Summary of Neoliberalism

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Neoliberalism summary

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Since the 1980s, neoliberalism has been the dominant ideology permeating the public policies of governments and international institutions around the world. Yet neoliberalism stands for more than a series of economic policies. Journalist Stephen Metcalf argues neoliberalism is a world view – complete with a prescription for how to organize society and the role of individuals in it. For Metcalf, neoliberal policies' failure to promote broad-based economic prosperity has led to a surge in populism. getAbstract recommends Metcalf’s thought-provoking essay to those interested in how an economic theory can shape societies.

About the Author

Stephen Metcalf is a journalist based in New York and the host of Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast.


Neoliberalism is the brainchild of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992). In 1936, he developed the notion that the market was an omniscient mind that contained the totality of all human knowledge. He believed that by having self-interested individuals compete freely in the market, the market would reveal what is most valuable. The market thus converts individual tastes and values into prices, which Hayek considered “objective facts.” For Hayek, the market was the only vehicle of truth, while the subjective “truths” of individual humans were mere “opinions.”

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