From the Neoliberal Revolution to the Supremacy of Financialized Austerity: A Brief History

As an intended outcome of neoliberal doctrine and a natural stage of capitalist development, global financialization constructs a borderless nexus of power in which debt and austerity fuels a cultural, political and economic landscape bound to enduring structures of domination, and creates unprecedented wealth through the accumulation of suffering.


According to economist Richard Wolff, “Capitalism has always and everywhere oscillated between two phases.” One phase is operationalized by free-market doctrine, often referenced as economic liberalism, classical economics, laissez-faire capitalism, or neoliberalism which refers to a “new” or “revived form” of liberal economics. While some economists will distinguish differences between these terms, generally this free-market phase of capitalism is distinguished by a liberal economy where capitalist industry and markets prevail and experience very little (or no) government oversight. In this phase, the state primarily serves as an agent of capitalist interests.

The other phase of capitalism is often referred to as Keynesian economics, the welfare-state, state-capitalism or social democracy. This phase entails state intervention via substantive taxation, regulations, price controls and state administered social programs. To varying degrees, it is a mixed economy driven by both private and public sectors, yet allows for (or requires) the existence of significant social inequality while guaranteeing that…

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