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Keywords:

  • neoliberalism;
  • financial crisis;
  • free market ideology;
  • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act;
  • Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF)

Abstract

In this essay I argue that the ideology of neoliberalism may have failed, but that neoliberal practice is alive and kicking. Most of the ‘solutions’ to the crisis are in the spirit of neoliberalism, rather than enraptured by neoliberal spirit. Yet, this neoliberal solution is not a solution; it is part of the problem in the sense that it is leading to more problems — not just today but also in decades to come. This so-called solution is often presented as Keynesian, but it is only partly so. A better way to classify this solution is as an attempt to save the existing, neoliberal, system. The big crisis of our time did not become a crisis of the hegemony of neoliberalism, because actually existing neoliberalism is flexible enough to influence policy in other ways than through the mantra of free markets: it thrives on presenting existing socioeconomic conditions as failing and neoliberalism as the best solution. Considering the many blows neoliberal ideology has received during this crisis, it should already be dead, but like a creeping cancer neoliberal practice is able to resurface and show up in both new and unexpected, and old and predictable, ways.