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The Neoliberal Bait and Switch

Posted on Sep 9, 2010

By David Sirota

In simplistic, Lexus-and-Olive-Tree terms, the neoliberal economic argument goes like this: Tariff-free trade policies are great because they increase commerce, and we can mitigate those policies’ negative effects on the blue-collar job market by upgrading our education system to cultivate more science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) specialists for the white-collar sector.

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Known as the bipartisan Washington Consensus, this deceptive theory projects the illusion of logic. After all, if the domestic economy’s future is in STEM-driven innovation, then it stands to reason that trade policies shedding “low-tech” work and education policies promoting high-tech skills could guarantee success.

Of course, 30 years into the neoliberal experiment, the Great Recession is exposing the flaws of the Washington Consensus. But rather than admit any mistakes, neoliberals now defend themselves with yet more bait-and-switch sophistry—this time in the form of the Great Education Myth.

No doubt, you’ve heard this fairy tale from prominent politicians and business leaders who incessantly insist that our economic troubles do not emanate from neoliberals’ corporate-coddling trade, tax and deregulatory policies, but instead from an education system that is supposedly no longer graduating enough STEM experts. Indeed, this was the message of this week’s New York Times story about corporate leaders saying America isn’t producing “enough workers with the cutting-edge skills coveted by tech firms.”

As usual, it sounds vaguely logical. Except, the lore relies on the assumptions that (1) American schools aren’t generating enough STEM supply to meet employer demand, (2) the education system—not neoliberalism—is driving this alleged STEM drought and (3) if America came up with more of such specialists, they would find jobs.

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To know these suppositions are preposterous is to consider a recent study by Rutgers University and Georgetown University that found colleges “in the United States actually graduate many more STEM students than are hired each year.”

That debunks the supply-and-demand canard. But can we still blame the jobs crisis on schools failing to deliver more STEM graduates?

Nope.

As researchers discovered, many students are pursuing finance instead of STEM careers because Wall Street jobs “are higher paying” and offer “employment stability” and “less [susceptibility] to offshoring.”

This is the truth that the Great Education Myth aims to obscure. It’s not that schools are ill-equipped to train STEM specialists. It’s that the additional students who might boost our STEM workforce are choosing to avoid STEM majors because they see an economy that is more hospitable to careers in Wall Street casinos rather than in high-tech innovation—a financialized economy based less on creating tangible assets than on encouraging worthless speculation.

This doesn’t mean that our education system is perfect. But it does mean that without reforming the trade, tax and regulatory policies that reward high-tech outsourcing and incentivize careers in finance, our schools can never be an engine of value-generating information-age jobs.

Why, then, do neoliberals nonetheless press the Great Education Myth? Because it deliberately distracts from a situation that enriches neoliberals and the powerful interests they rely on.

Tariff-free trade pacts inflate the profits of transnational businesses by helping them troll the globe for cheap exploitable labor. Loopholes exempting foreign earnings from taxes encourage companies to move jobs overseas. And both deregulation and bailouts disproportionately balloon financial industry revenues.

The neoliberal corporate class makes big money off this status quo and neoliberal lawmakers get their cut via campaign contributions. The last thing either wants is an honest debate about neoliberalism’s downsides. And so they play to our lust for silver-bullet solutions, endlessly telling us that everything is the schools’ fault.

As mythology goes, it’s certainly compelling. If only the facts didn’t get in the way.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books “Hostile Takeover” and “The Uprising.” He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.

© 2010 Creators.com

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 13, 2010 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

gerryhiles,

What on Earth are you talking about?

This is what I’m talking about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_economics

and

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Praxeology

Noam Chomsky has nothing to do with it, nor do the Whigs.

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By factfinder, September 13, 2010 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

gerryhiles, denial is not refutation. Argumenta ad hominem is not refutation. The very fact that you resort to ad homs is evidence that your position is weak.

The flaw in ‘cogito ergo sum’ is that thinking gives Descartes false evidence that he exists. His thinking is not his existence and the existence Descartes’ thinking introduces him to dependent upon his perceptions of it.  Descartes forgot to consider what he means by ‘existence’. Existence is a chimera of sense perception. Descartes, as a rationalist, sought to move beyond the senses into a deductive mode of inquiry but he forgot that his deductions are, in the end, dependent on sense data. His is a circular argument.

Descartes, like all the rationalists that followed him, including many of today’s scientists, have trapped themselves in an infinite regression as they seek to explain anything.

Finally, your reference to ‘cogito ergo sum’ was intended to show that you can think. Of course, such a conclusion does not follow from your reference. Your assuming that it does is evidence that you do not think but rather, as I originally said, merely parrot what others have said. In this latest case, you have merely parroted Descartes.

As you like adages, here is another for you: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we first practice to deceive.” In your case, you deceive only yourself. Now go look up the quote in wiki.

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By factfinder, September 13, 2010 at 1:11 am Link to this comment

gerryhiles, it is a mistake for you to rely on Wiki articles as sources of truth and wisdom. Those articles all come with the author’s bias. All you have done is to collect biased articles that agree with your own bias and then present the authors as authorities. That won’t fly.

Try doing your own thinking. Of course, this entails examining yourself for bias. Many are not prepared to do this and therefore do not bother with thinking for themselves and rely on the wiki views of others.

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 12, 2010 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

They can’t accept that you can’t have one without the other and capitalism is
not some natural function of humans that does not need a state

The free exchange of goods and services (and thoughts and ideas) is the effect, not the cause of a free society, and it is a natural function of human beings. The state need only protect the freedoms and rights of the individuals in that society. The inviolability of voluntary, private contract from third parties and the private ownership of goods and property are the foundations of free market economics. The relationship between free market economics and Capitalism is open for debate. I often hear the term Capitalism referred to as crony capitalism which is what we have now. It is not a true reflection of what free markets are supposed to be. I can tell you that true free market advocates do not favor government intervention or favoritism on anyone’s behalf. Corporate welfare, perpetual war and discrimination are not functions of a free market.

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By Arraya, September 12, 2010 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

The ‘liberal’ in neo-liberal may confuse, but it is an economic
policy or kindly put an ‘experiment’.
It is staunchly capitalist, in fact fanatically so. Economic theory and political
ideologies often get conflated- such as the one that associates democracy with
capitalism. Democratic socialism is not a contradiction in terms although
democratic capitalism could easily be proven as such, with all the historical
evidence against it

.

The term liberal has changed dramatically over the years.  At least as people
understand it.  The belief in the importance of liberty and equality is the
standard definition and very general.  however, it was captured by the capitalist
theorist around the early 19th century into an economic term for laissez-faire
economics - limited gov and all that right wing jazz.  Interestingly, classical
economics, was originally called the “political economy”.  Were it was
understood that the state was involved with the economy and had to be.  Then
over the years it turned into economics and political science and capitalists
wanted to forget that the state is needed to enforce and propagate capitalism. 
They can’t accept that you can’t have one without the other and capitalism is
not some natural function of humans that does not need a state.  It has to been
enforced via force.  Always has been.

Neoliberalism is laissez-faire’s schizophrenic brother on steroids with a little
keynes and milton freidman thrown in.  Globalization was the attempted spread
of this insanity around the world.  Of course, it has many capitalist detractors
that see the doom on the wall, which blame it’s failure on the state, and want to
return to a much more despised and resisted classical 19th century zero
regulation nonsense.  And now we are at the end of the road for this latest
manifestation of barbarism. Lets hope it dies soon.  Because dragging it out
would be bad for humanity.  I can’t wait to see what is next

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By REDHORSE, September 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

I thought I got it, but most likely FAT FRED is correct. The power players spin it the way that profits them. Both FRED and GERRYHILES make the practical point, that seeing the “real” world and human potential, as opposed to the “ideal”, is where the rubber meets the road. Consistently make payroll in hard economic times, or understand that “finish work” on a house takes a lot more than a willingness to swing a hammer, touches an aspect of American reality brown rice and meditation never will. That’s the realm of actual free enterprise. The kind the “gold sacks” boys prey on.

    Both Clinton and President O. got us by triggering that warm fuzzy, lift-it-into-the-light-of-humanity, we shall easily overcome, daddies home illusion, we all love so well, when we all know (didn’t President Cheney and his puppet teach us), that real politics is a fist in the mouth. Political children that we are, we never want to believe, that the goose steppers would put US in the oven. Kucinich and Nader were just too rough around the edges for the inhabitants of lie lie land. So today, would be, Truman and Eisenhower.

    Feelin’ the HEAT?

    The psychologist Robert Moore out of Chicago tries to remind us that the first sign of a Caligula, is that oh so collegial, chicken in every pot claim of political brotherhood. The Clinton/Rubin Wall Street payoff, NAFTA and the Obama failure to prosecute the most heinous political individuals America ever produced, should have us pumping political iron morning ‘till night.

      I’m not sure we even have political jargon that describes the machinations and affiliations of the marionette baboons that inhabit Washington. First, they lie without compunction or regard to consequence. And, you can only label a liar as a liar. Any other label is capitulation to the lie. Second, how do the words neo-liberal, conservative, Republican or Democrat apply to people who shamelessly pocket money from fascist entities, dismantle the American Constitution, and who, in the face of GCC, an exponential explosion of human population, the imminent failure of natural resources and world financial collapse, redact and obfuscate scientific evidence, while in the name of financial responsibility, after putting nine billon dollars cash on the back of a flatbed truck, and losing it outright, deny help to desperate American workers, as they carp about unfair tax burdens on the rich. All, without batting an eye.

      I’m tired of trying to take irrelevant monkeys seriously. Their failure is so transparent they’re invisible. The only force that stands for America, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the only force that ever has, is us. It’s a brand new World. Stand together or die alone. The choice is yours. Either way, make it count.

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By Fat Freddy, September 12, 2010 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

—a financialized economy based less on creating tangible assets than on encouraging worthless speculation.

What, you mean rent-seeking? Let me pose a question. What causes this? If you go far enough to the right, you will find Hayek and Mises who claim the speculative bubbles are caused by an expansion of credit. If you go far enough to the left, you will find Hyman Minsky, who claims speculative bubbles are caused by an expansion of credit.  Full circle, not a straight line. We linger between left of center and right of center, which is why we have a boom/bust economy based on speculative bubbles. BTW, neither Hayek, Mises, nor Minsky are taught in college classrooms, not even at the PhD level. Hmmm?

This so-called deregulation is not the cause. It is fraud that is not prosecuted that adds fuel to speculative bubbles. Ken Lewis, Dick Fuld, Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon et al, should all be in prison next to Michael Milken and Jeff Skilling, along with the 20 or so at AIG’s FP division. (Well, Milken only did about 2 years.) And don’t forget Charles Keating. The legalization of accounting control fraud allows big banks to over-leverage their assets with made-up money from the Fed, and hide it on off-balance-sheet transactions. If an asset crashes off-balance-sheet, is there anyone there to hear it? Does anyone care, anymore? It can just be rewritten into more bad paper, or paid off by the Fed and Treasury. If this is free market economics, somebody please hit me over the head with a baseball bat, pronto.

In truth, the leading Austrian theorists were big supporters of freedom and liberty. You can’t have freedom if a handful of oligarchs are manipulating the economy without any checks and balances from the law.

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/free-market-not-possible-without-strong-laws-against-fraud

Is the US a Banana Republic? Sure seems that way, except there are no bananas:

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2010/04/banana-republic-with-no-bananas.html

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By MB, September 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another part of this issue is the drama about what happens to workers once they’re hired and then spend valuable career-development time with these employers. The consensus complaint is that the pool of entry-level workers are not up to the task because of the quality of American education (vaguely implied to be at the high school level but can include university level, and I guess elementary school). But low-cost, entry level workers are only desirable for how long? In other words, the majority of workers are older and experienced, which is not necessarily a bad thing except in an age-discriminating culture like ours. So what is the value of the experience earned on the job at these very same companies? Really not much, apparently.

So in addition to the numerous vulnerabilities faced by American workers at companies that capriciously hire & fire at will, many workers face additional burdens of skills atrophying in the same companies that decry the quality of skills available to them in the pool of recent graduates. Many jobs are not worthy of the quality candidates that pass through their doors. But the game in town is limited so many employers actually do capture an excellent workforce, but that’s not the story we hear, the song they sing.

So what happens to workers after they’ve been in jobs for awhile? Even if the employer promises tuition-assistance for college courses, those programs are often designed to be unusable. For example, many companies say they will pay for under-grad but not graduate courses; most will only pay for courses directly related to that industry, often narrowly and subjectively defined. Also, the company can create disincentives for department heads who must sign-off approval on these courses when tuition-reimbursement shows up on reports as additional cost for the department, not as costs absorbed by the company. They also play games about revealing the kinds of skills they’re actually looking for so it can be very unclear about what directions are worth pursuing. The whole thing is is really unbelievable.

American workers have every reason to take these jobs and shove them, except for those little details about food, shelter, and healthcare.

Interesting that blue collar workers were bullied out of good jobs in the 70’s & 80’s by portraying them as limited, uneducated, lacking initiative, and lazy (that is my recollection as a child watching tv news stories about factory closings). But now even college graduates are getting the same bum’s rush. Interesting.

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By moonraven, September 12, 2010 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Not so fast, factfinder.

I am old enough to remember in detail that although Freidman’s Chicago Boys got their start under the wings of Kissiner and Nixon, every single president since Nixon has rode the neoliberal juggernaut as far as he could go with it—including Jimmy Carter!

Neoliberalism has nothing to do with being a republican, as there is a one party system in power in Gringolandia—no difference between Tweedledee and Tweedledum except a few IQ points.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 12, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy—the Wikipedia article isn’t bad.  The ‘liberalism’ part of neoliberalism is the free-market stuff, which is derived from classical liberalism.  The fact that it is more honored in the breach than the observance is also classical, or at least, goes back a long, long way.

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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, September 12, 2010 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

The ‘liberal’ in neo-liberal may confuse, but it is an economic policy or kindly put an ‘experiment’.
It is staunchly capitalist, in fact fanatically so. Economic theory and political ideologies often get conflated- such as the one that associates democracy with capitalism. Democratic socialism is not a contradiction in terms although democratic capitalism could easily be proven as such, with all the historical evidence against it.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 12, 2010 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Neo-Liberals aren’t Liberals. They take the idea of gov’t to help the people and turn it to help business only instead. Gov’t in partnership with certain corporations working together to get what the corporations want. Millionaire & Billionaire special club for them. Socialize losses, privatized profit.

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Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 12, 2010 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

After reading the article, reading the comments, following the links posted here, and doing a little research on my own, I have absolutely no fucking idea what neo-liberalism is. The best I could come up with, is that it is a combination of a few, hand-picked free market ideals, combined with government control and intervention where it suits certain special interests. Those special interests can either be on the right - big corporations, or the left - big labor. It’s like feeding a lion with one hand, and whipping him with the other. So, you end up with a totally paranoid and schizophrenic lion, which is exactly what we have in our economy and financial institutions.

The fact is, at the top, there is no free market, there is only governemnt favoritism. The government “reserves” the “free market” for those in the middle and on the bottom. The question should be, do we want the government favoritism on the bottom and in the middle, or do we want free markets at the top? Liberals want favoritism on the bottom, and libertarians want free markets at the top. The fact is, those at the top have already proven that they can not handle free markets. They even screwed up with government favoritism. So, I have no doubt that totally free markets would bring those at the top, to their knees very quickly. However, favoring those in the middle and bottom, will only prolong the agony.

The fact that both Democrats and Republicans fully support what we have now, contrary to what many of them say, should give you an idea that any change in either direction in our lifetime is probably not going to happen. We can’t even get a complete audit of the Federal Reserve, so we don’t even know where the money is actually going. First, and foremost, we need everybody to ask, in unison, “who got the money”? Well, who did get the money? JPM, BoA, Goldman Sachs? Nobody knows who is getting what from the Fed, and at what interest rate. Any wonder why there is a concentration of wealth? The government can tax the shit out of the wealthy, and give it all to the poor, but the wealthy will just belly-up to the Fed’s discount window for more cheap, easy money.

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By Anarcissie, September 12, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

TongoRad, September 11 at 9:38 pm:

With regards to trying to parse or define what liberal/neo-liberal means, that seems like an academic exercise. ...

I think contempt for analysis is way overrated.

Take a look at the picture just published here.  You would never know from it that the main proponents of imperial war in the 20th century called themselves liberals, and were so called by others.

Contempt for analysis is why you’ve got what you’ve got today.

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By factfinder, September 12, 2010 at 6:12 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt: re   http://i.imgur.com/kGm6C.jpg
and the difference between liberals and conservatives.

I couldn’t have expressed it any better. Congratulations for finding and posting that.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 12, 2010 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

Sounds like people here think “neoliberal” is synonymous with “neo-conservative”, which is “Reagan Republicanism” ramped up a notch to become advocates for modern feudal baronism.

In fact, that’s what’s been the trend since 1981, also called tongue-in-cheek “Boardroom Socialism”, where the wealth is shared among “elite” and not based on merit.  Bush 43’s fortune was made that way. Had his name been George Johnson, a scion of a family of nobodies, he’d still be a broke drunk.

Even Ayn Rand recognized the difference between wealth acquired and wealth earned via merit—it’s key to her ideas.  She wrote of the feudal baron (she chose a maharajah to represent them) who screws a few grains of rice out of thousands of peasants on the brink of starvation to “let those grains gather into gems” as she phrased it in one of her most eloquent sentences.

After 10,000 years of living in “civilization” we’ve learned NOTHING! We still have all the same barons all over the world in EVERY society from the US to North Korea to the Middle East to Central Africa to South East Asia where they “let those grains gather into gems”.

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By unfazed, September 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm Link to this comment

There is a much more grotesque bait and switch that goes on. A good 30% or
more of people have zero *interest* much less aptitude for STEM trainings.
Training is what we call “education.” But it is only and merely a training.

That 30%+ of people with no interest in STEM are people who gravitate into the
fine arts because it is their aptitude and their gift. This culture (our US society)
utterly strangles the life out of the fine arts. The fine arts creates jobs, which if
paid for also creates disposable income that pays into yet more jobs and
businesses. This is utterly ignored and moreover is buried under vicious sneers
and contemptuous disdain. That only results in a mediocrity of society devoid of
culture and that has no soul. Painters and sculptors create jobs.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 11, 2010 at 7:00 pm Link to this comment

Don’t be myopic, plenty of ConservaDems on that same bandwagon that is part of the problem of a locked in two-party system.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

http://i.imgur.com/kGm6C.jpg

“The main difference between liberals and conservatives.”

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By factfinder, September 11, 2010 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

Moon Raven, your references to Friedman, Reagan’s economic advisor, Nixon and NAFTA and demonstrate that neoliberalism is entirely focused on Republicans/conservatives. It has nothing to do with liberals as I have been saying. It is a pleasure to communicate with someone who actually knows what they are talking about - as opposed to all the Republican/neocons here who do not want to admit the disaster that their ideology has inflicted upon the U.S. and the world and who like to try to blame liberals or anyone else for the shortcomings of the Republican greed and self-absorption.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

No Factfinder they are not “my” facts. You have the right to ignore them. Live in your fantasy world but reality has a tendency to trump fiction.

Yes Moonraven the oligarchs have raped the planet and aren’t finished yet. They want the USA to be a total empire, not this half assed kluge of tattered Republic and outer empire. Those of us who don’t like the history both past and present are having a devil of a time stopping it here. If we could just cut off their funding and their power to influence they could be captured and tried for their crimes by those members of the countries they have raped. If we could get out from under this darkness. Humanity is in a bad position.

I’m heartened to see that the yoke of neoliberalism has been weakened in C.& S. America. The oligarchs in the USA are working to take it back using Columbia as their base. Ending the Drug War would go a long way toward cutting off the tentacles of the USA in that area. All indigenous peoples should have the right of nation-states too. A seat at the UN. And we need to change the ability of only 5 countries to control the UN as it does now.

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By TongoRad, September 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

With regards to trying to parse or define what liberal/neo-liberal means, that seems like an academic exercise.
Bottom line, I don’t any mainstream political entity or structure in America today that doesn’t slavishly worship at the altar of free-market fundamentalism.

Welcome to the new feudalism.

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By moonraven, September 11, 2010 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment

Here in Latin America we know ALL about neoliberlism.

It’s a two-step process:

1.  Privatize fuck all, and

2.  Watch the rich get obscenely rich (privatizing Telefonos de Mexico resulted in Carlos Slim being the richest person on the Forbes list—and telephone rates among the highest on the planet, as well as the slowest, most expensive internet service) and the poor becoming obscenely poor.

Neoliberalism was the deadbrainchild of the infamous Milton Freidman—and it was first imposed here after Nixon and Kissinger made the coup in Chile—exactly 37 years ago today.

It swept like a plague of locusts throughout the region, imposed by the IMF and the World Bank:  No open market for gringo products, no loans.

Mexico took it in the shorts several times since the late 80s—privatization of almost all state entities, the nefasta NAFTA, the Error of December and its Tequila Effect, FOBAPROA (the model for the Wall Street and Big Bank bailout was implemented first here in Mexico)—and in short, a devastated economy in all sectors, negative job growth in every sector except the drug cartels, and a lot of folks dodging redneck gringos’ bullets in the Arizona desert.

Fortunately, a few countries finally either hit bottom (Argentina) or came close to it, resulting in the slogan Que se vayan todos and the rise of elected progressive governments who have made their countries’ economies grow, dramatically reduced poverty, kicked out the IMF and the World Bank, and lowered their Gini Coefficients to far less than that of the US.  In the region of the planet with the least equitable distribution of wealth, Venezuela, for example, weighs in with a healthy Gini of .409.  Mexico’s is pushing .50—along with the US.

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By dr wu, September 11, 2010 at 10:31 am Link to this comment

Send all the neo-liberals, the fact-finders and their ilk, to Harvard, where they can major in business and work on Wall street and make gobs of money sitting at their computers all day and gamble,speculate and turn crap into gold on an hourly basis.

These geniuses will soon suffocate the economy—up to their necks in crap, they will abandon their computers and the country will tank. Phoenix like, a new era will emerge—as the city on a hill of crap falls into oblivion and the heirs of Daniel Shays will inherit the earth

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By RayLan, September 11, 2010 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Tariffs are only needed to even out what is loosely referred to as the ‘balance of trade’ - that is exports - imports. If we import at a cost below our export revenues - there is no need for tarrifs - with the slight problem that trade also consists of out-sourced labor. Corporations don’t out-source because the STEM skills are wanting but because foreign labor is CHEAP. Indian H1 visas will work like slaves as programmers just to be in the US. This suits the greedy corporations just fine, while qualified citizens can’t get work. Agreed that the education system in the US sucks - that’s because US culture (for want of a better word) sucks - even the class with champagne bucks have beer tastes.
When your idea of a good time is to go to a sports bar and load up on fatty/fried red meat and watch wide screen vids of men pulverizing each other,or skipping around in satin shorts to sink a ball- why would you take up something hard like math?
Nevertheless there are plenty of qualified home grown techies who can’t get work - because the ‘neo-liberal’ (code for unregulated capitalism) think its’ good for the economy (namely their bank accounts).

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By factfinder, September 11, 2010 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

D.R. Zing, sorry buddy, language changes with time. You note what neoliberalism started out meaning but neglect to notice that liberals repudiated that definition 20 years ago. Even your explanation is confused. First, you claim it refers to liberals, a little later you claim it means, ‘screw you liberals’.

Your last definition, “Neoliberalism in a nutshell means filling the American and International banking systems (Google World Bank and IMF) with people who believe corporations should have all the rights of human beings and human beings who are middle class on down should have all the rights of a corpse in a hole.”, describes Republicans since Ronald Reagan and includes Conservatives such as Margaret Thatcher in the U.K. and fascists such as Augusto Pinochet.

Incidentally, the author believes that ‘neoliberal’ means Republicans/neocons and other brand of rapacious individuals. How do I know this?  I asked him.

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By factfinder, September 11, 2010 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, your facts are just that - your facts. They are not the facts of definition that the author was working with. Nor that I presented here. But, hey, if you want to live your bubble, good luck with that.

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By D.R. Zing, September 10, 2010 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

Shocking as it may seem, I took Mr. Sirota’s advice and looked up neolibaral.

neoliberal
- 2 dictionary results
–noun
an outgrowth of the U.S. liberal movement, beginning in the late 1960s, that modified somewhat its traditional endorsement of all trade unions and opposition to big business and military buildup.

Origin:
neo-  + liberal + -ism

—Related forms
ne·o·lib·er·al, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.
World English Dictionary
neoliberalism  
— n
  a modern politico-economic theory favouring free trade, privatization, minimal government intervention in business, reduced public expenditure on social services, etc

Translation:
It’s a “screw you liberals” definition. Like calling something that poisons the air The Clean Air Act.  Like calling a conservative propaganda machine a Fair and Balanced News Organization.  Like calling Chris Matthews a journalist. 

Neoliberalism in a nutshell means filling the American and International banking systems (Google World Bank and IMF) with people who believe corporations should have all the rights of human beings and human beings who are middle class on down should have all the rights of a corpse in a hole. 

This is not a nice game, my friends. This is not an abstraction.  The Cold War was fought for neoliberalism.  While we were watchng Leave it to Beaver, Bewitched, Three’s Company and The Cosby Show, millions of people all over the globe were slaughtered for neoliberalism.  The entire world has been armed with assault rifles, tanks, RPGs, SAMS, land mines—all the weapons that make any country ungovernable if every pissed off teenager can get one—to make it possible to slaughter any group that opposes neoliberalism.

We invaded Iraq for neoliberalism. It’s no coincidence that assistant whacko Wolfowitz went into the international banking system after he guessed wrong on Iraq. 

Nelson Mandela took over South Africa but could make no significant changes because the IMF and World Bank suckered his inexperienced economic team into loans that effectively prevented Mandela from implementing social reform. 

You can piss and moan all you want about Latino immigrants and jobs going overseas but a lot of it is your own damn fault.  We spent the better half of a century not giving a rat’s petunia about what happened in the rest of the world as long as we had our television and football and pizza and rock-n-roll and movie stars. 

But now neoliberalism requires that they neoliberalize the American middle class, which means chronic high employment, lower wages, and the stifling of human rights. Except in America it is much easier. They don’t have to kill and torture that many people. All they have to do is get us all pissed off and fighting one another while they rob us blind. They do it by entertaining us. They do it by keeping us all pissed off with television news stories that are essentially meaningless, except to pit us against each other. 

Roger Waters got it right: We are Amused to Death.

And Naomi Klein nailed it with Shock Therapy: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

Your neighbor is not a sociopath nor your enemy. Your government is not a sociopath nor your enemy. But chances are the company you work for is.  Think about it.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 10, 2010 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

I am sorry factfinder, if you find my facts disturbing. Especially when you skim too fast an miss my qualifiers. So far you are the ignorant one here if you are going to start attacking me instead of communicating with me. Not a good start.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoliberalism

Excerpt:

Broadly speaking, neoliberalism seeks to transfer control of the economy from public to the private sector,[4] under the belief that it will produce a more efficient government and improve the economic health of the nation.[5]

I admit when I first stumbled across it, I too was confused. I am educated now on it & confused no more. Hardly characteristic of some one who is ignorant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism

The other one, excerpt:

Neoconservatism is a political philosophy that emerged in the United States of America, which supports using modern American economic and military power to bring liberalism, democracy, and human rights to other countries.[1][2][3] Consequently the term is chiefly applicable to certain Americans and their strong supporters. In economics, unlike paleoconservatives and libertarians, neoconservatives are generally comfortable with a welfare state; and, while rhetorically supportive of free markets, they are willing to interfere for overriding social purposes.[4]

The term neoconservative was used at one time as a criticism against proponents of American modern liberalism who had “moved to the right”.

So you see where they differ and where they agree.  Paleoconservatives tend to also think they are classic liberals in some ways and also old time conservatives like Patrick Buchanan.

It is slippery and intertwined since they have similarities is what they want and how they go about getting it. In either case they use the state and force to get what they want from others. Just don’t take the easy rout and attack me just because I don’t agree with you. A habit more people are gettin into and it isn’t a good thing.

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By Anarcissie, September 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

It seems to me that it would be fair to characterize neoliberalism, at least as described in the Wikipedia article of that name, as a descendant of classical liberalism.  So are most other political philosophies professed in the West today, with the exception of religious fanaticism and racism. 

Where I think neoliberalism become fallacious is where its proponents pretend that moving the locus of an activity from the government to a private corporation moves it outside the state.  It is simply being moved to a different part of the state, usually one less observable and controllable by such democratic institutions as may exist.  Hence the cosy relationship of this sort of liberalism with such as Pinochet.

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By factfinder, September 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, do you listen to yourself? Is it liberal or Libertarian? There is vast difference between them. Not to mention that Libertarians are uber-conservatives. Classical liberals disavowed this term as applying to them 20 years ago. You and Rip Van Winkle seem to have something in common. But, hey, ignorance is often considered to be bliss.

Considering the confusion caused by the use of the term ‘neoliberal’, the author was careless to use such a poorly-defined term. In my conversations with him, he sees ‘neoliberal’ as referring to Republicans/neocons. Not as you claim.

The article is also too vague as to what its propose is.Is it against neoliberals, STEM, or American greed?

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By Mike789, September 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Want more STEM graduates? Allow states to regulate credit cards again. The clever deregulation of credit card fees across state borders just about guarenteed a 15% margin in finanace. The result was that venture capital went the path of least resistance. Domino effect thereafter.

[The fluid dynamics of funny money is what has to change or we are up the creek. We cannot continue to capitulate to the he fear mongering of investment banking. The way it is now we have a value system based on money for the sake of money rather than substance]

Why settle for the traditional 8-10% yields in manufacturing of innovative products when fundamental risk could be commoditized?

Ironically, our only hope is that in the denial of climate change and the inevitable inaction thereof, the resultant instability of China drives capital back to a safer haven.

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By kerryrose, September 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Mike

If we could imagine a world where engineers could construct and manufacture green technology, so America could be first in foremost in sustainable development then I could believe a wave of students could excitedly enter the field.

If the country makes working for progress and the conservation of the natural world a priority I believe a generation of students would enter the field with enthusiasm even if it paid less than a Wall Street banker.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Sorry Factfinder have you looked up the origins of the term? It is an offshoot of classical liberal which is what the modern Libertarians claim is theirs. Some Liberals claim that mantle too of the classic Liberal. That is where you have a problem because “liberal” is in it. Shouldn’t the prefix “neo” have tipped you off? Long established use. Get over it and get knowledgeable to it, pronto.

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By Mike, September 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As an engineer I know that engineering school enrollment is down 20 percent in the last ten years.  And the reason is quite simple: an engineering graduate (Bachelors) will start with $55-60k and a law graduate from a good school starting at a good firm will make double that.  If an engineer is successful, he/she will make the law graduate’s starting salary in 20-25 years.

And there is little need for chemical, electrical, mechanical and industrial engineers, who worked predominantly in product manufacturing, since all mass manufacturing is done overseas.

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By factfinder, September 10, 2010 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

WriterOnTheStorm:  “The “Reagan Revolution” was an alliance of authoritarian conservatives and their
neoliberal partners. This powerful tag-team put the bootstrapper-maverick,sink-or-swim, angry-white-christian coalition (yea, think tea party) on the font
lines, while their uber-elitist, trickle-down-economics, scorched-earth-capitalist, radical-self-interest generals called the shots at a safe distance from
the field of battle.

Factfinder: Yep. Not one of those groups or people you list can be considered liberal. They are all Republican neocons.

Liberals are being given undeserved blame everytime the disingenuous term ‘neoliberal’ is used in an economic context.

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By Night-Gaunt, September 10, 2010 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

Certainly sounds like he is talking about that other Friedman, Thomas & his limited views of a rich neoliberal on the world and its workers.

Neo-Libs and Neo-Cons find much in common. Off shoring and in shoring are part of it. That is why the H1-B “genius” visas are not only still in use but people like ....... of Microsoft* infamy, want more of them to come. Talking about “shortages of qualified workers” while hundreds of thousands of them can’t find work in their field because cheaper than cheap ones from India take their place. Even if they are inferior in skill and experience. It doesn’t matter to them. They save money (which they give to themselves) an give poor service. The owners don’t care.

In other words, it was a brilliant and evil sucker-job that began with Ronald Reagan and now we are reaping its poisoned fruit.Inherit The Wind

I found out that a year before when Carter was president, he was bitten by the neoliberal bug and had started to deregulate. But otherwise I agree, all through both Democrats & Republicans. A Con job of the largest sort. Being in a depression since 2001 makes it hard for us to get angry. About the only thing that will cause riots these days will be food shortages. That will overthrow gov’ts.

One reason why such countries as Japan and Europe has surpassed us is they they produce engineers. We get lawyers and now financial speculators. Also plenty of unemployed people who go into the military because they have no where else to go.

Neoliberalism is what came out of Classic Liberalism. Only it favored rights and freedoms for business. “Let the Market rule” is it motto. Companies and corporations could do whatever they want and if it is “bad” for business then the market will “adjust” it. They wanted everything up for grabs from prisons to military to hospitals and medicine. If you have the money you can be in the game. If you don’t or can’t, then you may have help from charity, and maybe not. Try to steal to eat and your life is at risk from an armed populace. The L. Neil Smith SiFi books from the 1980’s covers that in a semi-serious way. [More fantasy than reality unfortunately.]

*Trying to think of his name—he & his wife are big time philanthropists now.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, September 10, 2010 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

For those who are not sure what neoliberalism is, this link might help:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwboT2DhJC8&NR=1

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By WriterOnTheStorm, September 10, 2010 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

Neoliberalism is not simply a produce-in-the-poorest-market-and-sell-in-the-
richest-market economic colonization as Sirota suggests. It is the Milton
Friedman/Chicago school of deregulated/privatised economics free-basing a
self-serving Ayn Rand Objectivist ideology.

The core of Neoliberalism is the belief (i.e. rationale) that the common good is
an undefinable and therefor empty notion. The “market knows best” is not just
sloganeering in this world view; it represents nothing less than the near
complete abandonment of public policies that embrace commonality and
community in favor of extreme self-interest in the forms of abject consumerism
and status display.

To neoliberals, consumer choice is a serviceable stand-in for democracy.
Remember that phrase from the eighties, “the me generation”? It didn’t mean you
and me and all the other “mes” collectively. It just meant me. It was short hand
for an economic feeding frenzy that some say is the greatest transfer of wealth
from the middle/labor classes to the upper class in history.

The “Reagan Revolution” was an alliance of authoritarian conservatives and their
neoliberal partners. This powerful tag-team put the bootstrapper-maverick,
sink-or-swim, angry-white-christian coalition (yea, think tea party) on the font
lines, while their uber-elitist, trickle-down-economics, scorched-earth-
capitalist, radical-self-interest generals called the shots at a safe distance from
the field of battle.

Neoliberalism is dead. Its champions desperately dry-hump its corpse hoping
for resurrection but secretly praying that the growing mob waiting in the
shadows doesn’t notice that the bloated beast isn’t moving anymore. Out of
sheer momentum, the wildest dreams of avarice are still possible for some, and
unless and until this is no longer the case, the obscene death rite will play out in
the spectacular high-defintion 3D of what is derisively known as reality.

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By factfinder, September 10, 2010 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie:

Refer to my comment of 11:44 am.

‘neoliberal’ no longer refers to classical liberals.

This is the problem with Sirota’s article. He uses misleading jargon.

The other problem with the article is that Sirota doesn’t seem to know what he is attacking - neoliberals, STEM or American greed.

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By Anarcissie, September 10, 2010 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

I thought ‘neoliberalism’ was supposed to refer to classical liberalism, the liberalism of Locke, Smith and Jefferson, in which government would be minimal and the people, especially those with property, were to be protected by a large body of rights.  Neoliberalism, then, would be a recovery of these principles, although without going the full route (to libertarianism). 

Today, ‘liberal’ is a pretty vague term, but it is generally used in the U.S. to indicate people who believe in a considerable degree of government intervention, regulation and management of the economy and social order.  Historically this complex of beliefs, which we could also call ‘social democracy’ or ‘welfare statism’ has been associated with an aggressive and indeed imperial foreign policy (for example, that of presidents Wilson, Roosevelt (either), Truman, Kennedy, Johnson).  Foreign models include the Bismarckian welfare state and the more idealistic realizations of fascism.  The term ‘progressive’ seems to be a substitute for avoiding ‘liberal’ due to the baggage the latter term has acquired, but like ‘liberal’ is vague in meaning.

It is hard to say anything about the schools since the descriptions and discussions of what they do seem almost entirely fact-free.  I do know the schools have repeatedly been called upon to produce types of workers who were then found to be redundant, such as mechanical and electrical engineers in the 1950s and computer programmers in the ‘90s.  It lowers those pesky wages, I guess.

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By factfinder, September 10, 2010 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Redhorse:

Sirota seems confused on what ‘neoliberal’ means. He cites Republicans and Democrats as neoliberal. He fails utterly to understand that it is a Republican/neocon ploy to employ the term ‘neoliberal’, given the general abhorrence of ‘liberal’ in the U.S., to its own failed policies in order to avoid responsibility for those policies and to shift that responsibility onto Democrats/liberals who had nothing to do with instituting the policy.

In addition, Sirota doesn’t seem to sure of what his topic is. Is he attacking ‘neoliberals’, STEM, or the American preoccupation with acquiring wealth without regard for the consequences of how that wealth is acquired? All three themes are mixed up in his mishmash of an article.

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By factfinder, September 10, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Redhorse:

Sirota seems confused on what ‘neoliberal’ means. He cites Republicans and Democrats as neoliberal. He fails utterly to understand that it is a Republican/neocon ploy to employ the term ‘neoliberal’, given the general abhorrence of ‘liberal’ in the U.S., to its own failed policies in order to avoid responsibility for those policies and to shift that responsibility onto Democrats/liberals who had nothing to do with instituting the policy.

In addition, Sirota doesn’t seem to sure of what his topic is. Is he attacking ‘neoliberals’, STEM, or the American preoccupation with acquiring wealth without regard for the consequences of how that wealth is acquired? All three themes are mixed up in his mishmash of an article.

His stream of consciousness ruminations are verging on the incoherent.

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By REDHORSE, September 10, 2010 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

FACTFINDER: THANK YOU!! I had the same problem with the word PROFLIGATE. I appreciate your efforts to keep us all on the same page.

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By felicity, September 10, 2010 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

“...cultivate more science, technology, engineering
and math specialists?”  What for.  For years, large
corporations have been buying up patents on new and
innovative products coming from the STEM specialists
- not to make use of them but to bury them.  How
innovative is that?

Neoliberalism is raw imperialism.  Neoliberal
globalization is capital (large corporations,
financial and non-financial) using governments and
especially leadership of US government to make it
easier to exploit the world’s resources and its
people.l

Capitalism, ideally, needs to be able to sell where
and when, to invest where and when, to move money and
products in and out of countries and to repatriate
profits at will.

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By balkas, September 10, 2010 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

But don’t we think that until recently southern, northern, eastern, and western countries first waged poverty, homelesness, druguse, unknowledge, etc., and only thereafter ‘war’ on them!

Or is it the wars for them? Must be for them! The proof where?
Well, there was slavery in ancient times and even today. And a war lasting 3-10k yrs against poverty cannot, seems, fail; so, the wars were actually waged for ever greater poverty.


Waging druguse and drugabuse appears just two centuries old and drugwars for or against drugs making things worse and worse with no end in sight to its ever greater [ab]use.

Meanwhile, one cannot find any police-cia-fbi-informer anywhere on street.Nor under any bed; so don’t go looking for one.
They are ?all on guard for uncle sam.

Now, suppose we put our soldiers, spies on our borders looking for drugs that come in and we still fail in stoppage of significant amount of drugs?

We could then promise every importer that we will hang herhim on town square. tnx

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By Liberal, September 10, 2010 at 7:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey
Free Market at work!! no wonder the conservatives love it.
What free marketers don’t like to point out re: how the free market is “self-regulating” and that the “market will decide” etc.
It is like the natural world of self-regulation—it is not a smooth regulation—it is a system comprised of boom and bust
In times of plenty—wildlife populations (and businesses) explode—then when a harsh winter comes—the excess population starves and dies (wildlife and business)—but as in the wildlife population it is not just the weak that are affected—ALL members suffer, starve, are weakened—and many more die than need to die and many more starve than need to starve.
It is VERY painful
and so the free-marketers sort of hide this reality—they only want to promote the boom side of things—(or maybe they only kid themselves)
This Great Recession was the free-market at work—all the shenanigans these heisters were foisting on us were coming home to roost—problem is that the “adjustment” required to restore balance to the system would have killed us all (figuratively) and so—we intervened (rightly so) but even then the free-marketers on the right will still bleet about the horrors of government control and regulation—even as their bacon was saved by the govt.

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By balkas, September 10, 2010 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

Sirota [going now from my knowledge, the knowledge 1xy] does own switch-baiting.
The paleocons [samecons, oldcons]are switched off to neolibs and the real and only bait being that of mussolini, franco, bush, obama, et al.

But even if pols and collumnists cld be sorted into dozen of sorts: egalitarian, antiwar, leberal, conservatives,republican, antilife, prolife, we still are left with one and only and whose will only be done: US constitution [also known as “Greatness of America; indeed it is] or to be accurate, uncle sam.

Whih means what? Well, it means more and stronger warfare, use of more wmd, health deform, no free education, information in private hands giving us private product. tnx

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By factfinder, September 10, 2010 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

I emailed my first comment to Sirota.

He replied,“Look up the term “neoliberal.” It doesn’t mean liberal or progressive at all. I am a progressive. George W. Bush is a neoliberal. So is Bill Clinton. “Neoliberal” doesn’t mean “liberal.”

My response was to educate him, “No matter how you slice and dice it, your neoliberalism label is Republican/neocon cant and a ploy by them to avoid scrutiny.

By the 1990s, the term “neoliberalism” was a pejorative to classical liberal critics. Neo-liberalism first took hold in Chile under Augusto Pinochet (from 1973) and spread, first to Great Britain under Margaret Thatcher (from 1979) and the U.S. under Ronald Reagan (from 1981).

Notice how all of those names are staunch Republican/neocon/Conservative/Fascist.

When Sirota blames ‘neoliberals’, he is blaming Republicans/neocons. (and rightly so.)

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By factfinder, September 10, 2010 at 7:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Good Morning, Mr. Sirota

I have just read your article, The Neoliberal Bait-and-Switch. Your characterization of free trade as neoliberal is directly opposite to the truth. It was after all former U.S.  president, George H. W. Bush, a Republican, along with the Canadian prime minister,  Brian Mulroney, a Conservative , who gave us NAFTA.

Neither are you correct to label STEM as neoliberal either, as you are well aware. In the State of the Union Address on January 31, 2006, United States President George W. Bush, a Republican,  announced the American Competitiveness Initiative. Bush proposed the initiative to address shortfalls in federal government support of educational development and progress at all academic levels in the STEM fields . In detail, the initiative called for significant increases in federal funding for advanced R&D programs (including a doubling of federal funding support for advanced research in the physical sciences through DOE) and an increase in U.S. higher education graduates within STEM disciplines. Bush was fully in favour of STEM.

Nor is a “neoliberal” fault, as you say, “that the additional students who might boost our STEM workforce are choosing to avoid STEM majors because they see an economy that is more hospitable to careers in Wall Street casinos rather than in high-tech innovation.” American greed and self-absorption is the hallmark of Republican and neocons.

It is a typical Republican/neocon ruse to blame others for their own mistakes and inadequacies. I do hope that you are becoming infected with this trait. Please stop ignoring the facts that get in the way of your neocon bias.

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By Old Man Turtle, September 10, 2010 at 7:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a surviving free wild primitive Savage who’s been much of the summer
visiting relatives on the Sunrise shore of Turtle Island, maybe nothing has
encapsulated for me the terminal condition of the civilized world more tellingly
than this.  “Money” is never allowed to be or to go anywhere in significant
amounts except in armored containers protected by armed guards.  Meanwhile,
your “average” young women, children, and elders are expected to just take
their chances all alone in a world increasingly inimical to both their long- and
short-term well-being.

No doubt the “neoliberals” deserve a full share of opprobrium for their own
feckless and foul contributions to this screwed-up mess.  Still, Americans as-
such probably wouldn’t be in it (or at-least not nearly as deeply) if they weren’t
all-together mostly on the wrong side of the “fool” vs. “honest man” divide, in
the privateers’ “give-us-your-money-and-we’ll-make-you-rich-quick”
pyramid-scheme criminal enterprise, now gone as “global” as it has always
been “viral,” in the strictly “clinical” sense.

So it looks like the (more aptly named) retro-cons are about to get another turn
at-bat, their pretend “opponents” having gone down (mostly “looking”) 1-2-3
in what was supposed to’ve been their big inning, to borrow a bit from the
lexicon of “the national pastime.”  That’s “show business,” though, and these
days there ain’t no other kind of “business,” except maybe for “dirty.”

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By Audley D (Sandy) Gaston, September 10, 2010 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its called ‘NAFTA’, with its little brother, CAFTA, close on its heels.  Goes all the way back to the Maquiladora that single-handedly launched the concept of ‘offshoring’.  Great for business, lousy for workers.

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By Peter Everts, September 10, 2010 at 5:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

BBQ a banker.  It’s time the paper pushers who create nothing but empty wealth for themselves were run out of town on a rail after the tar and feathers route.  US must makes things not shuffle bullshit to have a real economy.

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By kerryrose, September 10, 2010 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

As a teacher, this is the best characterization of the Education debate that I have read.  Arne Duncan, a neoliberal from Chicago, is the Education Secretary.  He has no education background.  His motive is to close public schools and open for-profit Charter schools, so that his corporate buddies make a dime.

Duncan, in Chicago, closed 60 public schools and privatized them.  The public school system has a 60 million dollar defitcit.  Charter schools are non-unionized.  The teachers make far less than public school teachers, but administration makes much more.  Teachers can be used up and thrown out like dishrags after scrambling to please over-paid administrators.

The rationale for this is that the public schools are bad, but ‘No Child Left Behind’ a Bush program is a devastating failure.  The children are drilled ‘to take the test’ from day one.

Many of the failures in American infrastructure, research and development, is because the high-achieving students for the past 30 years have been going into the financial sector because that is where the money is.  The ‘brains’ have actually been dragging us down.  A student will not choose engineering or sustainable research if they can make 10X as much as a hedge-fund manager.

The failures of education are a failure of priority in this country.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 10, 2010 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

Whoops! I meant David, not Joe—got my articles and authors mixed up.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 10, 2010 at 4:21 am Link to this comment

Joe, you are telling us that we are getting poor mileage because the car has too much wind drag, rather than the key point that the car is too heavy, and has too big and too inefficient an engine.

In other words, everything you say is essentially correct, but you are missing the 900 lb gorilla.

That is, for those same 30 years, the Republicans, Conservatives and neo-Cons have backed these policies as a way to convert high-cost blue-collar manufacturing jobs into low-cost off-shore jobs, lowering production costs substantially.  From their POV it has worked spectacularly well and has broken the power of the labor unions (which are decidedly Democratic) as well.

In other words, it was a brilliant and evil sucker-job that began with Ronald Reagan and now we are reaping its poisoned fruit.

To paraphrase Ayn Rand, the neo-liberals are hobos riding on the train, deluding themselves that they are the engineer.

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