\’Neoliberal\’ has a meaning

And it isn\’t \”things I don\’t like\”.

The slow death of Greece was a political project from the start, with politicians accepting the prescriptions of neoliberal economics. The country has become the guinea pig for the future of a Europe ruled by German capital and Eurocrats.

In what paranoid fantasy is what is happening in Greece neoliberal?

The actual neoliberal position (recently affirmed at our meeting in the underground secret headquartersd under the volcano that sank Atlantis) is that the euro itself was and is a bad idea as it\’s not an optimal currency area. And if there is to be a euro then Greece should not be a part of it. Since it is, and it\’s bust, then it should default and devalue.

In short, the neoliberal solution is the Icelandic one, not the Irish, Greek or Portuguese.

So how come we neoliberals (as you know, the modern incarnation of the Green Lizards, Rosicrucians and Illuminati all rolled into one) are getting blamed for the entire fuck up that is happening precisely because no one will follow the prescriptions of neoliberal economics?

The wholesale destruction of the weak welfare state, the massive transfer of public assets to private hands at bargain basement prices, the largest internal devaluation since the 1930s and the loss of national independence are part of the necessary re-arrangement of capitalism for a period of low growth and popular militancy. The supposed \”rescue\” is a test run for a new type of predatory capitalism after the failure of growth through the financial bubble.

And that\’s just lazy left wing rhetorical wankery. The sort of thing spouted just before the vinegar stroke and the ejaculation \”Ooooh, my Marx and Engels\”.

Capitalism, whatever you might think about it, makes money out of economic growth. Engineering the decimation of an economy does no capitalists any good: which is why capitalists don\’t go about engineering such.

Dear God The Guardian does publish some twats…..

19 thoughts on “\’Neoliberal\’ has a meaning”

  1. “Weak welfare state”?!!

    Half the country on the government tit, 14 monthly salary payments per year for state employees, hundreds of ‘hazardous’ occupations where you can retire at 50.

    He’s having a laugh. Dave Spartopolous.

  2. Rob, the 14 month salary thing is mostly intended as a budgeting aid (two months pay at expensive times of year) and isn’t uncommon around the Continent. It’s not an intrinsically anti-neoliberal plot…

  3. The ’14 month pay’ thing is misunderstood. Some people seem to think you get your salary in 12 wedges with an additional two wedges – like a pie divided into 12 and another two wedges from someone else’s pie. Instead, your annual salary is divided into 14 wedges. You get 12 of those wedges over the year (one per month). You get the remaining two wedges at Christmas and another period I can’t recall (Easter, I think).

  4. Because idiot Marxists (sorry I repeat myself) believe that Capitalists get rich at the expense of the poor, they then reverse the equation and assume that whenever someone is getting poorer, someone else must be benefiting.

    The only winners of the current fiasco are the Eurocrats, gaining power at precisely the point when the full breadth of their twattery has become visible.

  5. As Tim Harford has been pointing out recently, there IS a problem in Greece, and it isn’t 14-month salaries or early retirement. It is their AWFUL bureaucracy that makes it almost impossible to set up or run an efficient business. As far as I am aware none of the EU’s “reforms” have addressed this at all – hardly surprising that, given that the EU itself is a top-heavy bureaucracy which delights in micro-managing things that really shouldn’t concern it.

    I am already a proud bearer of the “lizard” and “Illuminati” labels. “Rosicrucian” is a new one on me. What do I have to do to attain that? Apart from picking idiotic economics and finance to bits, of course.

  6. Can I make an illiberal suggestion? That the words “neoliberal” and “neoconservative” (and derivatives) be banned on the basis they seem to be used as synonyms. Any objections?

  7. “That the words “neoliberal” and “neoconservative” (and derivatives) be banned on the basis they seem to be used as synonyms.”

    That’s because they’re both used to mean ‘things the writer or speaker dislikes’. If you give them their proper meaning, one just means ‘liberal’ in the proper sense, with ‘neo’ distinguishing that from the LibCon style socialists who apparently like to call themselves liberals even though they’re not. The other means US Democrat type lefties who have been ‘mugged by experience’ and accepted free market economics, generally redirecting their interventionist instincts overseas.

    That latter being the only thing neo-cons have in common with neo-libs, because interventionism was always a feature of classical liberalism.

  8. “That’s because they’re both used to mean ‘things the writer or speaker dislikes’.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I personally am a bit hazy about what “neoliberal” really means in relation to economics, so don’t use the word. I just thought others who are equally hazy should follow my example (which might either preclude them from commenting on economics or cause them to be less certain in their views).

  9. >Dear God The Guardian does publish some twats…..

    The word ‘some’ is redundant in the above.

  10. No ‘Economists’ of any persuasion had anything to do with the mess being made of Greece and other similarly stricken countries. No ‘economist’ signed the treaties on either side. As usual, the blame can only be laid squarely on ‘Politicians’ and their cohorts of self -aggrandising civil servants.
    It was perfectly clear at the time of Maastrict and ‘The Convergence’ that the only economy that did actually conform was Germany.ALL the others were to a greater or lesser extent squeezed through the Ring of Convergence and pronounced fit. Who did the pronouncing? The politicos and their bureaucrats. The whole mess is due to the wishful thinking and delusion of those in power who really believe their self image of Masters of the Universe.
    They are reaping what they sowed, but now dare not accept the reality. The markets will sweep Greece away, then Portugal, then Spain.
    The truth is that to save the Euro, either Germany must leave or the whole of Europe must become Germany.

  11. “Dear God The Guardian does publish some twits”: ah, but it’s bloody good at dodging taxes.

  12. dearieme: Mine went through some extraordinary contortions to avoid letting me type “fisting”. It went through fishing and distinct before finally, in desperation, offering me “distinguished”.

  13. Pingback: Tim Worstall: “Neoliberal” has a meaning « Quotulatiousness

  14. It all depends on what you mean by “neoliberal”; if it refers to the current economic system- which is basically corporatism, criticism is valid. If neoliberalism is free market capitalism, that’s a minority crank viewpoint only believed by a few of us loonies on blogs.

    In particular, the current financial system appears to be what the Great And The Good believe in, and if they are the “neoliberals” they certainly aren’t against the Euro or the EU or any of that crazy talk. And if you are not one of them, but you favour the current banking/financial system, you’re more one of them than anything else.

    So, what’s a neoliberal? I myself tend to think it’s synonymous with 80s “right wing” economics, in which a state-backed financial service sector is imagined to be “the engine of the economy”; you know, those people with the shiny suits and shiny nostrils, and there is certainly a detectable desire if not a conspiracy to reduce everybody else to a form of financial servitude, which is what is happening now. A grave but common error is the belief that what we got in the 80s was “free markets”, and thus to confuse those with “neoliberalism”; this confusion occurs on both sides of the LeftieRightie divide.

    Anyway, people need to get their terms sorted out. I do think it would be a good plan to not defend “neoliberalism” as “free markets” because the two are quite different; if you’re in favour of the latter (which, as a Good Austrian I am) you’re on dangerous ground defending the current state of affairs, which most people so far as I can see equate with “neoliberalism”.

  15. Nick Luke,

    Actually, Germany didn’t conform either. It was one of the first economies to break the conditions of the Stupidity and Gall pact, and its debt is still about 20% higher than it should be. To my knowledge the only economy that DID conform to the Maastricht convergence rules was Luxembourg. But Spain didn’t do too badly either.

  16. Just looking at the dimension of the public sector, the then-strict regulation of markets (e.g. truck driver, cabbies), the inefficiency of bureaucracy, the inability to create substanial growth or infrastructure from billions of EU funding shows that Greece was and still is a close to a socialist state. And that is what really made it to fall into the ditch.

  17. To understand the critique of _precisely_ neoliberal policies at work here, try picking up a copy of “Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein, if only to understand the idiocy of us twats.

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