Neoliberalism is a term for different social and economic ideas. Originally the term was used by a group of liberals who helped shape social market economy in the mid 20th century. Neoliberalism is characterized by free market trade, deregulation of financial markets, mercantilism and the shift away from state welfare provision.
Alexander Rustow was the first economist to develop this concept, looking after a Social Democracy system rather than a Laissez Faire Capitalist Society.
Characteristics of Neoliberalism[change | change source]
In the application of neoliberal ideals, the state might also intervene and regulate, for example, to prevent exploitation, or to ensure social fairness and equality.
Neoliberalism is antithetical to the protection of group - rather than individual - interests, for example, that might be achieved through lobbying of groups, or state interventions that protect national interests via tariffs or subsidies.
Neoliberalism has moved away from a centrally governed economy.
Contemporary use[change | change source]
Since the 1990s the term has been consistently used in academia to imply the move from welfare state to laissez faire economic management, particularly associated with the promotion of free market ideals in the late 1980s by Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US.
Examples of neoliberal regimes of Government[change | change source]
- Social market economy in Germany under Ludwig Erhard
- Chile under Augusto Pinochet
- Great Britain under Margaret Thatcher
- New Zealand under David Lange
- The United States of America under Ronald Reagan and every subsequent presidential administration, both Democratic and Republican.
- Australia under Bob Hawke and Paul Keating