Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Tired of the word “neoliberal”?

Google the words “neoliberal” and “Eurozone” and you’ll find hundreds of articles by lefties all of them outraged, or pretending to be outraged, by the allegedly “neoliberal” Eurozone.

The word neoliberal is currently very much in vogue in leftie circles. In contrast “multicultural” and the phrase “cultural enrichment” seem to have gone out of fashion.

Now the idea that the Eurozone is neoliberal is a bit of a laugh and for the following reasons.

Neoliberalism is more or less synonymous with a belief in free markets. Indeed Wikipedia says “Neoliberalism is famously associated with the economic policies introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States.”

But hang on: who was most in favour of the Euro and in favour of Britain joining the Euro a decade or so ago? Political left or political right? Well it’s hard to say, but certainly when Britain was trying to decide whether to join there were a number of lefties describing those opposed to joining as “little Englanders” and even xenophobes.

Moreover, the rules governing the Eurozone were clear from the start. In particular it was clear that it involved monetary union, but certainly not fiscal union: i.e. no sort of free hand-outs to less competitive countries or areas funded by more successful countries / areas of the sort we have in the UK in the form of assistance for poorer regions funded by the South East.

But now it’s all change. Apparently the Euro is now a wicked neo-Thatcherite / neoliberal project.

Hope that’s clarified the matter for you.

(h/t Tim Worstall)

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