Neo-Liberalism Explained


What is Neo-Liberalism?


Neo-Liberalism as the name suggests stands for New Liberalism. The idea of liberalism came as a counter movement to the renaissance of autocratic regimes in Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. The original movement had a huge base of supporters and helped us create the modern idea of a nation-state. Liberalism in Europe also saw a huge boom in commerce, trade and innovation. Consequences of Liberalism were the reason for the fall of Mercantilism. Neo liberalism is a political movement that originated in early 1990s in north America and Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This also acted as a counter movement towards the growing Keysian School of Economics which advocated for some government intervention to keep the economy stable, however the Reaganite era changed the status quo bringing clout to the neo-liberal school of thought. Neoliberalism as an economic movement aims today regulate the market and let market forces decide demand and supply instead of excessive government intervention. And as a social and cultural movement, it focuses on protecting the rights and helping the marginalised communities and minorities. But by doing so, the movement makes itself susceptible to identity politics and diversity candidates.


Where Neo-liberalism was seen?


When talking about neoliberalism in India, it came into being in late 1980s with the Rajiv Gandhi government but after Rajiv Gandhi assassination the new liberal economic policies work carried forward by PV Narasimha Rao and his finance minister Manmohan Singh. This was due to the IMF’s push towards a globalised economy under a standard economic system, preferably a neo-liberal style.


When considering the American aspect of neoliberalism, it started to gain popularity in the democratic party in late 1980s and early 1990s when the conservative Republican president Ronald Reagan came into office. Reagan administration came under heavy fire because of its alleged involvement in the drug trade in Colombia and because of his praises policies against African Americans. The new liberal democratic party strongly contained these actions of Reagan administration.



Some popular Neo Liberal leaders :

  • Manmohan Singh

  • PV Narasimha Rao

  • Barack Obama

  • Hillary Clinton

  • Bill Clinton


The Historical accomplishments of Neo-Liberal movement


The neoliberal movement in America was successful in stopping the crimes and operation of the conservative government and was successful in opening American economy up for international trade with many developing countries at the time like India, China, Vietnam, South Korea, etc.


And in India the neo liberal politicians like PV Narasimha Rao was successful in opening the isolationist Indian economy up for free trade where many developed and developing countries. And this government also brought great social changes like more rights and social liberties for women and opening the Indian society's minds and evolving from a large conservative community to patrons of social liberties. Neoliberal policies in India are credited to ending the Licence Raj which once struck fear into the hearts of the big bourgeoise.


Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, many countries across the world were greatly influenced both economically and socially by the neoliberal movement. After the collapse of the Soviet Union multiple subsidiaries of the USSR needed to trade to keep their economies afloat. The US saw this as an opportunity to establish them as the dominant world power, and helped out these states either by doling out money directly or using the IMF and the international community to their benefit. This is one reason for the dominance of Neo Liberal Policy in the modern world.

A case for Neo-Liberalism:

- Promotion of competition is seen

- High Rates of Commodity Production is seen under Neo Liberalism

- A meritocracy is said to be in place

A case against Neo-Liberalism:

- Suffers from all the problems of Capitalism

- Highly exploitative in nature

- It will never give its desired equality due to the nature of the economic system it works in.


~ Aadi Sardesai



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