993 with the abolition of the maintenance grant and the start of student loans. Until then means tested grants would fund students 100% for their living and tuition expenses. Pre-1992 it was possible to claim benefits as well.

I don't see a concomicant rise in quality, now that all students are paying for their degrees  - only a dilution, required to admit a much broader range of ability now that 50% of school leavers attend university, instead of the 5% that did 40 years ago.

 

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Staunton said:

I think most people are sick of the sleaze - Cameron, Johnson Jenrick, and Hancock reveal again the squalid reality that conservative governments represent.

I think that is where some are getting it wrong as the majority of people are fairly happy with what they have now as it's a "now" society.. It seems to be just a few who are sick of the sleaze, as you put it. Knocking the present system at the moment is also a good way to help sell media and books and to date the author Mariana Mazzucato has written over 8 I believe with Mission Economy being the latest so she obviously knows what capitalism is.

 

I remember going to a lecture and talk by the German Economist E.F. Schumacher in the mid 1970s after the release of his book "Small Is Beautiful".   That book received critical acclaim at the time and I was taken in by its simple message about the effect of globalisation which spurred me on to read more about economics. Unfortunately it has basically been forgotten but is still a good read. 

 

A link from the Guardian about that forgotten idea.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/10/small-is-beautiful-economic-idea

 

 

I have read a PDF entitled "Mission Oriented Innovation Policy" by Mariana Mazzucato (2017)  but must admit found it heavy going. I believe she also uses this as a basis for the latest book and makes many assumptions of her own that capitalism is "stuck" and basically needs fixing.

 

AlI can say is that what she is proposing will just go the same way as Schumacher's ideas and will be forgotten over time as it is just another utopian dream.

 

 

 

Edited by apelike

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It is essential to note the dynamics in this thread - neoliberals, their supporters and subservient internet trolls will constantly distract, seek to muddy the waters, demand alternatives, or insist on evidence, only to rubbish any references, clarifications or alternatives offered. It is routine, and we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by such tactics.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Staunton said:

It is essential to note the dynamics in this thread - neoliberals, their supporters and subservient internet trolls will constantly distract, seek to muddy the waters, demand alternatives, or insist on evidence, only to rubbish any references, clarifications or alternatives offered. It is routine, and we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by such tactics.

I agree... the same also goes for the few anti neoliberals and anti capitalists who are in the minority and don't like it when their ideas are challenged or questioned as it actually works both ways. Now point me to some sensible policy that is not pie-in-the-sky rhetoric that is actually an alternative. All we seem to get is the same old tired capitalism/neoliberalism is bad or in a crisis  with its, we should, we must, we need routine and then the above comeback because they don't like the challenge. You may have cited references but that in itself is not an alternative or clarification but a "what if" scenario which solves nothing and there are plenty of them about as well.

 

Although this is not the vaccine thread it is relevant as it about the economics of it.

 

You stated: 

 

"The success of the vaccine was achieved only through public investment and the deployment of public institutions such as the universities, the NHS and the armed forces, and was delivered only via the socially responsible rejection of shareholder profit in favour of  'at cost' supply of the pharmacology. That is the reality behind the vaccine triumph here in the UK."

 

That is plainly not true despite you trying to convince people it is and you are seeing something in it that is simply not there.

 

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-the-multi-billion-pound-business-of-the-oxford-vaccine-12134833

 

As pointed out previously in another thread the virus program for AstraZeneca was not just done on an "at cost" basis only (whatever that actually means) as it is set to make a profit for the company and the University with its two main inventors each set to receive a £12.5 million cut. It was also funded from multiple private sources as well, and not just this government, who also injected hundreds of millions of pounds of private mony simple because they wanted to try and get a vaccine produced as quickly as possible for obvious reasons. Trouble is that there is absolutely no accountability or transparency by AstraZeneca as to how that money has been spent. Sound familiar doesn't it! There is a FOI request that details who provided funds but that is about all you will find.

 

The University itself will make a profit and the two main participants are each set to get around £12.5 million each from shares in the deals made. AstraZeneca are set to make a profit but its just being delayed. Not forgetting also that that is just one pharma company and we also have others that have also produced vaccines that are being used and but sold for profit as well.

 

You said "but the capitalists that move in once the public has shouldered all the risk get to capture all the profit" so what is different here?

 

 

Edited by apelike

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Good point well made. Even in the middle of a global crisis and a human catastrophe on a vast scale, all the capitalists want from public investment is profit.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Staunton said:

Good point well made. Even in the middle of a global crisis and a human catastrophe on a vast scale, all the capitalists want from public investment is profit.

But you failed missed out the fact in your previous posts on AstraZeneca that it was not a public investment with just public money but a mix of public and private money. Even the other vaccine manufacturers who have produced a successful vaccine have also had public money thrown at them. A great deal of money for the Pfizer vaccine development for instance actually came from the German government. But you seem to prefer to believe that the AstraZeneca vaccine was only a success because it "was delivered only via the socially responsible rejection of shareholder profit" which was not the case. It was not rejected but only  suspended for an indefinite time.

 

 

 

Edited by apelike

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... while the dedicated NHS staff who really have been working night and day in selfless service to save lives, who risked their own health and worked beyond exhaustion, and still labour valiantly to immunise the whole population, it seems that they must content themselves with a below inflation pay rise.

 

Perhaps we should also pause for a moment in remembrance of those health and other essential workers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Staunton said:


... while the dedicated NHS staff who really have been working night and day in selfless service to save lives, who risked their own health and worked beyond exhaustion, and still labour valiantly to immunise the whole population, it seems that they must content themselves with a below inflation pay rise.

 

Perhaps we should also pause for a moment in remembrance of those health and other essential workers who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Doing their jobs?   The ones they get paid for? The ones that they studied and train for knowing full well of the the duties and responsibilities they will face?

 

Let's not get carried away with OTT emotive language here.   Yes they have all done a fantastic performance in the face of extremely difficult circumstances. Yes they should be praised for their  well appreciated work. But it is still them doing their job. A job like anyone else also had to cope with all the challenges that covid brought up on their businesses  or organisations.

 

Lots of people have had a below inflation pay rise. Plenty of others had no pay rise at all or were subject to lost income through furlough. Even more people have faced the pressures of balancing their dwindling money, lots of belt tightening and robbing Peter to pay Paul.

 

Can we stop this nonsense of putting key workers and particuarly NHS workers as some enhanced saintly superhero status. It's a worthy, difficult and necessary profession..... but it's still just a job. 

Edited by ECCOnoob

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...while the friends of tory MPs and tax-abusing outsourcing companies enjoyed lucrative contracts counted in multiple £billions of public money to provide goods and services they were not qualified or competent to supply, with catastrophic results that cost an untold number of lives.

 

We really do need to take notice of these dynamics and understand that neoliberalism enriches the few at the expense of the many, and does so by the capture of governments, domination of the press, and by corruption and crony sleaze.

 

Who are the selfless ones and who the selfish?

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16 minutes ago, Staunton said:

...while the friends of tory MPs and tax-abusing outsourcing companies enjoyed lucrative contracts counted in multiple £billions of public money to provide goods and services they were not qualified or competent to supply, with catastrophic results that cost an untold number of lives.

 

We really do need to take notice of these dynamics and understand that neoliberalism enriches the few at the expense of the many, and does so by the capture of governments, domination of the press, and by corruption and crony sleaze.

 

Who are the selfless ones and who the selfish?

Unfortunately changing the economic dynamics as you put it will solve absolutely nothing except making some who want that change a bit happier. Nearly all the problems we have now is not down to economics but are because of overpopulation as that is the driving force behind the problems we have and are facing in the future. Simply changing the economic structure because a few demand it will do very little.  

 

Solve the population problem first and then think about economic change as without doing that we are set for extinction and none of what you want will matter.

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hi all - can we keep it civil and not name call on here please

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