Neoliberalism/Archive 1 - Expanded Definition

Expanded Definition

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The meaning of neoliberalism has changed over time and come to mean different things to different groups. As a result, it is very hard to define. This is seen by the fact that authoritative sources on neoliberalism, such as Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, David Harvey and Noam Chomsky do not agree about the meaning of neoliberalism. This lack of agreement creates major problems in creating an unbiased and unambiguous definition of neoliberalism. This section aims to define neoliberalism more accurately and to show how its evolution has influenced the different uses of the word.

One of the first problems with the meaning of neoliberalism is that liberalism, on which it is based, is also very hard to describe. The uncertainty over the meaning of liberalism is commonly reflected in neoliberalism itself, and is the first serious point of confusion.

The second major problem with the meaning of neoliberalism is that neoliberalism went from being a purely theoretical ideology to become a practical and applied one. The 1970s onwards saw a surge in the acceptability of neoliberalism, and neoliberal governments swept in across the world, promising neoliberal reforms. However, governments did not always carry out their promised reforms, either through design or circumstances. This leads to the second serious point of confusion; namely, that most neoliberalism after this point isn't always ideologically neoliberal.

Read more about this topic:  Neoliberalism/Archive 1

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