Neoliberalism and the New World Order

Remember those old communist countries, where you could vote for anything you liked, as long as it was communist? Here in Britain we can vote for anything we like as long as it’s neoliberalism.

Everybody knows

Everybody knows there’s something wrong with the world but nobody can say what it is.

We've got people going hungry in the UK for the first time in nearly a century; wages are falling and living standards are in decline; our schools are failing, our National Health Service is being privatised, the retirement age is rising, child benefit is means tested and large numbers of our young people are finishing their education massively in debt.

£50,000 used to buy you a decent house not all that long ago. These days it doesn't even buy you an education, something we once got for free.

Everyone is blaming everyone else. The Tories blame Labour. Labour blames the Tories. Britain First blames the immigrants. The English Defence League blames the Muslims. The bosses blame the Trade Unions. The people blame the politicians. The politicians blame the economy.

No one knows what to do.

Meanwhile the rich are getting richer and we’re involved in our sixth war since 1991.

Insane

Just to list them for you, in case you've forgotten:-

  1. In 1991 we invaded Iraq. On false pretences, it was later revealed, as Saddam was suing for peace and had agreed to leave Kuwait. That part of the story never gets repeated in the mainstream media for some reason. Prior to that Saddam had been our ally. It was George H. W. Bush who first used the term "The New World Order" in the run up to the first Gulf War.
  2. In 1998 we intervened in the War in Kosovo. That was the first of the wars of “Humanitarian Intervention” which meant, basically, that there was no Security Council resolution backing our action, which meant that it was against international law and strictly illegal; we intervened anyway, in defiance of international law. This was the New World Order showing its face.
  3. Also in 1998 we bombed Iraq again, on the basis of those Weapons of Mass Destruction which later turned out not to exist.
  4. In 2001 we invaded Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York. This was despite the fact that not one of the 9/11 attackers was from Afghanistan, or that anyone living in Afghanistan was ever shown to have had any part in the attacks. This included Osama bin Laden, who always denied having had anything to do with 9/11. He was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List for many years, but they never claimed that he was involved in the 9/11 atrocity.
  5. In 2003, of course, we were part of that clinically insane “Coalition of the Willing” which invaded Iraq: probably one of the most disastrous military interventions in the whole of human history. The only other countries involved in it were the United States, Australia and Poland. There was never any Security Council resolution for this war so, once more, it was illegal. It was also, according to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) “a strategic failure” and was directly responsible for the increase of radicalism of young Muslims in the UK. In other words, we illegally invaded another country in order to counteract the threat of international terrorism and, in the process, greatly increased international terrorism. We used the excuse of a threat to our national security which didn't exist, and by this act created a threat to our national security which is now all too real. If this isn't "clinically insane” then I don't know what is.
  6. We were also involved in the war in Sierra Leone between 1991 and 2002 and, as well as the latest war in Iraq, we have cheered on or supported conflicts in Darfur, Somalia, Gaza, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan and Syria.

There’s always enough money for war it seems, but never enough for a decent standard of living for the population.

 John Heartfield: 'The Meaning of the Hitler Salute. The Little Man Asks for Big Gifts. Millions Stand Behind Me' 1932
John Heartfield: 'The Meaning of the Hitler Salute. The Little Man Asks for Big Gifts. Millions Stand Behind Me' 1932

Back to the 30s

Sometimes it feels like we’re back in the 30s. Same economic depression. Same crazy fanaticism. Same thunder of war echoing on the horizon. But whereas in the 30s it was the Nazis invading other people’s countries, these days it’s us.

I remember reading in the history books that it was the Second World War that got us out of the Great Depression. Actually that’s only partly true. What also got us out of the Great Depression was legislation to curb the excesses of capitalism which had lead us into the Great Depression in the first place.

The post-war boom was built on the financial architecture of the Bretton Woods Agreement, which, amongst other things, regulated the flow of speculative capital. Bretton Woods was also at one time referred to as "the New World Order". It's been a common phrase down the years.

In place of the free-for-all of the 1920s, we had an international economic framework which oversaw the market, controlling it by various legally enforceable means. Together with the so-called “post-war consensus”, which saw the creation of the National Health Service, the welfare state and the nationalisation of key strategic industries, this lead to more than 30 years of stability in the economy and an unprecedented rise in living standards for the majority of people in this country.

As Harold Macmillan famously remarked, we’d “never had it so good”.

Unfortunately, it also lead to a limit to the amount of profits the corporations could make, so in the late 1970s a new economic philosophy was unveiled. It effectively ripped up the post-war consensus and unleashed financial speculation on the world again.

We called it “Thatcherism” here in the UK. In the United States it was known as “Reaganomics”.

It has gone by many names over the years. Monetarism. Free-market economics. Supply-side economics.

George Bush senior, in a rare lucid moment, referred to it as “Voodoo Economics”.

The current preferred term is “neoliberalism”.

It is the idea that if we privatise everything everyone will be better off.

The basis of the argument is that when we hand over our public services to private contractors, those private contractors are more efficient. And that is true of course. In order to make a profit private industry drives down costs. It does this by driving down wages and conditions, by making less people do more work. Ultimately, then, it impoverishes the vast majority of people in an industry in order to make money for the people who own it. Fewer people are better off, while more people are worse off, and in the end, the whole of society is impoverished by this process.

All the major parties subscribe to the neoliberal agenda, including Ukip.

Remember those old communist countries, where you could vote for anything you liked, as long as it was communist? Here in Britain we can vote for anything we like as long as it’s neoliberalism.

So what’s that thing that’s wrong with the world that nobody can put a name to?

I’ll give you a clue. You have no choice. You can’t vote for anything else.

© 2014 CJStone

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Comments 17 comments

CJStone profile image

CJStone 23 months ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks Bo. Glad you agree with me.


Kimb8094 profile image

Kimb8094 23 months ago from United States

Ain't no catching up when we're caught in a cycle - time to break down the walls. ;) Nice article man, voted up.


Brie Hoffman profile image

Brie Hoffman 23 months ago from Manhattan

We need a "French Revolution"


CJStone profile image

CJStone 23 months ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks for voting the article up Kimb. Glad you like it.

I agree Brie. We need to "Turn the World Upside Down" to use a good old English phrase.


Kimb8094 profile image

Kimb8094 23 months ago from United States

If the poles don't do that first haha... :P


CJStone profile image

CJStone 23 months ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Anywhere would be a good start. I think things are happening down in Argentina and in large parts of South America. Maybe the world is waking up at last. It's about time.


Bo Heamyan profile image

Bo Heamyan 23 months ago from Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

I couldn't agree more. Excellent article; voted up and shared.


Alan Dearling 23 months ago

Useful and thought-provoking as ever, Chris.

I'm not an overtly political animal, but I'm now without work after a reasonably productive career and many of my books sold (and hopefully read). it's a weird, sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful world, but us authors can help people understand it a bit better. I've been alerted to a new trade agreement the Transatlantic Trade and Investment partnership, TTIP for short, that looks like a new threat by corporations to world governance. One to be watched, methinks.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 23 months ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks for your comment Alan. Yes I know about the TTIP. It looks like we may be seeing the end of our democracies.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 23 months ago from Central Oklahoma

Chris, great hub, but this isn't the first time the obscenely greedy have tried to take over the world and succeeded. But only for awhile. The pendulum eventually swings back in the other direction, and there are signs this is already happening.

Sorry to hear about the privatization of NHS. Very sad. Here in America we already know what a bad idea privatization of medical care is for everybody but the coprorations that rake in the profits from it.


chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 23 months ago from Wakefield, West Yorkshire,UK

I agree with some of your points and thank you for raising the issues. As an ex miner I know all about Mrs T and her cronies. Greed is good, let's get on the bandwagon and bugger the rest. Communities here in the north have never recovered. And now we import millions of tons of coal. Yippee!! The market rules. The market also doesn't give a damn about the downtrodden.

Here in the UK it's true that the working class and the poor have been neglected - same in the US according to the figures - and I'm disappointed with the Labour party for deserting these needy people. Dickens will be turning in his grave at the thought of a modern day food bank. Disgrace. But we live in strange techno times. Many people have lost moral fibre I think, dissipated by broken family life, techno toys and glitzy celebrity. But that's another subject completely.....

As for the recent interventions (I think war is too strong a word).... there are certain decisions that have to be made in real time by heads of democratically elected governments and which, with sweet hindsight, turn out to be mistakes or bad judgement. But in the UK and US we elect representatives to make decisions on behalf of the majority and whatever the outcome we have to go with this. Same for the UN. Having free speech means we can always protest - but free speech exists only because of what our ancestors fought for. And many died for. The freedoms to protest, to vote and to individuality are rights we should always cherish an defend.

We should never ever forget this maxim: If not you who, if not now when?

The lessons from the NAZI years have taught us to always be on high alert when dictators or extremists raise their ugly heads. Yes, we've invaded soveriegn countries, yes we've gone in without any long term plan, yes the situation may get worse before it gets better but just think of the consequences of no action, of fatal delay.

Can we ignore groups like the Taliban , who execute women for wanting an education, who shoot schoolgirls and behead those who resist?

What about ISIS?

Should we have ignored Sadam Hussein?

Should we allow Assad to continue to torture anyone who protests against his barbaric regime?

Big business and the maxim 'profits for profits sake' disgusts me, yet we need jobs, innovation and progress. I hate the obscene tax evasion strategies of big companies yet we need their presence. I loathe war, yet who wants to see charity workers beheaded on video?


CJStone profile image

CJStone 23 months ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks JamaGenee, yes, they're trying to turn our NHS into a US style private insurance based model, but we are fighting it. You ask most people in the UK and they'll tell you that the NHS is one of the best things about this country. Unfortunately it doesn't provide profits for the corporations, so our politicians are intent on selling it off, which tells yu a lot about the state of our democracy.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 23 months ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks for your comments chef-de-jour.

In answer to your points may I quote Noam Chomsky: “Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.”

ISIS are a Saudi asset and have been arming it and funding it for years. Perhaps we should withdraw our support from Saudi Arabia? Saddam Hussein was a Western asset when he was attacking Iran and only became a monster when he attacked Western strategic interests. The United States has been either complicit, or directly involved with torture for years. Remember Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay? Perhaps we should start by getting our own house in order before we launch more fake wars based upon lies and propaganda.


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 23 months ago from Central Oklahoma

Chris, re your reply to chef-de-jour: AMEN! Like the UK, the U.S. has issues on its own shores that have needed to be dealt with for decades rather than sticking our nose in the problems of places halfway round the world. What we spend on bombs and military hardware in those places would fix a ton of failing bridges and antiquated infrastructure here, as well as relieve a lot of poverty. (Better yet, fund a national health care system and cut out privatized medicine altogether.) At least BigCorp hasn't managed to privatize Social Security and the U.S. Postal Service to get its hands on their huge piles of cash, but the TPP is still "iffy".

Our state and national elections are next Tuesday, and every American with a working brain is hoping the Rethugs' and the KochRoaches' attempts to buy the Senate and state governments will fail, otherwise we can kiss the last semblance of democracy goodbye.


Kay 23 months ago

Brilliant article. This actually helped comfort me for all those times that I doubted "knowing what I was on about" when I was against neoliberalism.

I would like see, if not myself, develop this argument and include the choice of anti-neoliberal parties (such as the Green Party) and their complete lack of media coverage by, funny enough, the privately owned corporations that run out major media outlets.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 20 months ago from United Kingdom

Great article indeed, but I wanted to point out that the term "new world order" was used well before Bush used it. Nicholas Murray Butler used it in his book, A World in Ferment, which was published in 1917. It was also used in the 1920 book, The New World Order by Frederick C Hicks and has been used several times since.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 20 months ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Thanks for that information sparkster. A lot of people use the term to describe the Illuminati conspiracy, but I think it just happens to be a convenient term for the idea of change. I might follow up you references and see if I can't write a longer piece.

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