From Neo-liberalism to Neo-feudalism

Cross-posted from Failed Evolution

The main substantive achievement of neoliberalism has been to redistribute, rather than to generate, wealth and income.

‘Accumulation by dispossession’, meaning the commodification and privatization of land and the forceful expulsion of peasant populations, conversion of various forms of property rights into exclusive private property rights; suppression of rights to the commons; colonial, neocolonial, and imperial processes of appropriation of assets including natural resources; and usury, the national debt and, most devastating of all, the use of the credit system as a radical means of accumulation by dispossession.

To this list of mechanisms we may now add a raft of techniques such as the extraction of rents from patents and intellectual property rights and the diminution of or erasure of various forms of communal property rights (such as state pensions, paid vacations, access to education and healthcare) won through a generation or more of class struggle.

The proposal to privatize all state pension rights (pioneered in Chile under the dictatorship) is, for example, one of the cherished objectives of the Republicans in the US.

The concept of Accumulation by dispossession, presented by the Marxist geographer David Harvey, defines the neoliberal capitalist policies in many western nations, from the 1970s and to the present day, as resulting in a centralization of wealth and power in the hands of a few by dispossessing the public of their wealth or land. These neoliberal policies are guided mainly by four practices: privatization, financialization, management and manipulation of crises, and state redistributions.

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