Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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fluffy
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Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Interesting article from 2014 describing three watershed moments in Canada's recent history that were instrumental in bringing us to our present point in time. The post-war boom of the fifties and sixties saw great strides ahead in corporate profits and living standards.

"This expansionary post-war "golden age" eventually ran up against its own internal limits and contradictions. As in other advanced capitalist countries, the happy recipe of strong profits and business investment, rising living standards, and Keynesian welfare-state fine-tuning, began to disintegrate. The Polish economist Michal Kalecki presciently predicted after World War II, just as Keynesianism was being consolidated, that capitalism would eventually experience a "full-employment sickness." As workers were empowered by long-run employment and income security, their expectations would grow, sparking increasing conflict with the interests of capitalist employers in maintaining a compliant, disciplined, low-cost workforce. A confident working class won a larger and larger share of the economic pie: in Canada, the labour share of GDP grew steadily through the post-war era, peaking in the late 1970s. Even worse for employers, workers demanded changes in the workplace, and society, that constrained the freedom and power of business. The expansion of an interventionist state meant rising taxes and stronger regulations. Internationally, national liberation movements curtailed capitalism's geographic scope. Most importantly, business investment -- the underlying engine of the post-war expansion -- slowed appreciably.

Neoliberalism represented a multi-faceted, deliberate, global strategy by elites (in both the financial and the real spheres of the economy) to turn the whole ship around. A generation later, it is sobering to consider how successful that strategy has been. It has clearly empowered and enriched corporations and those who own them, and put workers on the defensive everywhere. On the other hand, despite these successes, neoliberalism has not succeeded in creating a world economy which is stable (witness the dramatic events of 2008-09), efficient, or successful in meeting real human needs."


https://rabble.ca/columnists/2014/04/th ... sformation
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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By Robert W. McChesney, excerpt from his introduction to Noam Chomsky's book "Profit Over People", written in 1999:

"Neoliberalism is the defining political economic paradigm of our time -- it refers to the policies and processes whereby a relative handful of private interests are permitted to control as much as possible of social life in order to maximize their personal profit. Associated with Reagan and Thatcher, for the past two decades neoliberalism has been the dominant global political economic trend adopted by political parties of the center and much of the traditional left as well as the right. These parties and the policies they enact represent the immediate interests of extremely wealthy investors and less than one thousand large corporations.

Aside from some academics and members of the business community, the term neoliberalism is largely unknown and unused by the public-at-large, especially in the United States. There, to the contrary, neoliberal initiatives are characterized as free market policies that encourage private enterprise and consumer choice, reward personal responsibility and entrepreneurial initiative, and undermine the dead hand of the incompetent, bureaucratic and parasitic government, that can never do good even if well intended, which it rarely is. A generation of corporate-financed public relations efforts has given these terms and ideas a near sacred aura. As a result, the claims they make rarely require defense, and are invoked to rationalize anything from lowering taxes on the wealthy and scrapping environmental regulations to dismantling public education and social welfare programs. Indeed, any activity that might interfere with the corporate domination of society is automatically suspect because it would interfere with the workings of the free market, which is advanced as the only rational, fair, and democratic allocator of goods and services. At their most eloquent, proponents of neoliberalism sound as if they are doing poor people, the environment, and everybody else a tremendous service as they enact policies on behalf of the wealthy few."


This obviously refers to the US economy, but Canada is not so far behind. Consider this quote by Ed Finn, veteran journalist, former NDP leader for Newfoundland and Labrador, long time editor of 'The Monitor", monthly journal of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and recipient of the Order of Canada:

"Canada has been in decline as a nation socially, environmentally and politically since the 1980s; that’s when both Conservative and Liberal parties dumped the Keynesian system based on governing in the public interest [and] replaced it with a neoliberal system of governing in the interest of wealthy and big business elites — a system that unfortunately has prevailed ever since. —"
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Septuagenarian wrote: Jun 29th, 2021, 6:56 am Chomsky's call to action was social activism. Timely today in that the anti-lockdown and anti-mask rallies may even be a demonstration of how this is playing out all on it's own.
I don't see the connection. Neoliberalism is, at its roots an attack on working class expectations and working class strength with aims at improving profitability, as simple as that. Anti-lockdown and anti-mask rallies, while presented as an exercise in individual rights, were in essence an attack on democracy in that a minority was claiming the right not to participate in measures meant to protect society as a whole.
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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This research paper was published in the International Journal of Arts & Sciences in 2014

LIFE AFTER NEOLIBERALISM IN CANADA: HOW POLICY CREATES HOMELESSNESS AND HOW CITIZENSHIP MODELS FAIL TO PROVIDE SOLUTIONS

Mary Ellen Donnan
Bishop’s University, Canada

"The prevailing philosophy of neoliberalism is the ultimate cause of the recent rise of homelessness in Canada’s cities. Neoliberal philosophy not only informed the decision to eliminate Canada’s federal Affordable Housing policy, it has allowed the continuing neglect of public housing support despite the tragic consequences and it has motivated decades of other social welfare cuts. As well as destruction of the welfare state, neoliberalism in Canada is also characterized by laissez-fair economic policies which increased the competition Canadian businesses had to face and significantly decreased the number and quality of “blue collar” jobs, especially in Ontario (Luxton, 2013, p. 4) (Conway, 2004). Core ideas of neoliberalism such as conceptualizing the citizen as a competitive rugged-individualist and endorsing down ‘trickle-down’ economics have eroded what national sense there was of universal basic economic security rooted in the wealth of this land, the beauty of its cultures and the value of its people. This paper specifies how neoliberalism deepens the marginalization of specific segments of the Canadian population to the extent that they are excluded from housing and how social support models based in citizenship have failed us."



For those who may be tempted to toss aside neoliberalism as yet another leftie talking point, there is plenty of research available that shows the effects of the slow but steady advance of neoliberalism over the past few decades are widespread throughout society, and almost exclusively resulting in the further marginalization of those who can afford it the least.

"Several decades into the era of neoliberal policy-making it is now evident that neoliberalism allows and supports the expansion of wealth of those who were already advantaged when this process began, at the expense of other members of our society who are disadvantaged in a variety of ways."
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Neoliberalism:Oversold?

"MILTON Friedman in 1982 hailed Chile as an “economic miracle.” Nearly a decade earlier, Chile had turned to policies that have since been widely emulated across the globe. 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 through 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."

>snip<

"There is much to cheer in the neoliberal agenda. The expansion of global trade has rescued millions from abject poverty. Foreign direct investment has often been a way to transfer technology and know-how to developing economies. Privatization of state-owned enterprises has in many instances led to more efficient provision of services and lowered the fiscal burden on governments. However, there are aspects of the neoliberal agenda that have not delivered as expected. Our assessment of the agenda is confined to the effects of two policies: removing restrictions on the movement of capital across a country’s borders (so-called capital account liberalization); and fiscal consolidation, some-times called “austerity,” which is shorthand for policies to reduce fiscal deficits and debt levels. An assessment of these specific policies (rather than the broad neoliberal agenda) reaches three disquieting conclusions:
•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 sustain-ability of growth. Even if growth is the sole or main purpose of the neoliberal agenda, advocates of that agenda still need to pay attention to the distributional effects"

>snip<

"Moreover, since both openness and austerity are associated with increasing income inequality, this distributional effect sets up an adverse feedback loop. The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting. There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth. The evidence of the economic damage from inequality suggests that policymakers should be more open to redistribution than they are. Of course, apart from redistribution, policies could be designed to mitigate some of the impacts in advance—for instance, through increased spending on education and training, which expands equality of opportunity (so-called predistribution policies). And fiscal consolidation strategies—when they are needed—could be designed to minimize the adverse impact on low-income groups. But in some cases, the untoward distributional consequences will have to be remedied after they occur by using taxes and government spending to redistribute income. Fortunately, the fear that such policies will them-selves necessarily hurt growth is unfounded."


https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fa ... /ostry.pdf
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Neoliberalism: past, present…future?
The rise of neoliberalism since 1979 is the major factor in transforming the world at the global scale to its current state.


The current state of the world is characterized by issues such as rising income inequality, populist discontent, and increased nationalism and protectionism in the United States (US) and Europe. Is there a common link among these issues? The answer is yes, and the rise of neoliberalism since 1979 is the major factor in transforming the world at the global scale to its current state. The effect of neoliberalism is both inconspicuous such as its role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and overt such as its role in rapid globalization marked by rising economic nationalism. How did this come to be and will the spread of populism affect the future of neoliberalism?

>snip<

The effects of neoliberalism

Globalization has been a feature of trade long before the arrival of the free market system—the Silk Road trade route connected Asia and Europe as early as the 2nd century BC. However, neoliberalism was the main driver for the rapid acceleration of globalization starting in the late 20th century. The neoliberal principles of deregulation and trade liberalization provided the incentive to facilitate the flow of capital, goods and services through improvements in communications, transportation and information technology. The quantum leap in globalization resulted in the features of contemporary life such as worldwide interconnectivity and e-commerce.

>snip<

However, neoliberalism has also eroded states’ authority and ability to regulate their own affairs. In their place, global corporations and non-state actors exercise global influence, often for their own benefit. Corporate self-interest, coupled with deregulation, has led to various financial meltdowns such as the 2008 global financial crisis. In developed countries, deindustrialised regions of high unemployment appeared as a direct impact of corporations relocating their manufacturing overseas in search of cheap labour. While developing countries initially received the benefit of these manufacturing jobs, a large supply of cheap labour and the constant prospect of factory relocation kept wages and labour standards low.

Additionally, the overall increase in GDP was attributed to an elite group obtaining enormous wealth at the expense of the middle class and the poor. In the US, the top 1% has accounted for 60% of the aggregate growth from 1976 to 2007. The stagnation of the working class, coupled with the degradation of the environment and the collapse of social welfare, led to political discontent and populism in many countries, symbolized by the Occupy movement and anti-globalization protests. In the Middle East, global neoliberalism was seen as a form of cultural and economic imperialism that led to the 9/11 attack.


https://thecic.org/neoliberalism-past-present-future/
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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I never thought I would see a whole thread of cut and paste of what other people are saying. There's no discussion here just "hey look what I found"
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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common_sense_guy wrote: Jul 8th, 2021, 9:27 am I never thought I would see a whole thread of cut and paste of what other people are saying. There's no discussion here just "hey look what I found"
These articles explain things better than I could. I'm surprised that they have not generated any discussion so far, it's a pretty important topic in my opinion. People are quick to go on and on about government, what about the idea that government is just a tool of the corporate sector ?
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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common_sense_guy wrote: Jul 8th, 2021, 9:27 am I never thought I would see a whole thread of cut and paste of what other people are saying. There's no discussion here just "hey look what I found"
I'm sad to say that these posts make sense in what I've been espousing to friends about the problems we've been creating with ourselves over the last 25 years or more ... nothing to debate as much as it is to help people understand what this means for the majority ... William Gibson pretty much is our contemporary Nostradamus ...
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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Well, maybe that's why political leaders are obsessing over woke issues because they draw people's attention away from really important issues like jobs, the economy, and the environment.
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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techrtr wrote: Jul 8th, 2021, 3:26 pm Well, maybe that's why political leaders are obsessing over woke issues because they draw people's attention away from really important issues like jobs, the economy, and the environment.
:up: :up:
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Re: Canada's Neoliberal Transformation

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techrtr wrote: Jul 8th, 2021, 3:26 pm Well, maybe that's why political leaders are obsessing over woke issues because they draw people's attention away from really important issues like jobs, the economy, and the environment.
I expect there are a great many people who would prefer that the less attention this issue gets, the better, and a great many more who are totally unaware of just what is going on, preferring instead to blame it on the government of the day.
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