Article: “The Terror of Neoliberalism: Rethinking the Significance of Cultural Politics” (Giroux)

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“The Terror of Neoliberalism: Rethinking the Significance of Cultural Politics” by Henry A. Giroux, College Literature, 32.1 Winter 2005, p1-19, published by West Chester Library

“Wedded to the belief that the market should be the organizing principle for all political, social, and economic decisions, neoliberalism wages an incessant attack on democracy, public goods, and non-commodified values” (2)

“citizenship has increasingly become a function of consumerism and politics has been restructured as ‘corporations have been increasingly freed from social control through deregulation, privatization, and other neoliberal measures’ (Tabb 2003, 153)” (2)

“Corporations more and more design not only the economic sphere but also shape legislation and policy affecting all levels of government, and with limited opposition” (2)

“Neoliberalism has to be understood within a larger crisis of vision, meaning, education, and political agency” (3)

“Under the reign of neoliberalism, capital and wealth have been largely distributed upwards, while civic virtue has been undermined by a slavish celebration of the free market as the model for organizing all facets of everyday life” (4)

“Civic engagement now appears impotent as corporations privatize public space and disconnect power from issues of equity, social justice, and civic responsibility. Financial investments, market identities, and commercial values take precedence over human needs, public responsibilities, and democratic relations. Proceeding outside of democratic accountability, neoliberalism has allowed a handful of private interests to control as much of social life as possible in order to maximize their personal profit” (5-6)

“With its debased belief that profit-making is the essence of democracy and its definition of citizenship as an energized plunge into consumerism, neoliberalism eliminates government regulation of market forces, celebrates a ruthless competitive individualism, and places the commanding political, cultural, and economic institutions of society in the hands of powerful corporate interests” (8)

“Neoliberal global policies also further the broader cultural project of privatizing social services” (8)

“[Neoliberalism] is an economic and implicitly cultural theory – a historical and socially constructed ideology that needs to be made visible, critically engaged, and shaken from the stranglehold of power it currently exercises over most of the commanding institutions of national and global life” (12)


A Brief History of Neoliberalism (Harvey)

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Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Print.

Just a series of quotations from the book as a whole – anything and everything that could relate to my thesis!

  • “Increasingly freed from the regulatory constraints and barriers that had hitherto confined its field of action, financial activity could flourish as never before, eventually everywhere. A wave of innovations occurred in financial services to produce not only far more sophisticated global interconnections but also new kinds of financial markets based on securitization, derivatives, and all manner of futures trading. Neoliberalization has meant, in short, the financialization of everything” (33)
  • “The neoliberal state should persistently seek out internal reorganizations and new institutional arrangements that improve its competitive position as an entity vis-a-vis other states in the global market” (65)
  • Developmental states become consistent with neoliberalization to the degree that they facilitate competition between firms, corporations, and territorial entities and accept the rules of free trade and rely on open export markets. But they are actively interventionist in creating the infrastructures for a good business climate. Neoliberalization therefore opens up possibilities for developmental states to enhance their position in international competition by developing new structures of state intervention” (72)
  • “The state typically produces legislation and regulatory frameworks that advantage corporations, and in some instances specific interests such as energy, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, etc” (77)
  • “the neoliberal state needs nationalism of a certain sort to survive. Forced to operate as a competitive agent in the world market and seeking to establish the best possible business climate, it mobilizes nationalism in its effort to succeed. Competition produces ephemeral winners and losers in the global struggle for position, and this in itself can be a source of national pride or of national soul-searching” (85)
  • “To begin with, most states that have taken the neoliberal turn have done so only partially — the introduction of greater flexibility into labour markets here, a deregulation of financial operations and embrace of monetarism there, a move towards privatization of state-owned sectors somewhere else” (87)
  • “Competition between territories (states, regions or cities) as to who had the best model for economic development or the best business climate was relatively insignificant in the 1950s and 1960s. Competition of this sort heightened in the more fluid and open systems of trading relations established after 1970. The general progress of neoliberalization has therefore been increasingly impelled through mechanisms of uneven geographical developments” (87)
  • “First,  the turn to more open financialization that began in the 1970s accelerated during the 1990s. Foreign direct investment and portfolio investment rose rapidly throughout the capitalist world” (90)
  • “Secondly, there was the increasing geographical mobility of capital. This was in part facilitated by the mundane but critical fact of rapidly diminishing transport and communications costs” (92)
  • “But perhaps the most interesting aspect of neoliberalization arises out of the complex interplay of internal dynamics and external forces” (117)
  • “…neoliberalization has broadly failed to stimulate worldwide growth” (154) –> yet India and Hungary simply took up aspects of this and integrated them into already strongly capitalistic central government systems
  • “Only in East and South-East Asia, followed now to some extent by India, has neoliberalization been associated with any positive record of growth, and there the not very neoliberal developmental states played a very significant role” (154)
  • “The neoliberal state  also redistributes wealth and income through revisions in the tax code to benefit returns on investment rather than incomes and wages, promotion of regressive elements in the tax code (such as sales taxes), the imposition of user fees (now widespread in rural China), and the provision of a vast array of subsidies and tax breaks to corporations” (164)