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Neoliberal Capitalism: A Time Warp Backwards to Capitalism’s Origins?


  • Kunibert Raffer



The global economy’s neoliberal transformation recalls Polanyi’s analysis of the great transformation. Present policies of destroying the welfare state or breaking resistance to substantial real wage reductions, strongly recall the 1930s, Speenhamland and Vienna succumbing to the attack of political forces powerfully sustained by economic arguments. Brought about deliberately, “globalisation” is the preferred neoliberal argument. Deregulation, reducing public economic influence, the WTO-system and multilateral treaties lock-in present policies, reducing future governments’ options of change and preventing the return of Keynesianism. Privatisation opens huge private profit opportunities mostly realised at substantial costs to individuals or social costs, as the British railway system or boosting private pension funds illustrate. State intervention is generally condemned, but bailing-out speculators is welcome. Seen as dangerous to neoliberal capitalism, democracy is rolled back. These developments and economic crisis have again given rise to right-wing movements. The attack on Keynesian welfare policies occurred as predicted by Kalecki in 1943. The effects of neoliberalism are discussed in detail at the examples of trade policy, the liberalisation of capital accounts (promoted by the IMF in open breach of its own constitution), and the attack on the public pension system, which opens a riskless bonanza to private investors.
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Suggested Citation

  • Kunibert Raffer, 2011. "Neoliberal Capitalism: A Time Warp Backwards to Capitalism’s Origins?," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 40(1), pages 41-62, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:fosoec:v:40:y:2011:i:1:p:41-62 DOI: 10.1007/s12143-010-9070-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stanfield, James Ronald & Stanfield, Jacqueline B., 1997. "Where has love gone? Reciprocity, redistribution, and the Nurturance Gap," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 111-126.
    2. Dani Rodrik, 1996. "Understanding Economic Policy Reform," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 9-41, March.
    3. Kunibert Raffer, 2003. "Some proposals to adapt international institutions to developmental needs," Chapters,in: The Role of International Institutions in Globalisation, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Whitehouse, Edward, 2000. "Administrative charges for funded pensions: An international comparison and assessment," MPRA Paper 14172, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Diaz-Alejandro, Carlos, 1985. "Good-bye financial repression, hello financial crash," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 1-24.
    6. Kunibert Raffer & H. W. Singer, 2001. "The Economic North–South Divide," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1835.
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