Monday, May 21, 2012

Eastern Europe's neoliberal disaster provides a warning for the Arab spring


This article of mine appears on The Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: Rather than help enhance democracy and reduce corruption, following western advice on privatisation does the exact opposite.

I wonder if David Cameron spent any time in eastern Europe in the 1990s.

Judging from his recent remarks about the Arab spring and international aid, the British prime minister seems to believe that having a more "open" and "free", ie privately owned, economy is the key to both economic development and a successful transition from one-party rule.

The evidence from the former communist countries gives lie to that neoliberal viewpoint.

You can read the whole article here

14 comments:

Vladimir Gagic said...

The real genius of the neoliberals is that they convinced the world that the more unfettered private industry is (unregulated stock markets, etc) the more political freedom that nation has.

Before it was free markets work better which leads to prosperity. When that turned out be a lie, now it's you can't have political freedom without unregulated markets.

Neil Clark said...

Hi Vladimir,

Great to hear from you.

Absolutely agreed. Neoliberals are the new totalitarians: they tell us that having unregulated stock markets, a privatised economy and global free trade is the only way- that all other alternatives are either 'unworkable' or 'extreme'- and that includes the mixed economy system which worked very well (for the majority) in the thirty or so years after WW2.

Neil Clark said...

But of course, a few people have benefited from neoliberalism.

From: 'American Dream, Global Nightmare' Sardar & Wynn Davies.

'In 1973 the typical corporate CEO received 40 times the income of the average worker. By 2000 this disparity ranged from 190 times to 419 times average earnings. In the same period the lowest two quintiles have seen their income actually decline'.

Isn't neoliberalism wonderful?

Vladimir Gagic said...

If I may just say Neil, before I found your blog I had idea what neoliberalism was.

Originally, I followed your blog because what you had written about Serbia and the interventionists, but now I follow it because of how sad it is the once great American middle democracy is no longer.

I hope more working class people across the world discover your blog and enlighten themselves on the dangers of extreme capitalists and social Darwinists.

Also, it's absolutely great news that neoliberalism seems to have hit a wall now in Argentina, and in the Balkans with Syriza and Nikolic doing so well.

Let's hope Americans finally realize the truth too!

Neil Clark said...

Hi Vladimir,

Cheers, many thanks.

The vast majority of ordinary Americans have been shafted by neoliberalism, like the vast majority of ordinary people the world over.

But as you say, the fightback against the rule of international finance capital is well underway!

brian said...

Freedom liberty and free and words the right like to use to lead the sheep. that 'free' here means freedom from govt oversight leading to banking collapses or farmer suicides doesnt occur to the believers

K Naylor said...

Hi Neil,

I'm back in England in Reading. I have a new blog called the Reading Journal where I aim to deal more directly with British Isles issues with a view now to engaging in active civil participation.And I intend to cause a stir as much as I can as I'm irate about what has happened to Britain in the past few decades.

On this subject John Gray wrote a brilliant piece written by a an Old High Tory, Ferdinand Mount, criticising the New Neoliberal Oligarchy. Gray , in his review writes,

'In 2008, the highest-paid boss of a multinational corporation in Britain received the equivalent of the pay received by 1,374 average workers at the company’s headquarters. Many other chief executives received hundreds of times the wages of their average employee. Yet there has been no public outcry. Though there has been nothing like them for generations, extreme inequalities of these kinds have come to be accepted as normal

The rest is here

http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/culture/2012/04/review-new-few-ferdinand-mount

All the best,

Karl

Neil Clark said...

Hi Brian: Absolutely. When neoliberals talk about 'freedom', what they really mean is the 'freedom' for international finance capital to rip us all off.

Hi Karl: great to hear from you after quite a while. All the v.best of luck with the new blog.
Many thanks for the link, John Gray is excellent.

Wherever neoliberalism is imposed, one sees this massive divide opening up.

brian said...

off topic but FYI

did you know?

israeli land thieves benefit from Save Darfur charity!
You donate money to what you think is a good cause fronted by stars like George Clooney...do you ever wonder where that money goes?
http://www.countercurrents.org/mountain090310.htm

so this is how one gets rich?

Maidhc Ó Cathail said...

A timely warning, thanks. Check out an influential Israeli's neoliberal plans for the Middle East: http://thepassionateattachment.com/2012/05/27/israels-free-market-solution-for-the-middle-east/

brian said...

off topic but FYI:

BBC News uses ‘Iraq photo to illustrate Syrian massacre’
May 27, 2012 by Kristen
Filed under Media
Leave a Comment
Photographer Marco di Lauro said he nearly “fell off his chair” when he saw the image being used, and said he was “astonished” at the failure of the corporation to check their sources.
The picture, which was actually taken on March 27, 2003, shows a young Iraqi child jumping over dozens of white body bags containing skeletons found in a desert south of Baghdad.
It was posted on the BBC news website today under the heading “Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows”.
The caption states the photograph was provided by an activist and cannot be independently verified, but says it is “believed to show the bodies of children in Houla awaiting burial”.
A BBC spokesman said the image has now been taken down
http://deadlinelive.info/2012/05/27/bbc-news-uses-iraq-photo-to-illustrate-syrian-massacre/
BBC was not prepared to let go a photo they claim was unverified…why post at all? Who are these 'activists'? SOHR

BBC fakes news:

'A few hours ago the BBC posted a story on its website (Middle East section) entitled Syria massacre in Houla condemned as outrage grows. The latest update is given as 04.40 GMT. It has some rather unremarkable graphics – a photo of a UN observer witnessing bodies in sheets and a map showing the location of Houla, near Homs.

However, a friend of Joud’s was smart enough to take a screenshot of an earlier version of this story. Then he/she did some homework – and discovered the dramatic image which it featured prominently was in fact a photo from Iraq dating from several years ago (according to the associated image data, May 2003). It’s featured as image no 52 on this webpage. The accompanying text makes it clear the bodies had been removed from a mass grave.
http://sydwalker.info/blog/2012/05/27/houla-horror-truth-is-elusive-lies-are-easier-to-spot/

we can thank the BBC for confirming by their lies that the Syrian govt did not do Houla

Tony Cartalucci has a follow up:
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/houla-stunt-proves-old-tricks-are-best.html

Neil Clark said...

brian & Maidhc: many thanks for yr comments and links.

brian said...

FYI
Von Braun
I just saw this video on youtube and I am completely shocked.
A radical islamic cleric giving permission and inciting the terrorist group FSA to murder women and children. See for yourselves.
http://youtu.be/TeRTJi29ktk
(not that they have needed permission!)
heres one time we can thank MEMRI!

brian said...

FYI
what really happened in Houla:
Syria: Translation of the experiences by ANNA journalist Marat Musin near the Syrian city of Homs.

The following text is the translation of a blog entry of the ANNA News journalist Marat Musin, who was in the region of al-Houla (Houla/Hula – near the Syrian city of Homs) last week and who has own experiences how the horrible “Houla massacre” in Syria happened and who is behind the violent and horrible massacre near Homs.

The translation about the own investigations of the journalist Marat Musin, together with Olga Kulygina, about the massacre in al-Houla (al-Houleh/al-Hula) was made with best intentions, you can find the original text of Marat Musin (ANNA News) about the horrible events in Syria at the end of the translation.

As you can see, the explanations and descriptions about the “Hula massacre” (Houla massacre) differ, but considering that Marat Musin has been near al Rastan and the location of the horrible massacre, which was not the only massacre, carried out by armed groups last week in Syria, the question remains:

Why is the UN Human Rights Council not interested in using the information of this journalist Marat Musin and Olga Kulygina for the so-called investigations of the “Houla massacre”, but relies on the typical sources like phone calls with the Syrian opposition members and so on (more information)?
etc
http://www.syrianews.cc/syria-journalist-houla-massacre-703.html