Neoliberalism is a Political Project- interview with David Harvey

Thanks to David Harvey, your girl was able to grasp the concept of ~neoliberalism~ which I never thought possible

therefore I thought I’d share notes on an interview (you can find it here) so without further adoooooo:

  • neoliberalism a political project carried out by corporate capitalist class to curb increasing power of labour (working ppl) late 60s-70s
  • 60s-70s:
    • revolutionary movements across the world
    • communist influences
    • trade unions in US forcing reforms and initiatives that were anti-corporate and empowering labour e.g. Environmental Protection Agency
    • corporate capitalist class economic wealth and influence declining
  • organised think tanks to produce research on economics to influence and infiltrate universities w/ new pro-capitalist ideas
    • universities have now been taken over by neoliberal projects surrounding them

nl policies worked to weaken labour power by:

  • + unemployment by moving jobs offshore to where low-wage labour was (lowered tariffs – taxes on imports, encouraged ease of movement of capital)
  • privatisation (transferring business from public ownership to ownership of private companies, so less regulation and commitment to state policies) -> unemployment (private companies can do as they pls with workers)
  • + automation and robotization, also + unemployment
  • (basically they’re trying to make workers feel so vulnerable in their positions, they stop fighting against exploitation in fear of losing their jobs etc)


  • 1970s-80s
    • corporate capitalist class become unified, want a political force to represent them, capture the Republican Party
    • Supreme Court makes decisions that allow corporate capitalist class to buy elections more easily e.g. could contribute financially to political campaigns as ‘form of free speech’.
    • massive resistance from labour during neoliberal push, died out by end of 80s, labour had lost its power


  • 1980s: World Bank and International Monetary Fund (Western institutions that aim to raise living standards in their member countries- the IMF focuses on macroeconomic issues and the World Bank concentrates on long-term economic development and poverty reduction) decided IMF should implement structural adjustments in response to crises (structural adjustments=  loans given to countries in economic crises in the condition that in return, these countries must implement neoliberal policies that open up their economy with policies such as reducing state laws that protect labour, to encourage foreign investment from the West, reduce gov spending on public services (austerity), in the name of poverty reduction)
  • These policies can be detrimental e.g. Mexico suffered 25% loss of standard of living in four years after implementation of structural adjustment policies- happening in Greece now- bailed out banks with loans, making people pay through austerity measures


  • unity of corporate capitalist class not as strong as 1970s, tend to go their own ways because of varying politics. Plus, labour has been weakened so there’s no need for them to be in solidarity and work together anymore


  • past dominant mode of production mirrors the type of opposition it faces e.g. the previous Fordist mode of production (organised mass production and mass consumption via the use of linear production line), its mirror image a large centralised trade union movement and centralist political parties (centralism= concentration of power and control in central authority of an organisation) 
  • current dominant mode of production during neoliberal times is flexible accumulation, how corporations utilise flexible strategies (under neoliberalism) via globalisation for profit, rather than on a simple production line like Fordism. Mirror image= movement that is decentralised, non-hierarchical, autonomous, networking -> in turn, this is reinforcing neoliberalism
  • (I found the last two points really interesting ok back to the studio)
  • before, the struggle would take place at the point of production, capital vs labour. Now its struggles over quality of urban life- less clear class configuration compared to before, unclear opposition



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