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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. Today, this term is mostly used by trade unionists as well as people who are critical of the ideas of globalisation.

The ideas were developed by the economists Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Wilhelm Röpke, Walter Eucken, Milton Friedman and others. They were first presented at a conference in 1938.

What do neoliberals want?[change | change source]

Neoliberals want a free market economy, with everything it stands for (private property of the means of production, the freedom for the market price to establish itself, the freedom of everyone to do what they want, etc.). They see however, that in some cases the freedom of the market fails or it does not yield the results wanted. In such cases, the state should intervene. The main focus of the state should therefore be measures to regulate the following:

Neoliberals are against lobbying of groups, state interventions that aim to protect national interests, like protective tariffs or subsidies. Neoliberalism is also against a centrally governed economy, and frowns upon the laissez-faire of classical Liberalism.

Later interpretation[change | change source]

The term was re-invented by Charles Peters of the Washington Monthly, to mean a half-way position between the original American liberalism and the welfare state.[1]

Examples of neoliberal forms of Government[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bullock A. & Trombley S. (eds) 1999. The new Fontana dictionary of modern thought. London: Harper/Collins, p572/3.