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Neoliberalism, neoliberalization and the IMF

Neoliberalism, neoliberalization and the IMF

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Neoliberalism, neoliberalization and the IMF

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  1. Neoliberalism, neoliberalization and the IMF

  2. Neoliberalization: why is it a better concept? • Can it help us explain the contours of changes in the IMF?

  3. Peck: neoliberalization • Historically specific, utopian and incomplete process of regulatory change that • prioritizes market- oriented or market-disciplinary responses to regulatory problems; • it strives to intensify commodification; and • it often mobilizes speculative financial instruments to open up new arenas for capitalist profit making in • hybrid forms coming from inherited local forms of regulatory organization across different geographies in a • Form of continuation of the earlier project of classical liberalization from the times of British imperialism

  4. Neoliberalism and the state • ‘‘when state power was mobilized behind marketization and deregulation projects, aimed particularly at the central institutions of the Keynesian-welfarist settlement” (Peck and Tickell, 2002, p. 388).

  5. Adaptations/’systemic geoinstitutional differentiation” • Neoconservatism • Third Way • Islamism • China’s socialist market economy • German corporatism

  6. Polanyi’s pendulum • The markets were planned, the state was not

  7. No Berlin Wall for neoliberalism • Diluted bank regulation • Slimming welfare state and environmental programs • Cuts in services for the middle class • Tax hikes at the middle mostly • Permanent austerity via fiscal cliffs • Privatizations, copays • Conservative victories in politics plus radicalizations of market fundamentalism

  8. Why no Berlin Wall • “Flexible credo” (Hayek): Evolving, parasitic experimentation-dependent and crisis-dependent nature of neoliberalism. • You can’t have a Berlin Wall with a nimble process of governance. Because it does not exist as a monolithic totality, it cannot fail totally. Instead, it has an endless forward momentum powered by its free market utopia.

  9. Why no Berlin Wall in the IMF? Why no transition to bastard Keynesianism? • Expected Berlin Wall given the 2009 Independent Evaluation Office report of the IMF blaming • 1. no crony capitalism this time • 2. groupthink/silo mentality • 3. inadequate analytical approaches • 4. lack of incentives to be contrarian • 5. developed country bias: crisis are in developing countries

  10. Studying the IMF is not enough • How the overall pattern of policy maiing moves over time, in networks, maybe • Connect the IMF to neoliberal practice in the wild, away from the offices of research staff • The transnational and fast circulatory system for policy ideas, models, technologies, with the attendant cadre of technocrats, consultants, popularizers and advocates who animate, localize it and make it adapt. All of this makes up a fast policy regime.

  11. The IMF’s circulatory system • And how it “operates, of course, across a now deeply neoliberalized terrain, from which promising local models are variously seeded, scaled up, and stylized for emulation, • more often than not under the aegis of multilateral agencies, private consultancies, and expert networks(e.g. participatory budgeting), giving birth to new market-skewed rationalities and practices

  12. The fast policy regime 1. global best practices and models as objects of policy- making desire and emulation; technocratically stylized models codify and condense pre ferredstrategies, playing on the promise of replication (e.g. flexisecurity) 2. More frequent adjustment and churning of policies 3. Increased reflexivity and porosity of policy-making fields, jurisdictions, systems and sites; policy development occurring in a self-consciously comparative context and in the shadow of prominent models and alternatives

  13. The fast policy regime 4. Transnationalizationof policy discourses particularly with respect to dominant models and favored interests but even dissenting practices enter fields of contention shaped by international orthodoxies 5. Emphasis on pragmatic solutions and “ideas that work” albeit often within a narrow ideological bandwidth; further intensifying processes of global exploration for and recogni- tion/promotion of “success stories” 6. Growing reliance on the soft infrastructure of expert conferences resource banks learning networks case-study manuals along with heightened roles for intermediaries advocates and experts as shapers of and conduits for policy messages; systematization of evaluation science (including adoption of randomized trials)

  14. The fast policy regime • Cosmopolitanizationof policy actors and action (including global gurus; norm, message, and practice entrepreneurs; evaluation experts)promoting portable policy paradigms, documented success stories and silver-bullet “ • Continuing privatization of policy expertise and delivery systems following outsourcing of state functions and deference to market solutions along with reciprocal exploitation of “governmental markets” by management consultants and contract-service companies most often with international operations and/or reach

  15. Post WC • 1. The turn to governance= a more active and regulatory role for states, acknowledging ‘revisionist accounts of East Asian success’ (Önis and Senses, 2005, p. 273), and representing states and markets as complements rather than substitutes. • BUT advocating market mechanisms to improve state performance

  16. 2. Local specificity BUT With advocacy of international indices of good governance designed to reinforce market effi- ciency, such as the World Bank’s governance indicators and Doing Business Reports

  17. -advocating market mechanisms to improve state performance, by deploying incentive structures and competition. It also endorsed the importance of local specificity; of moving away from the best practice, one-size-fits-all approach that had characterized the Con- sensus ‘‘to incorporate. . .country-specific institutions based on a proper understanding of cultural values and social norms” (Hayami, 2003, p. 55). Yet, notwithstanding such nods to contextuality, the turn to governance has been implemented in the form of interna- tional indices of good governance designed to reinforce market effi- ciency, such as the World Bank’s governance indicators and Transparency International’s corruption index (http://www.trans-, inducing countries to improve their rankings in order to gain international recognition and support.