Neoliberalism, sometimes known as "market fundamentalism", is the scourge of our age. It infests our federal politics. Stephen Harper is a disciple. Mulcair and Trudeau may be somewhat less neoliberal but it's a matter of degree and it ain't much.
Neoliberalism is a path littered with flawed assumptions and empty promises. It is a cancer that eats away at social cohesion, that drives inequality that itself arises mainly out of privilege and unjust government largesse from tax favouritism to outright gifting of public property. It is the engine of economic feudalism.
Guardian columnist, George Monbiot, has additional insights into the scam of neoliberalism:
Even at the beginning of the process, when markets are first deregulated, we do not start with equal opportunities. Some people are a long way down the track before the starting gun is fired. This is how the Russian oligarchs managed to acquire such wealth when the Soviet Union broke up. They weren’t, on the whole, the most talented, hardworking or innovative people, but those with the fewest scruples, the most thugs, and the best contacts – often in the KGB.
Even when outcomes are based on talent and hard work, they don’t stay that way for long. Once the first generation of liberated entrepreneurs has made its money, the initial meritocracy is replaced by a new elite, which insulates its children from competition by inheritance and the best education money can buy. Where market fundamentalism has been most fiercely applied – in countries like the US and UK – social mobility has greatly declined.
If neoliberalism was anything other than a self-serving con, whose gurus and thinktanks were financed from the beginning by some of the world’s richest people (the US multimillionaires Coors, Olin, Scaife, Pew and others), its apostles would have demanded, as a precondition for a society based on merit, that no one should start life with the unfair advantage of inherited wealth or economically determined education. But they never believed in their own doctrine. Enterprise, as a result, quickly gave way to rent.
All this is ignored, and success or failure in the market economy are ascribed solely to the efforts of the individual. The rich are the new righteous; the poor are the new deviants, who have failed both economically and morally and are now classified as social parasites.The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has delivered atomisation and loneliness.
Free market capitalism, market fundamentalism, neoliberalism - call it what you like - relentlessly moves to clear-cut social democracy to sweep away the last obstacles to the ascent of oligarchy. It is a corruption of both capitalism and democracy. It is the conquest of human dignity. It is very much Kapitalism as foreseen by Karl Marx.
It is a devilish thing that neoliberalism is becoming so entrenched at the very time that our world is struggling with the early onset impacts of climate change. Neoliberalism, the ethos of modern political classes, can only hasten and deepen our decline. It is our societal thumbscrew.
Monbiot adds that pernicious neoliberalism silences the vox populi, and renders public will irrelevant.
We find ourselves technically free but powerless. Whether in work or out of work, we must live by the same rules or perish. All the major political parties promote them, so we have no political power either. In the name of autonomy and freedom we have ended up controlled by a grinding, faceless bureaucracy.