Climate-ABC: Neoliberalization

Neoliberalization is an economic and political process that has both social and ecological consequences.

Its origin lies in classical liberalism. As an ideology, it therefore also follows the utopia of free markets, supplemented by a regulatory state. The role of the state, however, is not to intervene in the economy itself, but rather to maintain its order. Coupled with globalization, this process can be observed continuously and globally. Neoliberalism is one of the most powerful ideologies since the 20th century.
One paradigm of neoliberalism is that unlimited economic growth leads to prosperity in society, free markets regulate themselves and increase this prosperity in the long run. One consequence of economic policy is that the state no longer deals with commandments and prohibitions. Rather, it should safeguard the principles of liberalism, such as private property, freedom of competition, freedom of prices and freedom of trade. In addition, the state can create incentives to open markets. Examples of neoliberal policies include the privatization of public space and common goods. In addition, neoliberalism relies on the personal responsibility of the individual and thus also intervenes in our private lives. Self-optimization and individualistic thinking are thus promoted. At this point, political content in turn creates the basis and also incentives for self-optimization.
There is much criticism of the basic considerations as well as the ecological and social consequences of implementing neoliberalism. The social consequences include an increase in individualism, nationalist thinking, and a rise in socioeconomic inequality. From an ecological perspective, the growth paradigm in particular leads to the loss of biodiversity and the exploitation of finite resources. The political scientist Margit Mayer criticizes its growth paradigm as unbounded, since it cannot find a self-set end. This is where the growth criticism comes in. Neoliberalization thus contributes significantly to climate change. (Social) scientists* therefore demand development strategies based on the principles of sustainability and distributive justice (keyword: post-growth).

Brenner, N., Peck, J., & Theodore, N. (09 2010). After Neoliberalization? Globalizations Vol. 7 No.3, S. 327-345.

Mayer, M. (2013). Urbane Soziale Bewegungen in der neoliberalisierenden Stadt. sub\urban. zeitschrift für kritische stadtforschung. Heft 1, S. 155-168.

Schulz, C. (2012). Zur Diskussion. Post-Wachstums-Ökonomien – (k)ein Thema für die Wirtschaftsgeographie? Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 56, S. 264-273.