Neoliberalism is often seen as a derogatory term given to its supporters because opponents use it to highlight the ills of global capitalism and decadent consumer culture. As the name suggests, it is a revival of Liberalism. The ideology states that the state should be kept to a minimum in the lives of the people to allow the most freedom to the individual. Neoliberalism is also closely linked with Laissez-faire economy principles. For Neoliberals, the self-regulating market is very important because if this assumption is false then there would be a bigger role for government.
Neoliberalism tries to embrace the classical liberal views but is more willing to let government have a part to play. Government is useful for regulating the market and is important for things like consumer protection. The goal of neoliberals is to create governments and structures that allow the people to be as free as possible NOT the overall dismissal or monopoly of government that some other political ideologies would promote. In this way, it is a departure from old Keynesianism which sought to increase the power and influence of government in the market. However, government must have some part in the public’s life for any of the liberal goals to be achieved.
Neoliberalism should not be confused with Libertarianism which is a political ideology very close to classical Liberalism that wants little or no government intervention in the publics dealings.