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Why does neoliberalism survive?

Why does neoliberalism survive?

By Emir Sader

It was not what happened but, at least, in some cases, and for some time, there was control of inflation, although multiplying the public debt. When its positive effects were exhausted, the discourse came that, if it was the best model, it was the only one possible in the era of globalization.

Today, when the recessionary crisis is perpetuated in Europe, since 2008, while this effect is spreading throughout the international economy, there are no longer positive features and neither is it mandatory to maintain the neoliberal model, the axis of the crisis at the national level and international. The traditional, conservative and social democratic parties, which have assumed the policy of austerity - the form that neoliberalism takes on that continent - are punished by the voters and each election becomes a despair for those parties.

Nowhere has the application of the tough fiscal adjustments - the linchpin of neoliberal models - fulfilled its promises. Nor control of public accounts and inflation, still less to resume economic development. Its performance is globally considered a failure, responsible for the perpetuation of the recession in the world economy.

In Latin America this is equally evident. Compare the economies of Argentina and Brazil in the anti-neoliberal governments and in the return of the neoliberal model, and the result is scandalously clear in favor of the former. Look at how much countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil have improved compared to the situation in Mexico, Peru.

But why, despite the spectacular failure of neoliberalism, is this model still in force in much of the world, including the US, Europe, Japan, most of the countries of Latin America, Asia and Africa?

In the first place, because this model reflects the interests of financial capital, which is the hegemonic at the economic level, at the current stage of the capital accumulation process. There are strong economic interests in preserving that model, which only increases the wealth and power of finance capital.

Second, because capitalism itself has no alternatives. At its current stage, it would not be able to return to forms of economic regulation, which will allow it not to be subjected to the recessive pressures of finance capital.

Thirdly, because the forces that oppose neoliberalism have not managed, until now, in the vast majority of countries, to understand that the fundamental struggle in the current historical period is to overcome the neoliberal model and thus manage to build an alternative concrete to this model, bringing together the necessary social and political forces.

After its emergence with force, the neoliberal model went into its survival phase, a phase marked by the economic recession and by a gigantic social crisis, as well as by an immense hegemonic crisis that points towards its exhaustion and the search for alternatives to its overcoming.

-Emir Sader, Brazilian sociologist and political scientist, is coordinator of the Public Policy Laboratory of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).

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Video: Neoliberalism: The story of a big economic bust up. A-Z of ISMs Episode 14 - BBC Ideas (May 2021).