Saturday, May 10, 2014

Phillip Mirowski: How the neoliberals pulled it off

"What remains of Neoliberalism after the financial crises? The answer must be virtually everything?"
Colin Crouch 
The Strange Non-Death of Neoliberalism

Currently wading my way (slowly) through a library copy of Phillip Mirowski's book Never Let a Serious Crises Got to Waste: How NeoLiberalism Survived the Financial Meltdown.

It is a profoundly important book.  

The book is dense and demanding, full of big and challenging ideas, and written in language that is sometimes difficult to unpack. 

It is also a large book (470 pages, including nearly 100 pages of page notes, references and Bibliography). So my pace is considered and even slow.

Mirowski is a radical historian and philosopher of science, as well as an economist, and his book does not attempt to provide a broad analysis of the causes and consequence of the Great Crash of 2007 and subsequent global depression of 2008-2014.

Rather, he drills down deeper, to undertake an intellectual critique and social, political and economic history of the neoliberal ideas and policies that were at the core of the crises. 

 I am particularly enjoying and appreciating what one reviewer calls his:
relentless exposure and ridiculing of the fallacies, absurdities, and self-contradictions inherent in neoliberalism
Mirowski argues that neoliberal thought (or what others call market fundamentalism) has become so pervasive and ascendant, that any countervailing evidence serves only to convince disciples and supporters of its ultimate truth.

And further, that these neoliberal ideas have come to paralyze large parts of the progressive and radical Left.

A particularly valuable section of the book is his analysis of the underlying logic of neoliberalism, outlined as the 13 commandments of neoliberalism.

Mirowski has published his ideas in Australian online sources, including this article Beyond Denial in the online and print journal Overland, in which he applies his ideas to climate change denialism.

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