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Thirteen Things You Need to Know about Neoliberalism


  • Ben Fine

    (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

  • Alfredo Saad-Filho

    (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

  • Kate Bayliss

    (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

  • Mary Robertson

    (The University of Leeds)


This paper examines the theories and practices of neoliberalism drawing upon five case studies of housing and water across Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom. This examination ranges across thirteen aspects of (‘things you need to know about’) neoliberalism. They include the argument that neoliberalism is not reducible to a cogent ideology or a change in economic or social policies, nor is it primarily about a shift in the relationship between the state and the market or between workers and capital in general, or finance in particular. Instead, neoliberalism is a stage in the development of capitalism underpinned by financialisation. Neoliberalism is highly diversified in its features, impact and outcomes, reflecting specific combinations of scholarship, ideology, policy and practice. In turn, these are attached to distinctive material cultures giving rise to the (variegated) neoliberalisation of everyday life and, at a further remove, to specific modalities of economic growth, volatility and crisis. Finally, this paper argues that there are alternatives, both within and beyond neoliberalism itself.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Fine & Alfredo Saad-Filho & Kate Bayliss & Mary Robertson, 2016. "Thirteen Things You Need to Know about Neoliberalism," Working papers wpaper155, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.
  • Handle: RePEc:fes:wpaper:wpaper155

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peck, Jamie, 2012. "Constructions of Neoliberal Reason," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199662081.
    2. Ben Fine, 2013. "Financialization from a Marxist Perspective," International Journal of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(4), pages 47-66.
    3. Riccardo Fiorentini, 2015. "Neoliberal Policies, Income Distribution Inequality and the Financial Crisis," Forum for Social Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(2), pages 115-132, August.
    4. Stavros D. Mavroudeas, 2006. "A History of Contemporary Political Economy and Postmodernism," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 38(4), pages 499-518, December.
    5. Burgin, Angus, 2012. "The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression," Economics Books, Harvard University Press, number 9780674058132, Spring.
    6. Robert Wade, 2013. "How High Inequality Plus Neoliberal Governance Weakens Democracy," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 56(6), pages 5-37.
    7. Andrew Kliman & Shannon D. Williams, 2015. "Why ‘financialisation’ hasn’t depressed US productive investment," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(1), pages 67-92.
    8. Yvonne Rydin, 1998. "The Enabling Local State and Urban Development: Resources, Rhetoric and Planning in East London," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 35(2), pages 175-191, February.
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    3. Nithya Natarajan & Katherine Brickell & Laurie Parsons, 2021. "Diffuse Drivers of Modern Slavery: From Microfinance to Unfree Labour in Cambodia," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 52(2), pages 241-264, March.

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    More about this item


    financialisation; neoliberalism; housing; water; capitalism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General

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