Red Revolution is delighted to present the third article from David McCulloch to support the release of his new e-book, The Real Miracle of Neoliberalism.
David, who contributed heavily to our coverage of the questions raised by over voting irregularities at the last election has written three pieces to accompany the release, the first of which can be read Here and the second Here. This is the final article.
An explanation of Neoliberalism in plain English. This book asks some fundamental questions: What is Neoliberalism, and why is it important to our lives? Is it miraculous because it has enhanced world prosperity? Or does its miracle hide in the success of its propaganda, to the extent that many poorer people feel compelled to vote for the rich to have more? After examining the history of Neoliberalism and its effect, including a detailed discussion of Britain, how does it fulfil our immediate needs of dealing with a pandemic and offsetting global warming?
Neoliberalism: Replacing Neoliberalism?
Neoliberalism has increased the level of inequality of both income and wealth, which has discredited its suggestion of a meritocracy. Although some countries have been lifted from poverty in the global economy, others have suffered higher unemployment and a reduction in living standards. There is also regional disparity in some countries, as skilled industries are replaced with lower-skilled jobs.
Research shows real examples of such growth. In 2017, the chief executives of the UK’s biggest listed companies were on average awarded an 11 per cent pay increase compared with an average 2 per cent rise to workers over the same period, pushing their median remuneration to £3.93 million. In the United States, the pay-rise gap was wider still. The average chief executive of the 350 largest firms received an eye-watering $18.9 million, a 17.6 per cent increase on 2016, while the typical workers’ salary barely shifted. The principle of ‘trickle-down’ has also been discredited, with at least one plutocrat openly admitting that it was always a myth.
The ‘deregulation of financial services, alongside a fiat currency, has led economists to distinguish between the real economy and the purely financial one. Financial instruments such as derivatives (which were instrumental in causing the financial crash of 2007-8) build complexity and encourage speculation, bringing increased risk.
A central tenet of Neoliberalism is the pursuit of self-interest. This is so essential to the political philosophy of many capitalist countries that any movement towards social responsibility is discredited as removing the incentive to work, or even falsely labelled as a move towards Marxism or communism. The fact that many countries thrive on social democracy is conveniently ignored. While the argument that sponsoring such self-interest is causing capitalism to kill the planet is conveniently suppressed.
In Chile – the first country to implement Neoliberalism – there is mass dissent, With 1% of people controlling its wealth, it is said to have the highest university fees in the world and 20% unemployment. Meanwhile people are working longer and can’t afford to retire, after being forced into taking private pension plans that have proved inadequate. The protesters in Chile see the start point as recouping their democracy through a new constitution, delivered through a people’s assembly. Also in France the gilets jaunes (the yellow jackets, or yellow vests) have been protesting since October 2018. A protest that has extended to rail against Neoliberal policies in general, including the erosion of workers’ rights.
The experience in Chile highlights two essential facts: first we need to discover the truth; and secondly we need political reform to deliver a better solution.
As human beings we are social animals, and our very survival has depended on cooperation. This is particularly relevant in combating global warming and fighting a pandemic. In such an emergency we need to pull together, rather than rewarding the pursuit of profit through self-interest. In a faux democracy that supports Neoliberalism, a disaster capitalist will never let a good crisis go to waste. Add to that a complicit media, and change won’t happen
So what will it take to change a system based on self-interest and competition, which fails to promote the well-being of the majority, and even fails to protect our continued existence? Will countries continue to protect Neoliberalism through propaganda? Or by ‘keeping a lid’ on dissent, or even by force? Will reform, to firstly install real democracy, prevail in delivering a suitable solution such as a regulated balanced economy? Or will it take pitchforks to deliver change?
After retiring from full-time work as a systems manager, David qualified in business studies and devotes time to photography and writing on topics of social interest. The Real Miracle of Neoliberalism is his first book.
The eBook The Real Miracle of Neoliberalism by David McCulloch is available on-line from various stores at https://books2read.com/u/mKz9YZ and is priced just $2.99