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Understanding neoliberalism [Philip Mirowski/INET]

May 28, 2016

Below is a paper on the definition and significance of neoliberalism, with more attention to detail on definition and distinction between related bodies of thought than I’m used to seeing.

It is about what neoliberalism is and is not (from a historian’s point of view), how it is different from neoclassical economics, its ideological and theoretical sub-categories (Chicago school, Ordo-Liberalism, Austrian school etc), and areas where the ideology is inconsistently, if at all, defined. Lastly, neoliberalism’s history as a deliberate project to promote a particular ideology.

The author has a somewhat unhappy writing style, and is upfront about his judgments. The text is peppered throughout with complaints about how economist-historians are inadequately defining the term, misusing it, denying its existence, denying the coherence and influence of the body of thought identified by the author as neoliberalism, etc. — this type of complaint is pretty much the central structure and theme of the paper. But I found the actual information presented useful. The writing style and fair amount of references to philosophy, and history of thought in the abstract, made it a medium+ difficulty read (meaning, had to go thru it more than once), but worth it for me.

link: http://ineteconomics.org/uploads/papers/WP23-Mirowski.pdf

[via NC]

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