Introduction: The Life Course of the Neoliberal Project and the Global Crisis

  • Bastiaan van Apeldoorn
  • Henk Overbeek
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


In the wake of the fall of Lehman Brothers on 15 September 2008 and the subsequent near-total collapse of the global financial system, many predicted the end of the world of liberal capitalism or at least announced the death of the neoliberal ideology that had helped to constitute the global order over the past decades. The people making these predictions were those who had been leaders in espousing that ideology in the first place. Thus Francis Fukuyama, in October of 2008, declared that the ‘American model’ borne out of the Reagan revolution was ‘the culprit’ that had caused the crisis and worried that it would take many years to restore the damage to the ‘American Brand’ (Fukuyama 2008), while Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf (2009) argued that the ‘era of liberalization contained the seeds of its own destruction’. Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan in a congressional hearing even famously admitted that his free market ideology was apparently ‘not working’, that there was ‘a flaw in the model’ that he had been working with for 40 years.1 The Economist (2008), not quite buying the latter argument, did warn that ‘economic liberty is [now] under attack and capitalism … is at bay’. In addition, the appar-ent failings of financial deregulation and liberalization as premised on the Washington consensus combined with worries about the rise of East Asian ‘authoritarian state capitalism’, producing concerns within Western elite circles regarding the survival of liberal capitalism itself (Bremmer 2010; Rachman 2011).


European Union Accumulation Strategy Current Crisis Global Order Capitalist Class 
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© Bastiaan van Apeldoorn and Henk Overbeek 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bastiaan van Apeldoorn
  • Henk Overbeek

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