This is how it is defined:
The neoliberal agenda—a label used more by critics than by the architects of the policies—rests on two main planks. The first is increased competition—achieved throWorldugh deregulation and the opening up of domestic markets, including financial markets, to foreign competition.
The second is a smaller role for the state, achieved through privatization and limits on the ability of governments to run fiscal deficits and accumulate debt.
Neoliberal policies have become all the rage over the last 30 years, says the study, but that has led to “increased inequality”, which in turn has jeopardised “durable expansion” of the economy.
Along with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund has been famously called a ‘puppet’ of the ‘neoliberal onslaught’ for years.
Even the word ‘neoliberal’ has become a derogatory term, encapsulating the excesses of capitalism.
So it’s a bigger surprise when the IMF paper was written by three of its top economists and published to its main magazine.
The paper reaches three conclusions which it calls “disquieting”:
• The benefits in terms of increased growth seem fairly difficult to establish when looking at a broad group of countries.
• The costs in terms of increased inequality are prominent. Such costs epitomize the trade-off between the growth and equity effects of some aspects of the neoliberal agenda.
• Increased inequality in turn hurts the level and sustainability of growth.
Fairly obvious stuff to most people on the Left, but pretty controversial coming from the high priestess of neoliberalism.
What took them so long to get it?