[Marxism] Hart-Landsberg on neoliberalism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Apr 2 13:49:47 MDT 2006

Neoliberalism: Myths and Reality
by Martin Hart-Landsberg

Agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the 
World Trade Organization (WTO) have enhanced transnational capitalist power 
and profits at the cost of growing economic instability and deteriorating 
working and living conditions. Despite this reality, neoliberal claims that 
liberalization, deregulation, and privatization produce unrivaled benefits 
have been repeated so often that many working people accept them as 
unchallengeable truths. Thus, business and political leaders in the United 
States and other developed capitalist countries routinely defend their 
efforts to expand the WTO and secure new agreements like the Free Trade 
Area of the Americas (FTAA) as necessary to ensure a brighter future for 
the world’s people, especially those living in poverty.

For example, Renato Ruggiero, the first Director-General of the WTO, 
declared that WTO liberalization efforts have “the potential for 
eradicating global poverty in the early part of the next [twenty-first] 
century—a utopian notion even a few decades ago, but a real possibility 
today.”1 Similarly, writing shortly before the December 2005 WTO 
ministerial meeting in Hong Kong, William Cline, a senior fellow for the 
Institute for International Economics, claimed that “if all global trade 
barriers were eliminated, approximately 500 million people could be lifted 
out of poverty over 15 years....The current Doha Round of multilateral 
trade negotiations in the World Trade Organization provides the best single 
chance for the international community to achieve these gains.”2

Therefore, if we are going to mount an effective challenge to the 
neoliberal globalization project, we must redouble our efforts to win the 
“battle of ideas.” Winning this battle requires, among other things, 
demonstrating that neoliberalism functions as an ideological cover for the 
promotion of capitalist interests, not as a scientific framework for 
illuminating the economic and social consequences of capitalist dynamics. 
It also requires showing the processes by which capitalism, as an 
international system, undermines rather than promotes working class 
interests in both third world and developed capitalist countries.

full: http://www.monthlyreview.org/0406hart-landsberg.htm

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