The term neoliberal was invented in 1938 at the height of the Keynesian ascendancy, but was not adopted worldwide until the 1980s, championed by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
The neoliberal doctrine goes like this:
Competition is the basis for all human interaction.
Margaret Thatcher sums this up neatly with the famous quote:
“There is no such thing as society, only the individual.”
There is a natural hierarchy of winners and losers.
Winners are rewarded with a monopoly, losers with bankruptcy.
The basic unit is the consumer who is free to exercise their right to choose.
$1 = 1 vote in the consumer democracy.
All social problems can be dealt with by applying the laws of Supply Demand.
Every individual is given an opportunity to accumulate wealth, no matter what handicaps they begin with.
Those that fall by the wayside have only themselves to blame.
It works like this:
Install white ants at the centre of State power whose job is to cut taxes, thus starving the state of the ability to adequately fund the functions of the State, rendering them dysfunctional and ripe for take over by the corporate sector, whilst building resentment against the state itself at the same time. Neat hey?
Here in Australia, while the Liberal Party aggressively pursues the Neoliberal agenda, the Labor Party reluctantly follows in its footsteps:
A freeze on new taxes, trade liberalization, privatization of infrastructure, education, health etc,.
At the same time Labor doggedly clings to the good old tried and true Keynseyan doctrine:
Promote economic growth by stimulating consumer demand.
A simple doctrine from a bygone era before Climate Change, rescource depletion, pollution and mass extinctions reared their ugly heads.
The Libs prefer to stimulate growth by giving tax breaks to Corporations in the vain hope they will reinvest it rather than salt it away in offshore tax havens.
The Greens on the other hand don’t seem to be so keen on Keynes or Neoliberalism, as they are both a direct threat to the environment and social justice, but they are very cagy about exactly what they would replace them with if they were in power.