Fareed Zakaria has recently published a piece in Washington Post claiming that:

Historically, when the U.S. government, World Bank or International Monetary Fund have advised troubled countries, they have stressed that achieving fiscal stability is only part of the solution. The key to reviving growth is structural reforms to make an economy more competitive, as well as investments in human and physical capital to ensure the next generation for growth. Yet we have been unable to follow our own prescriptions.

The United States could become more competitive in many areas. Our gargantuan and corrupt tax code clocks in at 73,000 pages, including regulations. Vast aspects of the economy, such as agriculture, receive massive and distorting subsidizes for no larger national purpose. Regulations in industries such as finance are highly complex, and sometimes worse, with banks being supervised by multiple federal agencies and 50 sets of state agencies, all with overlapping authority.

My comment:

I am glad we haven’t been able to follow our prescriptions as they have been proved absolutely devastating to many others!

I can see that Fareed still thinks within the neoliberal mindset of hating government regulations of any kind and praising competitiveness of any type.Yes there are many corrupt regulatory measures and policies which are rooted in our undemocratic plutocratic system. Many of these regulations are ineffective not just because they are costly but because they do not protect peoples real interests and rights. They are made out of CONFLICTING INFLUENCES of MONEY into politics.

The solution is in radical democratization of both economy and politics and this may not become possible unless the media is freed from neoliberal mindset. Neoliberalism started roughly speaking with Reagan and Thatcher in 1980s and evolved both domestically and internationally. It is the most dominant economic agenda as today. Even the 2008 crisis did not challenge it seriously enough; that’s why we are still are prescribed more and more austerity. He perhaps needs to educate himself by reading books and articles on neoliberal capitalism (there are thousands of them out there).

and also this interesting explanation of the Crisis by Harvey (animated):

I understand that in the US the public and even many intellectuals do not use the same terminology as many academics like Harvey use. But using concepts like Neoliberalism can cast more light on reality especially the very existing and important real differences that are kept hidden under other terms like the ones you have used.

Both democrats and republicans share a great deal of neoliberal policy agendas. Many of those we may call ultra-liberals are in fact anti-neoliberal and anti-free market. Therefore calling them ultra liberal my imply they are even more radical in their appreciation of free market than Democrats like Obama.

I guess the American common sense and public debate must give up such an inefficient and obscuring terminology and look for a better language to reflect the complexities of today’s reality. I should however accept that even a term like Neoliberalism has lost its capacity to be as useful as before (especially since the crisis). Neoliberalism should have entered into our daily conversations long time ago (in the 80s-90s). It is still not fully expired but considering a more colorful role that the state is now playing in the economy (something so inevitable after the crisis that even neo Cons cannot deny or ignore its necessity) we must now look for notions like Corporate State in association with State-Fostered Market (instead of free market). Looking at the fiscal cliff debate and its final results, we will see how even the right in the US has realized economy cannot be kept running without the state careful regulation of taxation and the provision of minimum social protection for the majority of middle and lower class Americans.


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