Monday, 31 January 2011

IIPPE Panel Session: Have We Ever Been Neoliberal?

The Neoliberalism Working Group of the IIPPE is seeking to put together a panel/stream proposal for the 2nd International IIPPE Conference in Istanbul in May.

[UPDATE: 06 May 2011 - unfortunately this session has now been cancelled]

We are looking for interested people; e.g. presenters, discussants, etc. Please get in touch with me (keanbirch@gmail.com) if you would like to be involved.

Panel Session Abstract

Neoliberalism has become a catch-all term for many ‘bad’ things from loose financial regulations through corporate malfeasance to trade liberalisation. Furthermore, different manifestations and a diverse array of policies, politics and political-economies have been characterised as neoliberal. Consequently there have been a number of attempts to define and delineate neoliberalism theoretically. On the one hand, these attempts have proved conceptually fruitful for understanding the transformative potential and actuality of recent economic restructuring. On the other hand, they have meant that we cannot identify a single form of neoliberalism or neoliberal restructuring; rather we have to identify varieties of neoliberalism or variegated neoliberal restructuring. What these theoretical discussions highlight is a series of ambiguities, tensions and contradictions in the definition of neoliberalism. For example, between the erosion (or even subversion) of the national state and its continuing role in (dis)organising the global economy; between the institutionalisation of monetarism as a state strategy and the need to maintain high public spending and public debt; between the role of the state as lender of last resort and as facilitator of asset price bubbles; and, between the curtailment of real wages in an economy dependent on consumption and rising personal debt alongside a financialised system for welfare (e.g. pensions). How are these issues to be rationalised in light of the theoretical arguments regarding the neoliberalisation of our economies over the last 30-40 years?

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