Friday, December 11, 2009

Critical Response to Neoliberal Globalization

In this interesting article, Potomaki and Teivainen question the political-economic theory of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism (in my opinion) is similar to the neo-classical theory of political economy; that is, restraints on economic systems (i.e. government) should be drastically reduced, therefore citizens of the world would be able to more easily make decisions and profit, or something like that. Neoliberalism seems very similar to cosmopolitan democracy. According to a well-cited Wikipedia article,in cosmopolitan democracy, "decisions should be made by the citizens that are influenced by them, avoiding to have a single hierarchical form of authority." That is, decisions should be made by the people rather than governments; the people should control the economy (in a capitalistic sense).

Neoliberalistic political economy has been tried in parts of the world, perhaps most notably in Latin America, with mixed results (leaning heavily towards failure). However, it is obvious that in the countries where neoliberalism was implemented, the societies were not free (e.g. Pinochet's Chile). One could also object that other nations did not have policies of neoliberalism, but is this necessary for a neoliberal political economy to work...? In many countries that have had neoliberal political economies, the economic gap between rich and poor has/had widened, which is contradictory to the theory's intent.

Here's an (semi-) unrelated question: what will the effects of globalization be on things like copyright law? Will copyright and patent law become (increasingly) internationalized/globalized?

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