Neoliberal Capitalism

1. Neoliberal Capitalism has long roots in : Colonialism, mercantilism, wild unregulated capitalism and free market economics. Today's neoliberal capitalist economics have been called 'Disaster Capitalism', 'Hyper-capitalism', ‘Capitalism with the Gloves Off’, 'Casino Capitalism' and 'Zombie Economics'. The global financial crash of 2007/8 should still be fresh in the minds of everyone around the planet because most economists are predicting it will happen again, probably soon. Among the adherents of neoliberal capitalism it is a theology and fundamentalist belief system. Its 'Holy Land' is in the USA where the crook Trump and his toxic tribe (more here) are currently 'leading' the neoliberal destruction of anything that was social and communal about American society. Trump has mixed his own fascism into this and is aggressively pushing forward neoliberal fascism. This needs to be urgently highlighted and recognised because he and it are very dangerous for the USA and the world. There are thousands more who are just as bad as him in the USA, and in other parts of the world. To these people 'Greed is Good' - the planet and its people do not matter.

2. One notable critic of this system is the former US bank regulator and criminologist Prof. Bill Black. He was responsible for aiding prosecutors during America's savings and loans crisis of the 1980s. In 2005 he pointed out a simple truth with the title of his book : 'The Best Way To Rob a Bank Is To Own One'. His explanation of why this is true was exactly borne out by the 2007/8 global financial crisis, which started in the U.S. mortgage savings and loans industry and quickly spread to US banks and then globally as Banks everywhere were found to be involved in these gargantuan frauds. These were big international frauds which had been the normalised way of doing business in the global banking industry. Banks suddenly realised they could not trust each other (Note : Millions of us already knew they were untrustworthy !) and stopped lending to each other, causing the massive global credit crisis. Their friends in governments made sure that the Banks received massive bail-outs paid for by the public, while publics around the world lost - big time. This has resulted since 2008 in a massive shift of global wealth from billions of ordinary citizens to the executives and CEOs of financial institutions (see paragraphs 9 and 10 below).

3. As a result of the 2007/8 financial crisis around the world some Banks went bust, and many Banks were saved only by $trillions of public money 'bail outs'. Some governments fell. Also, billions of people in many nations have been made poor, millions of jobs and incomes have been lost, long term economic insecurity has increased, people's futures have been robbed, public services cut and social welfare 'safety nets' (where there were any) have been reduced or completely removed. Of course, neoliberal politicians refused to face up to the reality that their neoliberal capitalist policies were (and still are) a massive fraud on the public. Instead, these politicians seized on the false ideology of ‘Austerity’, claiming that citizens must now accept the loss of their public services in order for their countries to try and survive the vast gifts of public money given by politicians in bailouts to the financial sector.

4. Bill Black's words are completely borne out, not only by what happened in the crisis, but also by the continuing psychopathic greed and bad behaviour of the global financial sector - assisted by their political friends in governments around the world. Black would like to see many more people in the financial sector prosecuted for what went wrong in the run up to the financial crisis. So would we. We would also like to see politicians prosecuted. But politicians have not been keen to introduce new laws that could help the prosecution of themselves and their friends in finance. So, the next crisis may be just around the corner. If you want to understand how appalling this really is you can watch this short video (from The Real News Network, 2010) of Bill Black explaining how our rotten economies are in the hands of 'psychopaths and sociopaths'. The video is called 'To Rob a Country, Own a Bank'.

5. At the rotten core of today's global neoliberal economy is the fact that all of our societies are now subject to the whims, vagaries and risks of this colossal gambling, speculation and fraud. This is done on a second-by-second and hour-by-hour basis in the global financial markets and elsewhere. This 'casino' system was put in place by the government policies of Reagan (in the USA from 1978) and Thatcher (in the UK from 1979). These two countries are the main global proponents of neoliberalism and (as we said above) the USA is its 'Holy Land' - with people like Trump as its natural result. Neoliberalism was embedded in these two economies throughout the 1980s and onwards. Its proponents claimed that this would 'free up' the financial industry from 'unnecessary' regulation. The USA and the UK (Britain) 'sold' this neoliberal belief system to other countries and international bodies and it has been ruining whole economies and billions of people's lives across the world since then. In the USA Trump and his toxic tribe (his many millionaire and billionaire supporters) have been enriched greatly by this (more here).

6. Now that neoliberal capitalism is the dominant global economic system most of the world's economies no longer exist to serve society's needs. The logic has been turned around. Societies (and our only planet) now exist only to serve the greed of the super-rich and the corporations. The fates of whole societies have been (and remain) at the mercy of this global capitalist 'Casino' with all its second-by-second financial instability, volatility and unpredictability. Politicians in many countries have handed over democracies to the rule of money markets which are in the hands of psychopaths and sociopaths, as Bill Black said in the video (above).
Just like any Casino, its the 'Croupiers' who rake in the profits. These are the financial speculators, hedge fund managers, bankers, ratings agencies, etc. Political leaders have made sure that the public are forced to 'bail out' the wrong-doers, the bankers, speculators, criminals, crooks and 'Croupiers'. Since the 2007/8 crisis the latter have been allowed to carry on in the same way, unpunished for their enormous crimes. At the same time, ordinary people from poverty-stricken or other disadvantaged backgrounds are often jailed for comparatively minor misdemeanours. The way the big economic crimes are not being dealt with is the opposite of Justice.

7. Over the past four decades this badly flawed economic system of neoliberalism has been embedded deeply into the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, EU, ASEAN, World Trade Organisation, the World Economic Forum and many other global economic policy 'leaders'. Each of these has been very active in forcing this economic dystopia on numerous other countries, especially those seeking aid to develop. For most of its adherents (including politicians, political parties, most of the press and media - example here) neoliberalism has become a theology and a fundamentalist belief system – no other possibilities or alternatives are tolerated by them. Despite the most recent global financial crash little or nothing has been done to change the system, so more big problems are inevitable. Remember the Golden Rule : Those who have the gold make the rules...

8. Like other fundamentalisms, neoliberalism is extremely dangerous. It is heavily implicated in many of the current Global Concerns which we highlight here. In less than one lifetime neoliberalism has brought our planet to the edge of catastrophe – and the race towards the abyss is quickening.
Neoliberalism is now the dominant economic philosophy of the rich and powerful - nations, corporations and individuals. It has been spread under the influence of the USA and UK, first to a few other powerful nations, then through them and into international bodies and to many more countries. It now dominates international policy bodies. It has even been adopted, as the preferred model for parts of the Chinese economy, which is now trying to be a strange hybrid of hyper-capitalism and communism. Despite its obvious problems, Chinese communism has been more successful at lifting tens of millions of its citizens out of poverty over the past four decades than any other country - without any help from capitalism. But do the Chinese realise that by opening up to neoliberal capitalism they have now allowed the ideology of psychopaths and sociopaths to worm its way deep into the chinese economy ? And what will be the consequences ?

9. Largely as a result of neoliberal economic policies being 'globalised', since the 1980s there has been widening inequality (more here). Below are just four indicators of what is happening :

• In 2015, just 62 individuals had the same wealth as 3.6 billion people – the bottom half of humanity. This figure is down from 388 individuals as recently as 2010.

• The wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44% in the five years since 2010 – it's increased by more than half a trillion dollars ($542bn), to $1.76trillion.

• Meanwhile, the wealth of the bottom half of the global population fell by just over a trillion dollars in the same period – a drop of 41%.

• Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth, while 50% of that increase has gone to the top 1%.

10. So, in the neoliberal countries more and more people have been falling into poverty (e.g. having to rely on food handouts or food banks provided by charities) or becoming homeless, while the wealthiest (e.g. bankers, corporate executives, hedge fund managers, speculators - all the economic criminals, etc) have continued to see their incomes and assets increasing by very large amounts.

11. Neoliberalism has left many 'developing' countries exploited, robbed and devastated. Many of these are now economic wrecks, despite being rich in natural resources. Here is one example - from many around the world. Having become independent from their colonial masters in the
twentieth century many countries are now locked into 'Corporate Colonialism'. Its extremely damaging and they may only be able to 'survive' at an abject level of poverty and with guaranteed social destruction. All this, to feed the greed of the big corporations and the small minority of already super-rich in the 'developed' countries. This is just one result of neoliberal capitalism.

Below, we list some of the economic features of neoliberalism. Do you recognise some of these in your own society ?

• Promoting and fostering an ideology of ‘Market fundamentalism’ – seeing global and national 'Free Markets' and ‘laissez faire’ that is : gambling in financial, currency, commodity and futures markets as the primary foundation of the global economy and the only allowable (but disastrous) approach to societal needs

• Helping businesses and corporations to become 'free' from the state and from regulations, to do as they wish – regardless of the damage they do to the people and planet

• Increasing vast consumption in rich countries (through massive marketing and advertising budgets - i.e. propaganda) whilst laying waste to the planet by the extraction of natural resources and destruction of local and national communities, especially in poor countries

• Reducing taxes on businesses and corporations and leaving tax ‘flexibilities’ or loopholes for them to exploit and abuse for their own benefit at the cost of many societies

• Reducing the state’s tax collection activities, with reduced action against crimes such as tax abuse by the rich and by corporations

• Fostering and celebrating wealth and capital accumulation for a tiny minority : the rich and corporations

• Reducing state services to an absolutely minimal level or nothing at all

• Reducing state influence on the economy, including by abolishing state bodies or reducing their role

• Deregulating economic and business activities, notably : global capital flows and markets, and many financial sector activities, turning the global economy over to speculators - and giving the world 'Disaster Capitalism' and 'Casino Capitalism' with all of its catastrophic effects - this is pure Zombie Economics

• Deregulating by repealing and removing laws, statutes and regulations that were made to safeguard societies, communities, people and our only planet, but which are unpopular with businesses and corporations,

• Allowing voluntary supervision (of themselves) by industries to replace regulation by the state (and calling this ‘light-touch’ regulation)

• Removing or lowering trade barriers and fostering globalised trading which drives more and more economies in a global 'race to the bottom' destroying the lives of people everywhere

• Handing over state bodies and public services (by privatisation) to profit-seeking businesses, for example : Health, education, pensions, housing, water, utilities, transport and many other services that are fundamental to people's lives

• Selling off state assets and services to the private sector at low prices, depriving whole populations of state assets which they need and which their taxes have paid, over generations, to develop

• Using public money to subsidise certain private sector industries and activities (e.g nuclear power stations, military activities and weapons research) and not others (e.g. health services, community and housing development for homeless people)

• Cutting funding for many central and local public services (e.g. education, health, welfare, pensions, law enforcement, social ‘safety nets’, etc) – under the ideology of ‘Austerity’

• Requiring citizens to pay for deregulated or privatised services that were formerly public services (e.g. higher education, water management, electricity generation & supply, health protection, other utilities, etc)

• Exporting millions of jobs from developed countries to undeveloped countries which have cheap labour, non-unionised workforces, few or no regulations, and dangerous or unhealthy working conditions

• Reducing the rights of workers, labour organisations and trades unions

• Increasingly irrational emphasis on ‘competition’, ‘individualism’, ‘self-reliance’ - all powered by the 'Greed is Good' mentality

• Sowing distrust of ideas such as ‘society’, ‘community’, ‘co-operation, ‘common good’, etc

• Reducing people to ‘Consumers’ (and telling them to think only of 'Me, Me, Me') instead of treating them as fully formed Citizens with full rights and entitlements

• Promoting the fantasy to poorer sections of society that neoliberalism distributes wealth by ‘trickle down’ from the rich, so poorer people could (that's the fantasy) benefit too - at some time in the future, possibly. This is well-proven pure fantasy.