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A Brief History of Neoliberalism [Paperback]

David Harvey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

18 Jan 2007
Neoliberalism - the doctrine that market exchange is an ethic in itself, capable of acting as a guide for all human action - has become dominant in both thought and practice throughout much of the world since 1970 or so.
Its spread has depended upon a reconstitution of state powers such that privatization, finance, and market processes are emphasized. State interventions in the economy are minimized, while the obligations of the state to provide for the welfare of its citizens are diminished. David Harvey, author of 'The New Imperialism' and 'The Condition of Postmodernity', here tells the political-economic story of where neoliberalization came from and how it proliferated on the world stage. While Thatcher and Reagan are often cited as primary authors of this neoliberal turn, Harvey shows how a complex of forces, from Chile to China and from New York City to Mexico City, have also played their part. In addition he explores the continuities and contrasts between neoliberalism of the Clinton sort and the recent turn towards neoconservative imperialism of George W. Bush. Finally, through critical engagement with this history, Harvey constructs a framework not only for analyzing the political and economic dangers that now surround us, but also for assessing the prospects for the more socially just alternatives being advocated by many oppositional movements.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (18 Jan 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199283273
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199283279
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

David Harvey has produced an extraordinary book that is both informative and daring in its analsis. (Ionnis Hlinavos, Development and Change)

[An] impressive, condensed history of neo-liberalism...The many strengths of A Brief History of Neoliberalism cannot be adequately conveyed in this short space (Labour/Le Travail)

Book Description

Shortlisted for the Inaugural International Political Economy Group Annual Book Prize --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
For any way of thought to become dominant, a conceptual apparatus has to be advanced that appeals to our intuitions and instincts, to our values and our desires, as well as to the possibilities inherent in the social world we inhabit. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The history of the present 9 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can't add much to what previous reviewers have said.

Their reviews, however, date from a few years ago. I have read 'A Brief History of Neoliberalism' in the first months of the Con-Dem coalition government in the UK. Listening to the speeches of government ministers and their justifications for their actions and reading Harvey at the same time brought on an uneasy feeling for they were articulating, almost verbatim, the logic of neoliberalism as explained by Harvey. Without, of course, the analysis of what lies beneath their ideological mania and the wholesale enrichment of the financial elite via the mechanism of crisis.

Also, I'd point out that Harvey predicted the financial crisis that eventually occured and foresaw the responses from the global capitalist class that have, indeed, been implemented.

Not so much a history book as a book about the present and the future.

Brilliant. Read it.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Augusto Pinochet - these are the famous faces of neoliberalism, the economic (and, to some extent, philosophical) doctrine that advocates unregulated capitalism, free trade, small government (and hence low taxation) and the marketization of virtually every aspect of life. In this book, David Harvey does a good job of analysing the resurrection and rehabilitation of neoliberalism in the mid/late 1970s (with Paul Volocker at the US Federal Reserve Board, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Deng Xiaoping's acension to the leadership in China); and he brings it right up to today, as China steams ahead in economic expansion and outsourcing of jobs becomes an evermore noticable aspect of dislocation in 'the West'.
Essentially, Harvey's thesis is that neoliberalism is a form of class war: it involves a massive transfer of wealth from the developing/underdeveloped world to the developed world. When neoliberalism threatens ruling class power, Harvey argues, the rules of the game suddenly change: neoliberalism departs from classical liberal economic theory to safeguard ruling interests. An example includes the fact that the IMF intervened in the Russian currency crisis in 1997-8 to save Western investors from having to suffer bad debts: such intervention took the form of foisting painful 'restructuring' programmes on the Russian economy, which manifested itself in massive cuts in public expenditure (public employment, social welfare provision etc.). Under classical liberal economic theory, the investors should have suffered the bad debts, while the IMF should have helped the Russian government manage its currency difficulties without drastic cuts in public provision.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Rolf Dobelli TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
This is an essential, thought-provoking book for anyone engaged in international business, the media, corporate strategy and governance. It fills the gaps between what you see in the media and what you experience as a citizen and businessperson by very ably explaining the theory and practice of neoliberalism. This philosophy has largely replaced liberalism as a popular political doctrine. The results are not very impressive from a democratic perspective, according to this analysis by author David Harvey. Armed with a different perspective and interesting sources, he puts neoliberal political thought and practice into its modern context, in everything from foreign policy, to how the media (led by Fox News) presents events, to the emergence of the new super wealthy class built on huge profits raked in by select corporations. He dedicates a chapter to the way this policy has worked in China, and frequently cites its effects in other countries. We think this well-documented short book makes it easier for readers to understand contemporary events and recommends it to business strategists, media professionals and concerned world citizens.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding book 16 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A Brief History of Neoliberalism is a short classic. Very clear, concise and brilliantly argued with copious supporting evidence. Harvey dissects the advance of neoliberalism from the crises of the 1970s to its triumph after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Harvey's lectures on Marxism are justly famous for their clarity and this is also a defining feature of his writing. Thoroughly recommended for anyone wishing to understand the politics of contemporary world capitalism and its relationship to national states.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting the facts right 30 Mar 2013
By Stella
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Everyone knows the world's just not right. But very few know exactly why. This book is a REAL eye opener, and gives you all the info you need to understand the world you live in, including the global financial crisis, which is just a by-product of the socio-economic system we have, and the deep psychological premises it is built on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the area 28 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good introduction to the area of neoliberalism, this coming from someone who has diddly squat knowledge on the area. It's hard going at first but when you get passed the first chapter or so, you just sort of roll through it. Well written, seems well researched to me.

Only thing was my copy came with writing in it, which I wasn't pleased about as it was meant to be 'very good condition'.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Keen observations, interesting to read in hindsight
Good book, well written and many keen observations are made.

You can agree or disagree, but the book will challenge your way of thinking and explain why that's the case... Read more
Published 2 months ago by CasualReader
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Comprehensive and detailed in empirical analysis and theoretical interplay. Accessibility in style to most who are interested in this topic.. Excellent.
Published 4 months ago by Jim Pey
3.0 out of 5 stars Good introductory book
If you know anything about politics or economics, you find this book give nothing new. It is still a good book which David has put a lot of research into.
Published 5 months ago by David Howie
5.0 out of 5 stars How the economic dupe continues and the superficiality of 'democracy'...
Clear, concise and digestible account of how Neoliberalism became the 'modern common sense'! I'm still working my way through it
but his global approach is very interesting.
Published 6 months ago by Brenda Pey
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book.
A cutting indictment of modern economic practices from the eminent Prof. Harvey. deeply interesting, and whilst concise, builds an enquiry of some depths into the truth of the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by geoff
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent in every particular
If anyone has ever been in an argument against a proponent of neoliberal ideology and felt they needed a little more ammunition, then this book is a veritable magazine. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Shaun Wilde
4.0 out of 5 stars good introductory text to neoliberalism
A brief review to go with a brief history. David Harvey, one of the world's leading social scientists, details the dominant political ideology shaping a number of Western... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Rob Kitchin
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
The item arrived well before the delivery date, and it was in perfect conditions. I thank the seller for the excellent work!
Published on 1 Oct 2011 by Ms. E. Baglioni
5.0 out of 5 stars frighteningly prescient
I read this book this week and, although it was written pre-2008 credit crisis, it has remarkable foresight in explaining this week's Greek debt solution as the latest example of... Read more
Published on 2 July 2011 by J. L. Papworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant analysis
It may be familiar, but the way the forces of evil have sucked wealth away from the rest of us is clearly laid out here. Read more
Published on 7 Jun 2011 by C. F. Boyle
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