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"Neoliberalism"...

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I've heard this term being used in debate a lot (sometimes being in a bad connotation), but I don't really know what it means...

 

I've heard that it is similar to imperialism, but if someone could expand on that it would be nice.

 

I hear it's good to know when you get into some critical debates.

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neoliberalism means deregulated, free market competition. Critics of neolib or globalization claim that the Washington Consensus (IMF, World Bank, FTAs, etc) ends up impoverishing developing nations, especially in Latin America and Africa. This critique is generally dismissed outside of socialist/Marxist circles as demonstrably wrong due to more than three decades of statistics showing the decline of global poverty alongside globalisation.

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neoliberalism means deregulated, free market competition. Critics of neolib or globalization claim that the Washington Consensus (IMF, World Bank, FTAs, etc) ends up impoverishing developing nations, especially in Latin America and Africa. This critique is generally dismissed outside of socialist/Marxist circles as demonstrably wrong due to more than three decades of statistics showing the decline of global poverty alongside globalisation.

 

Alright thanks for that, know I realize how the Zizek K makes sense (if any, at all...)

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Neoliberalism is a doctrine emphasizing LIBERALizing international economies - that is, removing regulations on them. Traditionally, states use tariffs (taxes on goods from other countries) and subsidies (tax breaks for companies within the mother country's borders) in order to keep home-grown industries strong. Taxes on foreign goods + tax breaks on domestic goods = more people buy domestic goods. More people buy domestic goods = more domestic companies make money. More domestic companies make money = more people get hired by those companies. With me so far?

 

Neoliberalists argue that these tariffs and subsidies (and various other economic tools to accomplish similar goals) are bad, overall, since they inhibit the efficiency of the market. If somebody is choosing between a Ford and a BMW, and they cost the same amount, they'll take the BMW, of course. Those tariffs and subsidies can make the Ford cost half as much, though, and so Joe Carbuyer buys the Ford. But at the end of the day, this is inefficient - he is getting a worse car than he should, say the neoliberalists.

 

So, in order to convince governments to stop using tariffs and subsidies, neoliberal doctrine calls for various international organizations and groups, like the WTO, IMF, and World Bank, who do various things to make convince nations to remove trade restrictions. For instance, the IMF might offer a $80 billion loan to Argentina if Argentina is in a bind because it's economy is collapsing - but only if the Argentinian government removes all tariffs and subsidies. This is why some people (erroneously, if you ask me) call it imperialist: The IMF forces countries, or so the story goes, to follow economic policies that other, more developed nations like. This is the Marxist view that a lot of scholars (typically not economists) take. The IMF, after all, doesn't require that countries accept the loan. And it seems fairly reasonable for the IMF to demand certain reforms in order to give a loan - banks do the same thing all the time. If your Crazy Uncle Ernie the Coke Addict came and asked you for $5,000 because he was in a bind, you'd say "Slow down, Uncle Ernie - you can't spend this on coke." The IMF (and other neoliberal institutions) do similar stuff - they are entirely voluntary. Imperialists counter that developing nations - or Ernie, to continue the analogy - have no other choice. But if you ask me, throwing money at a broken economy isn't going to fix things any more than giving your Uncle Ernie more money to feed his addiction.

 

There are plenty of critics of neoliberalism who aren't Marxists who still argue that it's economically harmful, though, and they might have a point. Friedrich von Hayek wrote a good article about it somewhere a few decades ago, explaining that economic liberalization helps industrialized nations disproportionately, strengthening their lead over less developed nations. That's how Britain became an economic superpower, according to von Hayek - carefully applied tariffs and subsidies strengthened domestic British industries until they were stronger than competition overseas, and at that point the British started promoting free trade, which sealed their advantage by expanding the market for vastly superior British industries.

 

Strictly speaking, Synergy is still correct, that global poverty declines as markets liberalize internationally. However, this data is problematic: these studies often fail to control for other factors commonly present in liberalizing economies, like healthy foreign investment, democratization, domestic liberalization of the market, and so on. And, while poverty decreases, other indicators can decrease, like GNP (production by industries owned by the country itself, as opposed to production by industries operating within the country), and these increases in wealth can be significantly outpaced by increases in developed countries, so that the 3rd world can still be falling behind.

 

There are other criticisms too. Human rights activists and environmentalists don't like the removal of workplace and environmental regulations that's often associated with neoliberalism. Realists complain that we shouldn't engage in trade since it opens us up to dirty floats, price gouges, and other nasty tricks by other nations who are presumably out to get us.

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here's a typical neolib bad card:

 

 

 

http://americas.irc-online.org/am/2965

 

Neoliberalism expresses the interests of big capital concentrated in the giant monopolistic corporations. Based on the thinking of neoclassic economics, it proposes reduction of the state including eliminating or privatizing many public services, public sector workers, and government housing, education, food, and health programs. In recent decades, the U.S. government and its allies have promoted globalization under neoliberal principles and “free trade” economic policies and imposed them on the nations of the world mainly through the international agencies under their control—the IMF and the World Bank—as a supposed panacea for all social problems.

World Bank and IMF structural adjustment programs have devastated Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean over the last 20 years. Promoting privatization, fiscal austerity, deregulation, market liberation, and the cutting back of the state, these programs have increased and globalized poverty, migration, unemployment, and temporary work contracts, and produced extremely polarized income and living conditions across the world to the benefit of big capital.

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So this type of kritik can be run on the neg AND the aff (depending on what they run?)

Absolutely - although it's almost always a kritik of neoliberalism. A neoliberalism good advantages is more commonly known as a free trade good advantage.

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Absolutely - although it's almost always a kritik of neoliberalism. A neoliberalism good advantages is more commonly known as a free trade good advantage.

 

funny how the ipr aff can claim both neolib bad and free trade good

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When discussing the intricacies of international relations theories, drawing contrasts is among the most helpful tools of analysis.

 

Most of us understand the basics of realism and some of its many variants. There are a seemingly limitless number of realist theories (structural, classical, radical, strong, weak, defensive, offensive, neorealism, neoclassical realism, minimual, etc.) but all of them tend to share a few core assumptions. Mearshiemer isolates five such assumptions about the international system. He says that the international system exists in a state of anarchy, that it is populated by states which have offensive military capability, are uncertain of the intentions of other states, are survival motivated, and act strategically.

 

Neoliberalism shares all five of these assumptions, and also holds that states are the primary actors in IR, states act in accordance with perceived national interest, that power is important, and that international cooperation is possible. But, it is at the role of international cooperation that the two diverge.

 

Neoliberalism is also called liberal institutionalism. In this context, an institution is a normalizing rule or practice. These institutions are embodied in organizations. Free trade is an institution which is embodied in the World Trade Organization. Realist theories and neoliberalism disagree on the roles of institutions and the reasons states participate in them.

 

Realism holds that states are the primary actors in the international system – primary almost to the point of excluding any other actor. From a realist point of view, the international system penalizes states if the fail in their obligation to protect their own vital interests, or if they pursue objectives beyond their means. That is, states have a sensitivity to cost, and the international anarchy is the principle force shaping state behaviors. States are therefore preoccupied with power and security, predisposed to conflict and competition, and often manage to fail at cooperation in the face of common interests. Therefore, international institutions (and the organizations that embody them) can brighten the prospects for cooperation only marginally.

 

Neoliberalism holds that while states are the primary actors in the international system, institutions (and organizations) also play a key role in shaping state behaviors. Neoliberals believe that institutions/organizations are independent forces shaping cooperation. They think that international cooperation is easier with institutions than it is without them, because states are interest-maximizing rational actors and institutions promote community values. Further, neoliberals believe that states aren’t interested in just relative gains, but in absolute gains – interests are not, as realists believe, zero sum. Mutual benefits are therefore easier to believe in from a neoliberal perspective than a realist one. As a result of all of this, many neoliberal theorists believe that the age of the independent state is over or ending; that interdependence means that a state can’t act aggressively without endangering itself. Therefore, the concept of “international interest” can/should/has-already-begun-to replace “national interest” in the decisionmaking calculus of states.

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the neolib k says that the aff will cause the African economy to liberalize trade which cause them to be exploited

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Here's an extremely generic foriegn aid link that you can use for a neoliberalism K. But for others, you might want to think of something else. A good link is if you ask them in cross-ex if they are using the US dollar, which you can find a lot about how it's neoliberal.

 

 

Current aid to Africa is generated by a confluence of strategic and economic goals. Interest overwhelm any benefits from obstensibly altruistic aid policy.

 

 

David Sogge- Harvard graduate and former international aid worker. 2002

Sogge- works as a self-employed analyst in the aid industry. He holds degrees from Harvard, Princeton and the Institute of Social Studies. Since 1970 he has held staff positions in American, Canadian and Dutch private aid agencies and has carried out many dozens of evaluation and policy development assignments for multi-lateral, bilateral and private aid agencies and for policy activist organizations.- Give and Take: What’s the Matter with Foreign Aid?- p. 41-43

Rarely has one compelling drive been pre-eminent, although victory in the Cold War was clearly the dominant purpose in the aid regime's first four decades. Assigning a single motivation to the aid regime would be absurd. Aid's motives are always mixed. Hence the risks of incoherence - the frustration of some aims by their aims - are always high. The mix changes over time, and varies between donors. Small trading nations will pursue a mix of aims different from those of a continental super-power. The useful question, then, is: what motives predominate? Aid specialists have probed the matter and commonly locate motives in three clusters. STRATEGIC SOCIO-POLITICAL MOTIVES Short-term Abroad, to reward and keep a client 'on side' politically duringnegotiations, wars or other crises; to defuse public protest and insurrection; to provide a base for intelligence-gathering; to influence decision-making in international fora. At home, to reward or retain loyalty of ethnic/political constituencies, to be seen to be 'doing something' during a crisis. Longer-term Abroad, to gain regular access to and loyalty of leadership at the receiving end; to win or deepen acceptance of a doctrine or model of development; to reinforce a country's place in a larger economic, political and military system, to stabilize economic or demographic trends in a country or region in order to stem unwanted effects such as terrorism and migration; in international institutions, to set and steer economic and political agendas. At home, to consolidate political support of voter and contributor constituencies, particularly the private sector, but also those with ethnic ties to aid recipients. MERCANTILE MOTIVES Short-term Abroad, to seize market opportunities.At home, to promote interests of a sector of business and related employment; to improve the lender/donor's balance of payments; to assure the solvency of creditor banks, public or private. • Longer-term Abroad, to win, expand, protect trade and investment opportunities, including strategic access to raw materials and cheap labour; to shape and stabilize North-South economic roles and hierarchies; in international institutions, to win and stabilize adherence to economic rules. At home, to consolidate and protect economic sectors. HUMANITARIAN AND ETHICAL MOTIVES • Short-term To show concern and compassion for victims of war, upheaval and natural catastrophes; • Longer-term Abroad, to demonstrate concern about poverty, human rights abuse including the human rights of women; to compensate for damages. At home, to show solidarity with a particular country or group, to claim the high moral ground. Discussions of what motives actually drive aid frequently get clouded by talk about what should drive it. Debates about it can evoke public displays of doubt or pride about national character and power. Are we a generous people? Are we puffing our weight in the world? A study of how Dutch, Belgian and British politicians talked about their nations' foreign aid roles in the period 1975-90 reveals much about national self-regard. Dutch rhetoric shows a self-image of 'The Activist': aid should be used to advance social justice, development and stability. Belgian politicians, by contrast, talked about their country's interests in terms of 'The Merchant': aid should benefit the domestic and international market. In British parliamentary debates, the dominant role conception was that of a 'Power Broker': aid should support friendly governments and advance British power and influence.' Greater solidarity at home can mean greater beneficence abroad. Strong political commitments to domestic welfare, as in Nordic countries, are associated with strong aid performance, measured both by quantity (aid spending as a proportion of national income) and by quality (proportion of aid aimed at poverty reduction). Weak commitments to domestic welfare, as in the USA, coincide with weak aid quantity and quality.' Some have argued that the Western foreign aid regime arises from ethical and humanitarian motives.' Certainly moral concerns influence conventional talk about aid, especially talk for the public at large. The World Bank's corporate motto since the late 1990shas been: 'Our dream is a world free of poverty’. But does donor practice match this talk? A team of researchers has probed the determinants of aid-giving behaviour, comparing US, French, Japanese and Swedish bilateral aid flows to Africa in the 1980s.They looked at how these donors distributed their aid according to recipient countries' strategic importance, economic potential for the donor, and humanitarian need. The results pour cold water on the notion that humanitarianism drives foreign aid. Ideology and the pursuit of commercial advantage are the main determinants.

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