Neoliberalism: the shadow of class
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In 3 years from 1978 through 1980, neoliberalism as an economic theory and policy recipe made its political debut on the world stage. In China in 1978 Deng Xiaoping opened the door to market reforms; in May 1979 Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of Britain; in the summer of 1979 US Fed chief Paul Volcker put US monetary policy on a new course; and in the fall of 1980 Ronald Reagan became president of the United States. So opens David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism. The rest of this short book is an analysis of how the world got to 1978–1980, how these first triumphs led to something like global conquest, and the brutal consequences that have flowed from this rise to pre-eminence as the major policy direction of most nations.
A Brief Historyoutlines both the intellectual roots and the political career of the ideas that resurrected the market as the impersonal regulator of economic life once ‘embedded liberalism,’ the regulatory regime of the welfare state, became a...
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