The neoliberal fallacy, care of Zoe Williams

Posted on

Zoe Williams made an interesting point in a Guardian article this afternoon. She said:

The only way you c[an] escape [right wing] censure would be to have never had any political views about anything, and to have sprung, fully formed, into your opinionless existence without the hindrance of parents or other antecedents.

I suspect Zoe knows only too well how resonant those words are. This is, after all, what the neoliberal view suggests to be the true. Those of this persuasion do not think they have political opinion. They think they are followers of a natural truth.

They therefore, apparently genuinely, believe that they do not express political views when, for example, saying that markets can provide the answer to all problems.

Nor do they think as a result that they offer political opinion when they say that those who have failed (as they see it) in the market place should not be offered support since that upsets the natural order that is meant to happen.

This, they maintain, is objectivity and so valueless.

Most economists, of course, suffer from this opinion. But so now do a great many politicians and this thinking has permeated much of government.

That is what the neoliberal project intended. It is not just about economics; it is about changing our whole perception of how we live.

The consequences are obvious, but to take a simple example, the deeply right wing Institute for Economic Affairs is a charity because it, apparently, does not offer political opinion and yet to question the role of the market is, apparently, political. The dichotomy is obvious, unless of course, you're a neoliberal. Then it's  natural.

It's also completely wrong.