What is Neoliberalism?

Well, you know; something about a Washington Consensus and following from this a USA inspired development ideology which was especially prevalent in the latter part of the 1980s in debt littered Latin American economies (most notably Mexico) and which was deployed by the IMF and World Bank as an of the shelf remedy to push emerging markets towards sustainable economic development throughout the 1990s. Well, this at least is one way in which Neoliberalism is often characterized in international economics and politics but as with most things the devil is in the detail and on that note Emmanuel from International Political Economy Zone has a nice note up on the varies ways Neoliberalism is defined and conceptualized.

David Brooks' recent column in the New York Times has set off a controversy in the blogosphere over whether, indeed, neoliberalism is "dead." It appears to me that much of the confusion arises because neoliberalism is defined in various ways. In particular, the rest of the world seems to understand the term differently from how it used in America. In this post, I will offer an explanation that may clarify the matter. To be sure, not everyone will agree with me, but I'd like to chip in my two cents' worth as it may help others grasp the term better.