Neoliberalism stands in opposition to multiple sets of political thought out there today which in our view are propelled by motivated reasoning. These are usually either explicitly or implicitly utopian beliefs - even the horrifying racist ones.r/neoliberal wrote: We do not all subscribe to a single comprehensive philosophy but instead find common ground in shared sentiments and approaches to public policy.
- Individual choice and markets are of paramount importance both as an expression of individual liberty and driving force of economic prosperity.
- The state serves an important role in establishing conditions favorable to competition through preventing monopoly, providing a stable monetary framework, and relieving acute misery and distress.
- Free exchange and movement between countries makes us richer and has led to an unparalleled decline in global poverty.
- Public policy has global ramifications and should take into account the effect it has on people around the world regardless of nationality.
All forms of populism for instance are basically click bait headlines masquerading as policy: "this one simple trick to Make America Great Again", "see how millions of guaranteed jobs cured global warming". None of the noteworthy problems of our society are fixable with one simple trick, and none of the simple tricks proposed can possibly have only the desired outcome. The basic neoliberal position is that it is insane to set public policy without considering the ways in which it changes people's incentives, because that is the factor that most determines whether or not you will get the change you intended.
People who dislike neoliberalism tend to focus on something that it is not. Apparently we we want corporations to dominate government (not true), and we want corporations to profit at the expense of people (meaningless on the whole, untrue for the rest). But some times you guys get round to hating for for true things...
The lefties hate us because...
From the left we are loathed for wanting public services to be provided by private companies (which we do when it makes sense, and we don't when it doesn't). We are pretty strongly wedded to free markets - which for some is sort of spiritually evil even when it clearly works well. We like those markets to be kept in line by strong regulators who can prevent fraud, market manipulation and so on. We don't like those markets to be controlled by state owned corporations, or local ownership rules, or any of the stuff that they do in China or France. We approve of reducing poverty by simple, workable methods such as cash transfers, educational support etc. We don't approve of trying to run people's lives for them by creating special jobs for people, or Procrustean efforts to rearrange the wage structures of private companies. We sort of tend to prefer flexible systems for universal provision of health, education and so on, we don't tend to view these things as a natural state monopoly, but we do view them as an essential service set which must be guaranteed by the state one way or another.
And the right hates us just as much because...
On the right we are weak on immigration (which used to be a left wing complaint but you guys just trade that shit from time to time) and largely we don't care about that because nobody should be strong on immigration. And the right (again, previously the left) now hates us because we think economic nationalism is stupid (which it demonstrably is). They also don't like us because we don't think very highly of the Laffer Curve, or trickle down economics in general, we dispute the whole notion that lower taxes on the rich creates a whole bunch of jobs. We don't dispute the science of global warming etc, and we mostly seem to think that a non-distorting revenue neutral carbon tax is a better way to address it than silly carbon trading schemes. Most neloibs probably do support minimum wages. Almost all neolibs do support universal insurance for health, unemployment and so on, Hardened righties think these are socialist objectives, actually socialists think that too, you are all wrong.
That leaves some other stuff. Neoliberalism is fundamentally Liberal. For our confused American friends, that means we leave you to your own business whenever we can, not that other shit you guys bleat about. Liberalism at heart separates out a sphere of public life where your behaviour must meet society's standards of not killing people and wearing some clothes, and your private sphere where your behaviour is subject entirely to your own conscience and you decide what the hell you want to wear (if anything) in your own damn house. The general idea is that the private sphere should be maximised. So that means there's a whole large slice of life for which there should be no neoliberal position whatsoever beyond not caring.
So there you go. I think neoliberalism is mostly good, and more of you should be neolib shills with me.