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Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better
The terms Neoliberalism and Casino Capitalism are used interchangeably. They define the same phenomenon. The term "Casino Capitalism" stresses that neoliberalism glorifies stock market, promotes "financialization" of the economy and creates powerful incentives for financial speculation and excessive risk-taking on the part of the public ("Greed is good"). By a masterstroke of introducing 401K large part of the US population became stock owners are mercilessly fleeced by bog and small financial intermediaries. Mass ownership of stock 401K plans created stable rent rest for financial intermediaries, which increase in size and importance in the economy approximately 100 times. Add to this introduction of "gambling style" financial instruments such as derivatives, "naked" commodity futures (settled in dollars, not in product), currency speculations, intentional blowing of bubbles and even talking public "no-profit" Main Street entrepreneurs (dot-com crisis on 2000). That's why neoliberalism is also "casino capitalism" as markets, especially stock market play in it outsize role.
Like feudalism neoliberalism stipulate existence of three main classes (under feudalism they were aristocracy, merchants and serfs). simplifying we can defined them as billionaires & millionaires, "guard labor" plus selection profession groups, and the rest (aka "deplorables"):
They can be tentatively called the class of millionaires as their net worth often exceeds one million dollars (in 2019 dollars). They also can be considered the upper middle class. The them law apply but with exceptions and sentences are usually very lenient. Here are the data for 2016 How Many Millionaires Are There in America Decamillionaires -DQYDJ
We estimate that there are 14,814,453 millionaires in the United States. Our estimate puts the millionaire net worth goal at the 88.24% wealth bracket in the US in 2016, or 11.76% of all households.
The key social goal of neoliberalism is "redistribution of wealth up" (Neoliberalism is "accumulation by dispossession" ~David Harvey) at the expense of the working class and lower middle class (the bottom 90% of population). It was a political project designed to curb the power of labor and it managed to completely dismantle a more fair model of capitalism -- the New Deal capitalism (see Neoliberalism war on labor). So stagnation of wages and deterioration of the standard of living of the majority of population is not an aberration, but a key feature of neoliberalism. The neoliberal postulates that "greed is good", which contrary to Christianity and all other major religions. Excessive greed and excessive zeal in acquiring wealth at the expense of other people (as in "redistribution of the wealth up") is a feature of sociopaths. And in a way, neoliberalism is the most "sociopath friendly social system" in human history.
Typically, the suppression of wages is done under the false flag of austerity. Important for neoliberals sectors such FIRE (FIRE brass bonuses, and tax cuts for rich are not affected by austerity) and MIC (especially intelligence community) as well as the law enforcement are not affected by austerity, only worker wages and social programs are.
|The key social goal of neoliberalism is redistribution of wealth up. So stagnation of wages and deterioration of the standard of living is not an aberration, but a key feature of neoliberalism.|
Neoliberalism positions itself as a secular religion (which in its core is hostile to Christianity, much like Bolshevism) with the compliance enforced by the state. Somewhat similar God-Building trend in Marxism. For example, the prominent member of Bolsheviks party -- Lunacharsky "saw Marxism as having religious components, including its faith in the inevitable victory of socialism."; according to Trotsky(1923) in some of the southern republics around 15% percent of party members were believers in Islam. Developing this insight Erich Voegelin’s on his controversial Political Religions (1938, see discussion at Stalinist Ritual and Belief System- Reflections on ‘Political Religion’) suggested that ideologies can function as secular religions. Any person who lived in the Soviet block instantly would recognize elements of this secular religion and corresponding elements of security apparatus that enforces it in the USA( Andre Vltchek, Sep 03, 2019):
What the West used to accuse the Soviet Union of, is now actually clearly detectable in the United States and the United Kingdom themselves: surveillance is at every step, these days; in New York, London, Sydney, and even in the countryside. Every move a person makes, every purchase, every computer click, is registered; somewhere, somehow. And this monitoring is, mostly, not even illegal.
Speech is controlled by political correctness. Someone behind the scenes decides what is acceptable and what is not, what is desirable or not, and even what is permissible. You make one 'mistake' and you are out; from the teaching positions at the universities, or from the media outlets.
...No punches can be administered intuitively. Everything has to be calculated in advance. No 'outrageous' political fiction can pass the 'invisible censorship' ...
Both neoliberalism and Bolshevism are deficient in terms of empirical evidence that supports their postulates (or symbols of faith, to be more correct) and had to be accepted on faith. The difference is that Bolshevism (as well as national socialism) generated a sense of devotion and mass mobilization with the emphasis on the personal sacrifice, reminiscent of religious zeal. This is not the case for neoliberalism which adopted "inverted totalitarism" model that demobilize the citizens to the level of consumers. dissidence are not physically repressed and send to the GULAG, but just ostracized, isolated and deprived of their usual sources of income. The enforcement of ideology is no less rigid than under bolshevism with MSM, but the idea is to capture academy first and spread those false, reactionary idea with the veneer of academic respectability.
The "market" under neoliberalism is a kind of "all powerful deity"
Gramsci stands vindicated: just capture the academies and the rest of us follow, often willingly. Nothing competes with the coalition of universities and MSM as neoliberalism indoctrination tools ( Andre Vltchek, Sep 03, 2019):
While Hollywood and the mass media keep producing, relentlessly, all sorts of highly insulting and stereotypical racist junk (mainly against the Chinese, Russians, Arabs, Latinos and others), great writers and filmmakers who want to ridicule the Western [neoliberal] regime and its structure, have already been silenced.
You can only humiliate non-Westerners in a way that is approved (again: somewhere, somehow), but God forbid, you dare to criticize the pro-Western [neoliberal] elites who are ruining their countries on behalf of London and Washington, in the Gulf, Southeast Asia or Africa – that would be 'patronizing' and 'racist'... The Cold War era appears to be relatively 'tolerant', compared to what is taking place now.
Social media constantly represses 'uncomfortable' individuals, 'unacceptable' media outlets, and too 'unorthodox' thoughts.
... ... ...
... 'they' will use double-speak to let you know that all this is for your own good. It will not be pronounced, but you would be made to sense it: 'you are being protected from those horrible Third World monsters, madmen, perverts.' ... The [neoliberal] regime is fighting for you, it cares for you, it is protecting you.
In other words neoliberals proved to be very creative followers of Academician Lysenko. That fact that their theories were false (and they were constructed as false from the beginning) did not bother them one bit. The ability to capture the academy, and then via power of the state to enforce them on the population in the only thing that matters for them. They demonstrated this very convincingly convincingly in Chile's neoliberal coupe detat. Milton Freidman's "Chicago boys" played a prominent role in this CIA sponsored and directed regime change effort.
Thereafter, Chilean economic policy “deregulated and privatized,” including the breakdown of state-controlled pension systems, state industries, and state banks (sound familiar, Southern Europe?) And, of course, taxes were reduced. Forthwith, Chile unfettered itself from state control and turned the economy lose into the lair of “the freedom of the markets.”
Thereafter, Milton Friedman never stopped grinning, and Henry Kissinger smiled for the first time ever, he once remarked: “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” (Source: Timothy David Clark, Dept. of Political Science, Putting the Horse Before the Cart: Neoliberalism and Post-Neoliberalism in Chile, York University, June 15, 2012.)
Like Stalinists who protected their narrow interpretation of Marxism from any challenges by power of the intelligence agencies, neoliberals are people who believe that “the market does not and cannot take care of itself,” and indeed the state under neoliberalism takes the form of the national security state — one in which power of the state intelligence agencies insulates the unregulated markets (and financial oligarchy which those markets enrich) from democratic attempts to regulate them, as well as from economic nationalism, which threatens neoliberal globalization. As such neoliberalism can be viewed as a dictatorship of financial oligarchy with the key difference that the role of enforcer of the will of financial oligarchy is performed by intelligence agencies (which at birth were closely connected to Wall Street; look at Allen Dulles biography.) And as soon as the USA and other western states absolved their secret police from accountability, they naturally became subservient to their power. This is the same dynamics that happened with KGB in the USSR. Intelligence agencies play the role of enforcers of neoliberalism both at home and abroad (often via color revolutions coup d'état ). From this point of view the real father of neoliberalism was Truman who created CIA and NSA.
|Neoliberals are people who believe that “the market does not and cannot take care of itself,” and indeed the state under neoliberalism takes the form of the national security state — one in which power of the state intelligence agencies insulates the unregulated markets (and financial oligarchy which those markets enrich) from democratic attempts to regulate them, as well as from economic nationalism, which threatens neoliberal globalization. Intelligence agencies play the role of enforcers of neoliberalism both at home and abroad (often via color revolutions coup d'état ).|
At the center of neoliberalism as a civic religion is a pretty vile and, at the same time, shrewd redefinition of the word "freedom" as freedom from any kind of coercion (compare with FDR four freedoms). That sophistry resonated very well within Americans and British people and became a "universal opener" using which neoliberal elite opens the door for any harmful for population actions/legislation, including but not limited to the restoration of the power of financial oligarchy. All in the name of freedom ;-). Dirty, but a very effective trick.
Those guys are real masters of deception and elevated it into the art form. In a way society under neoliberalism is the society that is living in one giant illusion. In a way neoliberalism can be called the "religion of freedom," a yet anther coercive cult (not that dissimilar for the Church of Scientology) enforced by corrupt, deceitful elite with the explicit goal of milking the adherents.
Neoliberal ideology is offering a closed, coherent belief system explaining the whole world via unverifiable and unsubstantiated by scientific testing system of dogmas, beliefs and rituals. Deification of markets is just slightly less fantastic then the idea of Paradise. Obviously, neoclassical economics are far removed from what is ordinarily regarded as valid scientific procedure. It is, essentially, a pseudo theory, and it was this way from the very beginning. In this sense neoclassical economics which constitute an important part of neoliberal ideology (along with Randism as the philosophy and Neoconservatism in foreign policy) is a new flavor of Lysenkoism, if you wish.
As core dogmas of neoliberalism are indefensible from scientific point of view if stated openly, neoliberalism has always been surrounded by an aura of secrecy and "esoteric teaching" (for elite only) which reminds Scientology. Even the name is suppressed in neoliberal MSM (US neoliberal MSMs rarely, if at all, mention this term "neoliberalism"; In UK the only exception is probably Guardian). To protect deplorables from discovering the ugly truth, elaborate pseudo theoretical smoke screen including mathiness was created. Exactly like in Marx famous quote "Religion is the opium of the people." This is actually the first instance when ideology conceived as a secular religion uses perverted mathematics (mathiness, Number racket) to justifies itself (I think Ancient Egypt priests might be the only analogy). As such this is a blatantly dishonest ideology. Like Bolshevism in the past, it also plays dirty tricks with the language in best 1994 style, creating neoliberal NewSpeak: compare for example how "economic freedom" is defined by neoliberals ("freedom of entrepreneurs and financial speculators from coercion and regulation") and how it was defined by FDR ("freedom [of working people and lower middle class] from want"). Indoctrination into "neoliberal newspeak" is done at the Universities using for brainwashing neoclassical economy and "business courses." Much like Soviet students were brainwashed with Marxism-Leninism and Marxist political economy. In both cases you can't graduate without passing mark for those courses. Again like Marxism neoliberalism is hostile to Christianity; some postulates of neoliberalism are closer to Judaism (entrepreneurs and financiers as a higher caste of the society, the inner party), some to Satanism.
Like Bolshevism neoliberalism is striving to rewrite history in the favorable light, or, even better, create conditions that people do not know the history at all. Neoliberalism even more then Bolshevism in the past is profoundly hostile to history. Which is actually a feature of all new cults. But the method neoliberalism uses is suppressing of education and coverage in MSM -- which is methods that characterize it as "inverted totalitarism". How many Us citizens know who Sheldon Wolin was? probably one in hundred or less. But most know who this corrupt stooge of financial oligarchy, "Chicago boy" Milton Friedman was because he is a saint of the church of neoliberalism. Or who was this plagiarist of Nietzschean philosophy, a Russia emigrant Ann Rand was?
Neoliberalism redistributes wealth up, justifying it with another key neoliberal myth -- the so called "trickle down economics" voodoo: the idea is that if the State directly helps the rich by redistributing wealth up, enforcing "market discipline", opening markets were they never existed (healthcare, education), as well as privatizing state assets, the poor will be better off as a by-product. Or as John Kenneth Galbraith quipped: “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” In other words, neoliberalism is welfare for the top 1% or 0.1% of entrepreneurs and parasitic financial oligarchy (which state protects), and, at the same time, the "free market" jungle for the rest ("socialism for rich").
It is both an ideological assault, but also an economic assault on the power of labor (and especially organized labor) a political project to squash labor wages. On intuitive level neoliberalism emerged as the result of thinking like “We gotta crush labor, how do we do it?” And they found that neoliberalism can be a legitimizing theory for such a squash. Which again makes it similar to Bolshevism, which despite noble slogans kept working class wages at a very low level (which was noted by Orwell in his Animal Farm parable, and famous John Kenneth Galbraith quote "Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite")
And, again, like Bolshevism, this is a self-reassuring, self-gratifying and self-explanatory high demand cult -- a pretty sophisticated and very deceptive ideological rosy glasses, which creates (and then enforces on lemmings) a distorted image of reality. Important part of "reproduction" mechanism if this ideology is that it is deliberately propagated by neoliberal MSM and in neoliberal universities And neoliberal MSM (which are the only game in town in many countries now) as neoliberalism eliminated other forms of press via monopolization mechanism. In the USA lion share of MSM is owned by just six corporations. Along with domination in MSM, neoliberalism creates sophisticated and effective system of indoctrination of population which rivals the same under Bolsheviks in the USSR.
At the same time the cult of greed and denial of tenets of Christian morality like in case of Bolshevism tend to produce monsters. In the absence of a moral filter, as Martha Stout observed in her book The Sociopath Next Door (2006) "Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths... That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow -- but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one." Recent information about child abuse among the neoliberal elite suggests that the proportion of sociopaths among neoliberal politicians is much higher that it was under the New Deal Capitalism. Such neoliberal politicians as Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton (sexscapades , connection to Jeffrey Epstein's Lolita Express, "Clinton Cash" Scandal), Hillary Clinton ("We came, we saw, he died"), Dick "Vice" Cheney, Donald Trump might well be malignant narcissists. Discovery of pedophilia rings that involve politicians in several Western countries (such as Britain, Vatican, Norway ) is just another manifestation of the same trend: Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite. And this is not a bug, this is a feature of neoliberalism, connected with neoliberalism core value "personal gratification above everything else". There is no cure for the infiltration of malignant narcissists and outright sociopaths into high echelons of government until moral character is valued by the society and is once again assessed before key promotion decisions are made. Typical for narcissists megalomania, the idea that after the collapse of the USSR the USA can and should rule the globe was a decisive force in the USA foreign policy (which was at the core a neocon foreign policy) since 1990th and precipitates the current decline of the USA as the world power due to overextension typical for all empires.
The neoliberal state justifies its decisions, policies, and rules by deification of the markets and by perversion of the meaning of the term the "freedom". In this Hayek inspired sophistry the negative definition is used as in "freedom from coercion" and interpreted mainly in economic space ( as the freedom of unlimited enrichment of talented and/or ruthless entrepreneurs.) Compare with "Four Freedoms" definition used Roosevelt administration during the New Deal: "freedom from want" and "freedom from fear" are not included in neoliberal definition. Those freedoms are simply denied under neoliberalism for everybody, but the top 10% of population.
Neoliberalism might therefore be defined as the elevation of market-based principles to the level of state religion. Or more correctly the techniques of elevation of market principles to the level of state-endorsed norms and state-sponsored secular religion which displaces Christianity (aka neoliberal rationality). This theological dimension of neoliberalism is very important (some researchers called neoliberalism "perverted Buddhism" in institualized suffering of lower classes ) and like in Marxism, the economics (in the form of neoclassical economics) is used for indoctrination on university students into this ideology. Neoliberals (in a form of adherents to neoclassical economics) dominate economics departments of major universities and not by some chance -- this is result of deliberate policy (borrowed from Trotskyism) of acquiring and maintaining the political power ("Quite coup").
This secular religion in which "market" and "competition" are new deities ("market fundamentalism") is especially visible in university education, were alternative approaches were mercilessly crushed. It is not an exaggeration to say that the main goal of teaching of economics in universities is the indoctrination, and it has very little in common with teaching economic as a complex and contradictory science. Mathematics serves as powerful smoke screen for hiding the neoliberal ideological core (mathiness)
Like neofascism, neoliberalism radically transforms the "welfare state" which was created by the New Deal, prioritizing big corporations over common people. The idea of welfare that was the core of New Deal Capitalism is not completely abolished. But under neoliberalism only corporations are desirable welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up. But at the same time neoliberalism and neofascism are mortal enemies: neofascism is at its core a flavor of far right nationalism (cultural or ethnic), while neoliberalism is based on globalism. Only in imperial nations like the USA they can partially merge and intervene (Trump's national neoliberalism is one example).
Neoliberalism explicitly reject Christian moral norms, replacing it with the cult of personal enrichment "Greed is good" and making competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. The value of the person under neoliberalism is by-and-large defined by the assets it controls plus his social position (which also implicitly provides access to accepts). In a way neoliberalism revived Soviet Nomenkatura system. In this sense to speak about the USA as Christian country is a cruel joke: it sees to be such from the moment neoliberal came to power.
The cult of competition gave a rise of various (often stupid) "performance metrics" and proliferation of "performance reviews".
From political standpoint neoliberalism redefines citizens as consumers, who exercise they political power mainly buying and selling, the process which supposedly rewards merit (producing market winners) and punishes inefficiency. It postulates a primitive (and wrong) dogma that “the market” always delivers benefits that are superior and could never be achieved by planning or via government programs.
Which is definitely untrue for military contractors (which represent that ultimate case of "corporate socialism" within the neoliberal system).
As the "market" under neoliberalism is a kind of "all powerful deity" making neoliberalism, like Marxism before, is hostile to Christianity. And while Marxism absolutize the power of human compassion and redefines paradise as a social system that supposedly can be built on Earth (communism), neoliberalism denigrates the power of human compassion and enforces "greed is good" and "homo homini lupus est" morale. Which turns into law of jungle for lower and middle class. In this sense it is more like a branch of Satanism, with greed as a virtue ("Greed is good"), speculation as a noble activity (while according to Chris Hedges "Speculation in the 17th century was a crime. Speculators were hanged." ) and the slogan "Homo homini lupus est" as one of the key Commandments. See Neoliberalism and Christianity
Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations, and greed as a virtue
This social system can be viewed as dialectical denial of socialism and represents the other extreme in classic triad "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis". We do not know yet what the synthesis will be like, but neoliberalism as a social system after 2008 shows definite cracks. Much like the USSR after the WWII when people serving in Red Army discovered what the standard of living in Central and Eastern Europe for workers was far superior that existed in the USSR and start to understand that "state socialism" as practiced in the USSR can't deliver promised higher standard of living for ordinary citizens and that Soviet "nomenklatura" is not that different from the capitalist class in appropriation in Marx terms of "surplus value of labor".
Neoliberalis if the dictatorship of financial oligarchy, covered by a fig leaf by "participative democracy." Like in the USSR elections are sill regularly held, but candidates are vetted by the financial oligarchy which serve as a proxy for the Soveit Politburo. Political power under liberalism belongs to Wall Street and is exercised via the Deep State, and first of all intelligence agencies. If necessary, the intelligence agencies are ready to stage color revolution against "accidentally elected" leader, like happened with Trump.
In labor relations neoliberal pursue a staunch anti-union stance. In this sense neoliberal is complete reversal of the New Deal Capitalism which legitimized the unions and gave them a place at negotiating table.
Under neoliberalism labor is successfully atomized, unions suppressed and individuals put on the market "naked" on conditions dictated by employees. Which means squeezing goo paying job in favor of terms and contractors, outsourcing and other anti--labor measure designed to preserve falling profitability in the market condition characterized by falling consumer demand (due to lower standard of living for the majority of population). And this is done at any cost. Even at the cost of human life. That situation gave rise to the term "naked capitalism".
|The idea of welfare is not abolished. But under neoliberalism only corporations are desirable welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up.|
Recent spy scandals demonstrated that neoliberal elite (like financial oligarchy in general) is aware of the loss of power of neoliberal ideology and is afraid of losing power. They no longer fully believe in the power brainwashing of population (at least after 2008). Neoliberal ideology started losing its grip on the population, much like Marxism in the USSR in1960th.
So they switched to coercion innovating in this area too: by introducing so called "inverted totalitarism" template of social coercion. This term was introduced by Professor Sheldon Wolin in his famous book ( see kettering.org which provides an introduction to the book for free).
This template updates Bolsheviks-style repressive mechanisms by relying more the power of intelligence agencies as an enforcement squad of neoliberal agenda and the power of MSM for brainwashing of the population. Dissidents are no longer jailed or killed; they allow them to linger in obscurity carefully "cutting the oxygen" -- and access to media for popularization of their ideas and money for a decent standard of living. You can be a dissident under neoliberalism but prepare to end your life in poverty. So the explicit censorship by the state used under Bolshevism is replaced by a more several private censorship of MSM controlled by neoliberal oligarchs, who provided to be as good in this area if not better as Bolsheviks (six corporations in the USA control all major MSM).
This development reveals another (and pretty alarming) commonality with Bolshevism -- historically Cheka (OGPU/NKVD/KGB) played prominent, if not decisive, role in defending and ensuring the survival of Bolsheviks' regime. It was betrayal of KCB brass that doomed the USSR in late 1991 -- starting from Andropov they switched sides and started to propagate the conversion of the country to neoliberalism. This negative trend is amplified by appointment, "not so bright", deeply conformist "ladder climbers" as the heads of intelligence agencies. For example, Brennan and Clapper represent the same category of people as a typical Soviet bureaucrat -- a ruthless (and most often corrupt and amoral) careerist with limited intellectual capacities, but devoted to the defense of the ruling oligarchy. Such people understand very well from which side his bread is buttered. Neoliberalism operates differently and does not require, or support mobilization of population. That's why it is viewed by some political scientists as a new mutation of corporatism called "inverted totalitarism" (the term introduced by Sheldon Wolin in his magnificent book and further developed by Wendy Brown in her essay Neoliberalism and the end of liberal democracy and the book Undoing the Demos- Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution (2017). Internet as a distributed and democratic system supports mobilization of population. It also makes more difficult to control information flow and free flow of information and existence of critical to neoliberalism websites which summarize and presents in readable form the available information is a threat to neoliberalism. Which, being a secular religion, flourished on ignorance and brainwashing. That's why there is systematic propaganda campaign to associate critics of neoliberalism with Russians (which were chosen as a very convenient scapegoat due to Cold War past). That's why neo-McCarthyism witch hunt was launched after Trump elections with such fierce force.
Like Bolsheviks neoliberals are statists par excellence, using state to enforce and support the neoliberal dogma. In other words, neoliberals believe that "the market does not and cannot take care of itself" In this sense we can view neoliberalism is a form of state enforced regulation -- one that insulates the markets from challenges of democratic forces (with the ideological smoke screen of neoclassical economy, which is pure sophistry) as well as from economic nationalism. The recent Deep State attack on Trump is typical, classic neoliberal reaction on such a challenge from economic nationalism.
While hypocritically shouting "free market", "free market"... neoliberals like Bolsheviks in the past conspire to achieve power via iether by deceiving electorate with "carrots" in regular election mechanism (which after they came to power is neutered ) or by stealth coup d'état (or regime change via color revolution in weaker countries, first in Latin America (Chile, Brazil, Argentina) and then post Soviet republics (Baltic republics, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia) as well as infiltrating and subverting key institutions of the state via IMF and World Bank ("debt slavery") and, especially, intelligence agencies. CIA considered neoliberalism as a useful tool for their "fight against communism" and was onboard with neoliberalism starting with Pinochet coup in Chile in 1973 done using fifth column of USA educated (read indoctrinated) "Chicago boys".
After coming to power neoliberals behave like Bolsheviks and openly and blatantly use government as an enforcer of their ideology and intelligence agencies as the ultimate repressive apparatus that help to keep the power and to crush any dissent. Intelligence agencies are also instrumental in controlling MSM (directly but placing operatives posing as journalist -- typical for foreign correspondents, especially is such countries as Russia and China, and indirectly buying and/or threatening journalists as was documented in the book Journalists for Hire How the CIA Buys the News by Dr. Udo Ulfkotte), which under neoliberalism are strictly limited to regurgitation of neoliberal propaganda. In a way they are more tightly controlled then in the USSR.
Neoliberals are statist par excellence which is not surprising as neoliberalism can be defined as Troskyism for the rich. The role of state in support of neoliberalism includes bailing out financial oligarchy to prevent of meltdown of financial system during Minsky moments. Which are inevitable under neoliberalism as decimation of regulation (especially for financial sector) eliminated the negative feedback loop introduced by the New Deal, while financial institutions create a strong positive feedback loop in economics gradually sliding to more and more reckless behaviour as more time from the previous crisis elapses until the new financial crash hits them (and the society as whole) in the head ("stability is destabilizing" as quipped Minsky). At this point neoliberal state bails then our at the expense of ordinary taxpayers and traditional manufactures ("socialism for the financial oligarchy") who bare the main blunt of the crisis.
Like Trotskyites and Bolsheviks in the USSR they exaggerate threats to the USA sovereignty in order to cement the cracks in the neoliberal regime. Russiagate can be viewed as a page borrowed from the Stalinist period of the USSR. In the USSR people were accused being British spies. Now in the USA dissidents from neoliberal ideology (even such highly placed as Trump ;-) are, by definition, Russian intelligence service collaborators, or assets.
This primitive witch hunt is very useful for defenders of the neoliberal regime and the level of paranoia now extends even to contacts with the Ambassador of Russia by any US official which bring us to the set of behaviors at the peak of the USSR Great Terror. In a sense Mueller looks exactly like one of Stalin's henchmen -- he tried to justify the view that is almost totally misguided, for the sake of defense of declining neoliberal ideology and protecting officials in the Democratic Party from their political fiasco with Hillary. In other words he perform political functions that are not that different from functions performed by the head of Gestapo or Stasi -- suppression of the political dissent to neoliberalism.
Like in the USSR for intelligence officials it is safer to flow with the neo-McCarthyism trend: the current atmosphere of paranoia makes it difficult for remnants of honest service members in the intelligence agencies to present the evidence that contradicts Russian spymania vision. The essence of which is identical to the vision of Stalinist Russia: that the USA is surrounded by two hostile powers (Russia and China) hell-bent on creating political crisis in the country and/or "regime change" and salivating to steal or dismantle the US global neoliberal empire. Which are engaged in stealing technological and military secrets.
Like Soviets, neoliberal policymakers are deeply troubled by the specter of the enemy at the gate, not realizing that the current social crisis in the USA is ultimately connected with the crisis of neoliberalism both as an ideology and the system of governance. Add to this faulty, ideologically distorted system of intelligence gathering and ruthless but intellectually second-rate careerists at the agencies (just look at Strzok, Brennan and Clapper). Like with the discovery of British spies in the USSR, the most obvious motive for Russiagate witch hunt is to cement cracks in neoliberal faced which appeared after 2008 by using for this purpose the external threat.
While many think about neoliberalism as "Ubercapitalism" or return to "Robber Barons" era on a new level, I would like to stress that ideologically Neoliberalism is much closer to Trotskyism ( and thus can be called Neo-Trotskyism ). It stresses the role of state as the enforcement power, the solidarity of neoliberal elite across the countries, with the dominant role of Anglo-Saxon elite. As well as the role of subversive methods and intelligence agencies in instituting the "regime change" (Trotskyite idea of permanent revolution mutated under neoliberalism into the idea of "permanent color revolution") . In the famous slogan "Proletarians of all countries, Unite!" neoliberalism substituted the word "proletarians" with the word "elites" (as in "Transnational elites, Unite!" ).
The slogan "All Power to [Workers] Councils" is replaced with "All power to financial oligarchy councils", and such clubs as Bilderberg Group, US Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and similar organization are playing the role of hidden centers of power of the neoliberal regime.
Like Trotskyism neoliberalism in the ideology of "permanent expansion", ideology of neo-colonialism. The idea of "Permanent Revolution" was substituted with the idea of permanent "Color revolutions." Methods used remain a variation and enhancement of methods used by Trotskyites for destabilizing the government, with a special emphasis on use of the students, acquiring the control of mass media, implanting NGO (especially in the area various polls and "control over the legitimacy of elections". ) The latter is pretty nasty trick as people tend to believe the rumors that elections were hijacked. Stalin dictum: it does not matter how they vote, what matters is who is counting the votes is used here in a pretty innovative way. The neoliberal version sounds like: It does not matter how that vote, if elections are close all that matter is who is performing exit polls and cries louder about "irregularities" in the elections in the MSM.
Add to this various financial injection to "dissidents" via network of NGO and you get the picture. Caste of "professional revolutionaries" now consists of well-paid functionaries sitting in comfortable chairs in various, lavishly financed think tanks and NGO. In the USA they constitute the core of both parties which cares very little about the interest of rank-and-file members with "bait and switch" maneuver as the major tool for election success (Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump). Marx is probably rolling in his grave.
Despite being a flavor of Trotskyism, Neoliberalism is still a very interesting, unique social system which by-and-large defeated and replaced both New Deal capitalism and various flavors of socialism (as well as facilitated the dissolution of the USSR by buying out Soviet nomenklatura, including KGB brass). It is the only social system in which the name of the system is somehow prohibited by MSM to mention. In this system, like under Stalin's version of socialism, the state play the leading role in enforcing the social system upon the people, brainwashing them with wall-to-wall 24 x 7 USSR-style propaganda an, if necessary, by state violence (As Sheldon Wolin mentioned neoliberalism tries to use violence selectively, as overuse of state violence undermines the social system, see Inverted Totalitarism).
Neoliberalism is the only social system in which the name of the system is prohibited (or at least suppressed) in MSM.
Like Bolshevism and national socialism neoliberalism lifted intelligence services into full fledged political player (which means that later stage of neoliberal state always evolves into the national security state). They also almost completely control the MSM , major commerce (Amazon), search (Google). and social sites (Facebook). For example, Google was created with the help of intelligence agencies at the initial state. Which means that the regime of total electronic surveillance, reminiscent of STASI is the "new normal" (see, Privacy is dead, get over it).
As we can see in color revolution launched by them against Trump (Trump is the proponent of a newer version of neoliberalism, which can be called "national neoliberalism" or "neocolonization instead of globalization") intelligence agencies now position themselves as "king makers" or Praetorian Guard that de-facto controls the election of the President of the USA. And the color revolution against Trump is not the isolated case when the USA intelligence agencies have gone rogue. It is just a step in natural evolution of neoliberalism and along with total surveillance is a "new normal".
Like Bolshevism and national socialism neoliberalism lifted intelligence services into full fledged political
Instead of regulating predatory tendencies of capitalism like under New Deal, state under neoliberalism became just a corrupt policeman that serve interests of the large corporations and financial institutions (especially the latter) and, in most cases, at the expense of the standard of living of the common people. Standard of living of working class and lower middle class typically slides under neoliberalism (this fact is never accepted by neoliberals and hotly disputed).
|Standard of living of working class and lower middle class typically slides under neoliberalism. In the USA this is the case since 1980th (this face is not accepted by neoliberals and hotly disputed). But this is a direct result of redistribution of wealth up, which is sine qua non of neoliberalism. Like Feudalism before neoliberalism promotes the notion of aristocracy masqueraded by the smoke screen on "creative class", but in essence consisting mainly of financial oligarchy, with substantial role of inheritance.|
In this sense any neoliberal country is to a certain extent is an "occupied country", and the neoliberal regime is the occupying regime, much like Bolsheviks (with their theocratic state) were in USSR space. Or like the return on the new level to the Robber Barons era, when the state helped to squash West Virginia miner upraising in 1912-21 by military force.
Foreign policy under neoliberalism is marked by rampant militarism and constant wars for expanding of the global, USA-led neoliberal empire. Neocons dominate the USA foreign policy since early 70th (Chilean putsch and then Carter administration support of mujahedeen against Soviets).
It is important to understand that under neoliberalism the key priority is the maintenance of global neoliberal empire for the benefits of multinationals (with the associated idea of Global Neoliberal Revolution which, as we mentioned before, makes is similar to Trotskyism). Opening new markets is vital for the interests of transnational corporations and that means that the USA government supports the war for the expansion of the USA-led global neoliberal empire at the expense of interests of regular US citizens. Outsourcing and atomization of the US workforce (squeezing unions) means that neoliberal government has an adversarial attitude towards its common citizenry. They are, by definition, the second class citizens (Undermensch, or as Hillary Clinton elegantly coined it "basket of deplorables" ) . While neoliberal themselves ("creative class") are new Ubermench and like old aristocracy are above the law. So the idea of the "nomenklatura" as a ruling class in the USSR is now replayed on a new level. The fact the Ann Rand was a Soviet émigré tells you something ;-)
On "lesser" countries level IMF and World banks does the heavy lifting of converting countries into debt-slaves. Sometimes with the help of Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs. Organizing and financing the "death squads" also helps ( moonofalabama.org ):
Under international law, a state is accountable for the unlawful actions of a proxy only if an organ of the state ordered the proxy to commit the act. It is not sufficient simply to have provided material support or even encouraged the unlawful act. For example, in the 1980s, the International Court of Justice found the United States not liable for Contra violations of international humanitarian law, even after concluding that the United States had “financed, organized, trained, supplied, equipped and armed” the Contras, even to the point of providing training materials that discussed “shoot civilians attempting to leave a town, neutralize local judges and officials, hire professional criminals to carry out ‘jobs,’ and provoke violence at mass demonstrations to create ‘martyrs’.”
Like Trotskyism, neoliberalism is a militaristic creed. The only difference is that dream of global Communist empire led from Moscow was replaced by the dream of global neoliberal empire led by Washington. that's why in the foriegn policy neoliberals morph into neocons --" neoliberals with the gun" as in Al Capone maxim "You Can Get Much Further with a Kind Word and a Gun than with a Kind Word Alone" ;-). This "institualized gangsterism" of the US neocons represents probably the greatest threat to the survival of modern civilization.
In this sense neoliberals are as "internationalists" as communists were at their time, and may be even more (the term "globalism" is commonly used instead of "internationalism".) And like "Communist International", the "Neoliberal International" accepts the elite from any country, but only a very narrow strata of the elite and only on a certain conditions, with the leading role reserved for the USA elite and a part of G7 elite. Much like in Comintern the role of Moscow as a leader was something that can't be even discussed. Only taken for granted. Although spying capabilities of "Neoliberal International" via "five eyes" are tremendously more powerful then the rudimentary capabilities of Comintern. And the technology of staging "color revolutions" is more polished then Trotskyite approach to staging proletarian revolutions.
As a proverb say "One is a bad student, if he can't exceed the level of his teacher". Or "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires" (William Arthur Ward). Neoliberals proved to be a very good students of Trotskyite methods of subversion of elected governments, as many of them were actually former Trotskyites.
Neoliberals also have more money and that matters. This fact alone allows them to create a powerful "fifth column" in countries other then G7 who are on the receiving end of neoliberal expropriation of wealth to the top countries of Neoliberal International. Like in Comintern, "all pigs are created equal, but some pigs are more equal then others."
The key idea of obtaining power by training the cadre of "professional revolutionaries" introduced by social-democratic parties and, especially, Bolsheviks are replaced with no less effective the network of neoliberal think tanks. In other words neoliberalism borrowed and perverted almost all major ideas of social-democratic parties. Including the existence of a paid "party core" typical for Bolsheviks, and instrumental to the success of their coup d'état in October 1917 against Provisional government by Kerensky. Under neoliberalism this idea transformed into the network of think tanks that Koch and other billionaires have sponsored.
Monte Perelin society (the initial neoliberal think tank) explicitly tried to adapt successful idea of western social democratic parties and Bolsheviks to neoliberal doctrine. One such "appropriations" is the level of secrecy and existence of "underground" part of the party along with "legal" parliamentary faction, a set of figureheads who are controlled by "invisible hand" (honorable politician is the one who after he was bought stays bought). Some important theoretical work in this direction was done USA renegade Trotskyites (aka neoconservatives, especially by James Burnham as well as staunch neoliberals like James Buchanan (The Guardian)
The papers Nancy MacLean discovered show that Buchanan saw stealth as crucial. He told his collaborators that “conspiratorial secrecy is at all times essential”.
Instead of revealing their ultimate destination, they would proceed by incremental steps. For example, in seeking to destroy the social security system, they would claim to be saving it, arguing that it would fail without a series of radical “reforms”...
Gradually they would build a [well-paid] “counter-intelligentsia”, allied to a “vast network of political power” that would become the new establishment.
The control of MSM is another idea borrowed from Bolsheviks.
Like Bolshevism, neoliberalism created it's own Neoliberal newspeak and a set of myths ("greed is good", "invisible hand", "the efficient markets hypothesis", "rational expectations scam", Shareholder value scam, supply side voodoo aka "rising tide lifts all boats", etc).
In "neoliberal newspeak" the term "freedom" is used as the excuse for ripping down public protections on behalf of the very rich. For example, "free market" means the market free from any coercion by the state (read "free from regulations") which makes it the corporate jungle where the most powerful corporation dictate the rules of the game and eat alive small fish with complete impunity. In no way neoliberal "free market" is fair. Actually neoliberals try to avoid to discuss the issue of farness of the market. This is anathema for them. As such neoliberalism has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed
|In no way neoliberal "free market" is fair. Actually neoliberals try to avoid to discuss the issue of farness of the market. This is anathema for them. As such neoliberalism has distinct Social Darwinism flavor and enforces scapegoating and victimization of poor and unemployed|
As neoliberalism inherited consumerism of the New Deal Capitalism, it adapted it for it own purposes. One distinct feature is trying to get into dent the majority of the population of the country as well as "lesser" countries (neo-colonialism)/
On the individual workers levels neoliberalism has sophisticated mechanisms of enforcing excessive debt on unsuspecting population with such mechanisms as credit card companies, mortgages, student debt, etc. And a worker with a large debt is, essentially, a debt-slave. Atomization (neoliberalism is openly and forcefully anti-union) and enslavement of the workforce is exactly what neoliberalism is about: recreation of the plantation economy on a new technological and social levels. Not that unions are without problems in their own right, but crushing the union is the goal of every neoliberal government starting with Thatcher and Reagan. The same model that is depicted in famous song Sixteen Tons. With replacement of the company store debt and private corporate currencies with credit card debt.
Neoliberalism elevates of market-based principles and techniques of evaluation to the level of state-endorsed norms. The authority of the neoliberal state is heavily dependent on the authority of neoliberal economics (and economists). When this authority collapses the eventual collapse of neoliberalism is imminent. This is a classic "the castle built of sand story. "
Systems with a strong positive feedback loop are known to be unstable. So bailing out private institutions using public money (like happened in the US and Europe in 2008-2010) is not an aberration, but a quintessential feature of neoliberalism -- the result of stron positive feedback loops that exit within the financial system.
And the crisis of 2008 which caused the regime of "secular stagnation" in Western societies will probably be repeated on a new level in 2020th (we can only guess about possible triggers; might the price of oil, or the size of derivatives market). Simplifying, we can call neoliberalism "Banks uber alles" regime and as such it is unstable social system prone to periodic devastating financial crisis. Like Bolshevism before it, neoliberalism proved to be unstable social system and the collapse of neoliberalism is not question of "if", but "when". A utopian system which is unable to deliver promised benefits to the common people, and which destabilizes capitalism in comparison with New Deal capitalism, producing periodic financial crisis with increasing severity. The first of such crisis was "savings and loans" crisis, followed by dot com bubble burst, and the financial crisis in 2008. The latter led to the Great Recession from which the USA never fully recovered.
The economic inefficiency of the USSR "state capitalism" model (one state -- one giant corporation) helped to undermine the validity and effectiveness of communist propaganda. And once the ideology is undermined, the elite can't restore the trust of population, which start viewing it with suspicion and contempt. The process of irreversible deterioration started and proceed rather slowly. After WWII Bolshevism survived for another 40 years or so, but eventually failed as the elite (aka Soviet nomenklatura) changed sides and joined neoliberal camp.
Neoliberal elite now experience similar "crisis of legitimacy" which already demonstrated itself in two major events: Brexit in the UK and election of Trump in the USA. That did not mean that neoliberalism became completely toothless. It managed to stage comeback in several Latin American countries (the USA backyard) such as Argentina and Brazil. But in 2016 it led to the election of Trump who managed to defeat establishment candidate, neocon warmonger Hillary Clinton despite all the efforts of the neoliberal/neocon establishment to derail him. Trump pursues the version of neoliberalism which can be called "national neoliberalism" -- neoliberalism limited to the USA with implicit rejection of globalization (or at least large part of it). Which makes Trumpism somewhat similar to Stalinism. Unlike Trotsky, Stalin did not believe in the "World Revolution" mantra.
In 2008 the large banks, which are the core of neoliberal economics, were saved from facing consequences of their "transgressions" only by massive state intervention. All powerful market was unable to save those sick puppies. The consequences of 2008 crisis did buried neoliberal ideology which from this point looks like cruel and primitive hypocrisy designed to restore the power of financial oligarchy to the level the latter enjoyed in 1930th.
At the same time like theocratic regimes based on other religions (for example, Bolshevism before WWII and Islam in Iran after Islamic revolution ) neoliberalism had shown great resilience after 2008 crisis. Even in the situation when its ideology is completely discredited, neoliberalism managed somewhat recover after 2008 debacle, and even successfully counterattacked in some Latin American and European countries (Argentina, Brazil, Greece).
But the Great Recession still left of huge and ugly scar on the neoliberal face. In any case, the glory days of triumphal march of neoliberalism all over globe are over. Crisis of neoliberalism also logically led to increase of share of "guard labor" in economics. On state level this resulted in hypertrophied growth of repressive apparatus including intelligence agencies. So when in 2016 neoliberalism in the USA experienced its first political crisis (when electorate rejected Hillary Clinton and elected Trump, creating the legitimacy crisis of the USA ruling neoliberal elite) the Deep State (the core of which consists of intelligence agencies and "Wall Street" ) launched a "color revolution" to depose him. Fake changes of falling under Russian control concocted by intelligence agencies in order to depose Trump which collectively are called "Russiagate" (which properly should be called Intelligence-gate) is the defining feature of this "color revolution".
With lower standard of living of the middle class is no longer possible to hide that "it 's not enough cookies for everybody" under neoliberal and the myth that rising tide lifts all boats" ( Trickle-down economics ) is not applicable.
The economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that "trickle-down economics" had been tried before in the United States in the 1890s under the name "horse and sparrow theory", writing:
Mr. David Stockman has said that supply-side economics was merely a cover for the trickle-down approach to economic policy—what an older and less elegant generation called the horse-and-sparrow theory: 'If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.'
Resentment of working class and lower middle class reached in 2016 unprecedented level, creating a real political crisis in the USA. Which was not unexpected. As Pope Francis aptly noted:
... Such an [neoliberal] economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
Outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing in the USA -- the citadel of neoliberalism led to epidemic of opiod abuse similar to epidemic of alcoholism among workers in the late USSR. Among the more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with nearly 30,000 overdose deaths ( Overdose Death Rates National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (
Impoverishment of lower 20% of the society (those who have so called McJobs) reached the level when we can talk about a third world country within the USA.
All those factors created pre-conditions for a sharp rise of far right nationalism. In a way neoliberalism naturally generated far right nationalism splash much like Gilded Age and the market crash of Sept 4, 1929 capitalism created precondition for the rise of national socialism. Reading NDSAP 25 points program (adopted in 1920) we can instantly feel that many problem that existed then are now replayed on the new level. After approximately 40 years of global dominance neoliberalism facade shows cracks. Backlash against neoliberal globalization became strong enough to provide upsets, albeit temporary, which demonstrated itself in Brexit, and election of Trump. Who, despite his election-time claims to be a fighter against neoliberal globalization, for restoration of local jobs, and against the wars for expanding neoliberal empire, he essentially folded in two-or three months after the inauguration.
Like Soviet version of Communism before it, Neoliberalism failed to meet its promises of rising standard of living (and the key idea of justifying of raising of inequality and redistribution of wealth up under neoliberalism was "rising water lifts all boats" mantra, or as Kenneth Galbraith famously defined it “Trickle-down theory - the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.” ). We can stress again, that the current opiod epidemics in the USA is not that different from epidemics of alcoholism in the USSR under Brezhnev's "well developed socialism" and has the same social roots.
Like all other social systems neoliberalism evolved with time ( much like Bolshevism evolved from Leninism to Stalinism, then to Brezhnev's socialism and at last to Gorbachov's "perestroika" ). Recently in the USA it morphed into "national neoliberalism" (neoliberalism that stresses the colonial model and direct economic and military pressure of vassals, instead of treaties based globalization model used in "classic" neoliberalism) which has uncanny similarities with "national socialism". This flavor was not well accepted by the current US neoliberal elite and attempts to stage the color revolution against Trump followed (Russiagate).
It can morph into slightly different "regimes", despite the common "market fundamentalism" core. But in all cases it is "socialism for the upper strata of population and corporations, especially transnationals". It favors professionals (programmers, lawyers, doctors, university professors, etc), upper level managers and capital owners, so this social system acts strictly in the interests of top 10% of population, with the special emphasis on interests of top 1% or even top .01%. For the rest of population it serves austerity as the only available dish. That's why it is often compared with feudalism.
Currently in the USA we can observe morphs of neoliberalism into what can be called National neoliberalism. The latter rejects classic neoliberal globalization in favor of bilateral relations (which in case of the USA means highly favoring the bigger country) with the total rejection of the United Nations as the key international institution, and open gangsterism in foreign policy ("might makes right").
It is personified by Trump with his low level understanding of international affair, impulsivity, permanent bulling and threats as the negotiation tactics, and apparent narcissism.
Many observers are appalled by the fact that it looks like the USA (and it's allies in United Neoliberal Zombies of Europe) are indeed led by the stupid, corrupt, and ignorant.
This is the end of the introduction. Due to the size the main article was moved to a separate page -- Neoliberalism in depth
The Last but not Least Technology is dominated by two types of people: those who understand what they do not manage and those who manage what they do not understand ~Archibald Putt. Ph.D
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