Home > Uncategorized > A new orientation away from neoliberalism

A new orientation away from neoliberalism

According to Polanyi: [T]he victory of fascism was made practically unavoidable by the liberals’ obstruction of any reform involving planning, regulation, or control. (Polanyi 1944, p. 257)

The direction and content of socioeconomic development in the EU have been essentially determined by market laissez-faire, ultimately dictated by the financial markets’ irrational, manic-depressive psychology. The institutions and the economics of the orthodoxy, which form the constitutional ideological ground of the EU inescapably lead to mass unemployment, large and increasing inequalities of incomes and wealth. This in turn leads to increasing alienation of large sections of the population, and finally to the kind of nationalistic reaction that we see today. To avoid a protracted crisis and the trend toward disintegration and internecine conflict, institutions and policies of the EU need to be transformed. Most urgently, a massive investment plan should clearly signal the end of the current orthodoxy and austerity politics. This would indicate a new orientation of the EU, away from neoliberalism, and towards a more representative and deliberative form of accountable democracy consistent with a new paradigm of human growth. Human growth could be the idea that reunites the European nations behind the EU project, and replaces the neoliberal — in fact, anti-democratic — paradigm. Essential for progressive change is, therefore, to provide a powerful set of ideas, capable of articulating the risks involved in present trends and the potentials of a transformed Europe. Moreover, a well-defined and well-specified program for paradigm change in Europe could be important not only for Europe, but also to induce similar changes at the global level, thereby reducing global economic instability and international political/security conflict and tension.

Jorge Buzaglo  RWER #77

  1. December 16, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    Europe has lost its way. Back in the 80s I was, we all were, ardent Europhiles because Europe stood for something. Something protective and distinct from the laissez-faire neoliberal norm engulfing the world. We needed to support Europe, and Europe needed to have the size to meaningfully stand against that tide. In Maastricht Europe chose not to stand against that neoliberal norm but to embrace it, and at that point Europe lost it purpose. It stands for nothing. Being in Europe leaves one as exposed to the laissez-faire neoliberal environment as being outside it, so what is the point of Europe? Why should Europe be large? To resist what? What vision does it have for its citizens? It has none, no more than the neoliberal world order. Europe as it is now conceived has no purpose. We must urgently tear down the parts that went astray and rebuild it as a genuine federation that gives its citizens more protection and opportunities than the world outside it.

    • December 16, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      I totally agree with this. The transformation from an EEC to an EU has been a disaster. When John Major signed Britain up for the EU at Maastricht he didn’t seek our agreement in a referendum: it seems like an appeal whad been made to his vanity. Likewise game-playing Cameron offered us in or out of a Union, not responsibly using his referendum to sound out alternatives like going back to the principles of Community.

    • robert locke
      December 16, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      I do not understand this portrayal of Europe, which totally ignores European achievements as the best hope of mankind. Hoie in his book Ethical Management nofes:

      Nordic organisations are the main empirical basis for this book, not because they do everything correct, but because they belong to five economies, cooperating and partly competing, succeeding despite unfavorable conditions. They are burdened with high taxes, large governments, active trade unions, strikes, small salary differences, generous social benefits, long vacations, small markets and sometimes government ownership.

      Nearly identical ideas are popular in German Mittelstand, medium sized companies delivering quality products, often high-technology, and at the same time serving as contributing members in their local society. In the difficult year 2010 their sales increase was world class.

      The USA theoretically has all advantages: resources, money, markets, people, size and the ownership of business ideas. Still, the Nordics have consistently beaten the USA and the rest of Europe on several economic indicators (see later), and in addition enjoy happiness, peace and a good life. For this reason they are sometimes called “Bumble Bee” economies. The bumble bee appears unable to fly, but does.”

      Cheer up, Europe is a great place.

      • December 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

        “Europe is a great place”? So why are neo-liberal shibboleths at the heart of the Lisbon Treaty, and why have the Eurocrats been so ruthless in stripping Greece of all “Nordic” features?

      • robert locke
        December 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm

        We have a crisis in Europe because we let finance capitalism pouring out of the US and the UK dominate Europe through EU institutions. We all know that. But we forget there is so much more to Europe than that, which I remind you of by quoting Hoie. You know the old story, America is a country that went from barbarism to decadence without passing though civilization. Don’t forget the civilization, which is why I choose to live here rather than in the US.

      • Craig
        December 17, 2016 at 2:12 am

        I would suggest most economists don’t know it enough. The monetary paradigm dominance of finance is our deepest economic problem. It is an established psychological fact that when a neurotic confronts his/her deepest conflict all manner of attending irrational behaviors dissipate as well. Human systems inevitably being reflections, albeit neurotic reflections in the case of economics, of humans themselves, again….maybe we just don’t know ourselves well enough.

        I have known economists whose work I respect call for a new economic philosophy and even suggest actions that I think reflect the concept I perceive as the one that is needed. It’s just that not having a fully fleshed out understanding of the philosophical concept their actions are only one offs instead of strategically placed and continuing policies that would actually correct the economy through time.

        A new, and hopefully deeper, philosophical concept would do that.

  2. Craig
    December 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    If one wants to understand stagnation or even devolution in a discipline they must confront the dominant powers present. Economic systems are dominated by the business model of finance via its monetary paradigms of Debt only, loan only and for production only. If Europe and the rest of the world wants to be free they must recognize and effectively deal with these three glaringly contradictory monopoly powers in what is alleged to be free market systems. Integrating a new paradigm of monetary gifting into all three of Debt, Loan and for production only into the money system with policies that would simultaneously interpenetrate and encompass it for both the individual and enterprise would break up these monopoly paradigms and enable free flowingness for all agents. That is, provide monetary policies that last through time for the individual and that also free businesses from the burden of macro-economic costs that routinely exceed actually available individual aggregate demand at the end of the entire economic process at retail sale.

  3. December 18, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Slow down a bit. Let’s see if we can understand the situation a little better. First, is this situation accidental? The result of a series of mistakes and errors? I think not. And this is where we need to consider the role played by economists, policy think tanks, political parties, and the 100 largest corporations in the world. Second, will those who benefit by these arrangements voluntarily agree to change them? To avoid crisis and conflict and perhaps serious damage or even disintegration of their societies will these beneficiaries agree to transformation of policies and institutions that support and defend this benefit? I think not. In my view these beneficiaries are more likely to do everything in their power, including armed revolution to make certain such changes are not made. The normal next steps in such circumstances is courts, legislatures, and elections. But these can and will be, in my view subverted and turned, as based on recent events they already have been. Only three steps left open then. Non-violent protests, violent protests, and armed military revolution. We’re in for one helluva of a fight.

    • December 18, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Ken, if you raise that expectation by demanding justice rather than offering truth and mercy, you are likely to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.,

      • Craig
        December 19, 2016 at 12:49 am

        I have no problem with either justice or mercy. Justice would be the sentence for those PROVEN guilty, mercy for those who went along with injustice largely unconsciously. But IMO worrying about justice and mercy comes after we make the necessary changes. One of the best and fastest ways forward for real change would be to start a grassroots movement showing how monetary gifting was in the interests of both individuals and businesses. This is what I refer to as the new SCH/Powell memo. You can only effectively fight an idea/paradigm with another better one, and monetary gifting to both the individual and to business is that new idea/paradigm. We could call it Operation The Wisdom of Gifting.

      • December 19, 2016 at 6:10 am

        Per Quinton Tarantino, “You only need to hang mean bastards, but mean bastards you need to hang!” John D. Rockefeller, David Koch, Robert Murray, etc. are mean bastards.

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