[Marxism] Edward S. Herman - Neoliberalism and Bottom-Line Morality

Dbachmozart at aol.com Dbachmozart at aol.com
Sat Dec 6 19:41:11 MST 2008

Neoliberalism and Bottom-Line Morality
Notes on Greenspan, Rubin, and the Party of  Davos
December, 01  2008 By Edward S. Herman 
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>From the Reagan era onward I have been  impressed with how regularly liberal 
and left-leaning economists I knew, who  went to work in industry and finance, 
very soon became pro-business, anti-labor,  and politically right wing. I 
think that what got to them was not only the  impact of association with 
businesspeople, but the fact that business  profitability became central to their own 
performance. As business economists,  wage increases would seem bad—as 
encroaching on that profitability and  threatening inflation and business growth (and 
stock prices). Tough  environmental rules would also hamper profitability; 
their relaxation by law or  friendly (non-)enforcement would enhance it. It was 
therefore easy to slide into  what we may call "bottom-line morality," with 
positions on key issues dictated  by prospective bottom line effects, but of 
course rationalized with an ideology  that made this all benevolent—in the long 
run—and made these bottom-line  moralists into Good Samaritans as they 
collected their fat salaries and bonuses  while the vast majority waited for 
trickle-down. (On the fraudulence of this  ideology, see David Harvey, A Brief History 
of Neoliberalism, and  Ha-Joon Chang, Bad Samaritans.)
With the steady increase in business's  economic and political power over the 
past 30 years and the parallel decline of  organized labor, neoliberal 
(market-can-do-it-all) ideology has become even more  firmly entrenched in 
establishment thought and practice. The novelist Ayn Rand,  most famously the author of 
Atlas Shrugged, was an extreme proponent of  individualist, free enterprise, 
anti-government ideology, and it is no  coincidence that one of her cult 
admirers and associates, Alan Greenspan, became  a leading member of the 
policy-making elite in the 1980s and into  2006. 
full -  _http://zcommunications.org/zmag/viewArticle/19835_ 

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