Neo-liberalism Is a Myth

Slavoj ZizekFrom an interview with Slavoj Žiže, in Salon, October 11

…We live really in an era of ideology. Neo-liberalism, it’s a myth. The role of state apparatuses, state interventions in economy – they are more and more important. I saw a report on the state of Mali in Central Africa. They produce excellent cotton, and the price, of course, is low. They cannot make or break through – why not? Because United States, in subsidizing their own cotton farmers producing cotton, spends more money for helping their cotton farmers than the entire state budget of Mali.

I read a wonderful interview on CNN, years ago, with Mali’s Finance Minister, who said, “Please, we don’t need any socialist help. Give the market a chance. Don’t unfairly support your farmers, and Mali is saved economically.” And it was incredible, how the United States Ambassador in Mali answered this. She said, “It’s not as simple as that, there is also corruption, Mali, blah, blah, blah.” [The ambassador] was totally bullshitting. But I think that’s the reality of global capitalism. Everyone is violating the rules….

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3 responses to “Neo-liberalism Is a Myth

  1. Michael Gundy

    I fail to see Slavoj Žiže’s connection between neo-liberalism/liberalism and abusive self-serving agricultural policies. Somehow the linkage is as dubious as Irina Dunn’s remark “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

  2. At least explicitly, the excerpt seems to be less about ‘neo-liberalism as a myth’ per se and more about the veritable debate on the relative merits of ‘free trade’ versus ‘protectionism’. As the just concluded TPP trade negotiations testify, any country able to get away with it is prone to resort to
    some form of the latter, Canada included. Increasingly, however, this is a tougher deed to accomplish without invoking punitive counter-measures (i.e., anti-dumping and countervailing duties, among others).

  3. “Socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor” (Harrington I believe) describes the desired behaviour of the (hypocritical) neo-liberals. Their economic ‘philosophy’ just happens to support the very rich getting richer and the poor getting used to their place. I believe that’s what he’s referring to. NB: There might be a few neo-liberals who are not hypocritical. Anything’s possible.