1. Neoliberalism embraces beliefs that the only legitimate purpose of the state is to safeguard individual liberty , especially commercial liberty, as well as strong private property rights; and that the state should be drastically reduced in strength and size. These beliefs apply internationally: there should be free markets and free trade.
2. The political power of neoliberalism has been growing fast. It is already the dominant world ideology. The sources of political power are often invisible because they operate through internalisation of ideologies by the powerless, resulting in our more or less willing compliance with the wishes of the powerful.
3. Ideologies can consist of truly massive collections of “narratives” defined very broadly. In addition to verbal and written texts, narratives include a wide variety of cultural artefacts including art, music ,films, television and social media. Ideologies include religions as well as political philosophies.
4. Ideological leaders, whether religious, political, cultural or economic, all seek to use their ideologies to control ever-increasing areas of human life, from spiritual to material.
5. From ancient times, leadership of societies was exerted principally by “political” leaders,(e.g. tribal leaders, kings) drawing mainly on religious narratives and mythology as their source of power, accompanied by their control of economic resources.
6. The rise of capitalism involved the creation of capitalists – a new group of politically powerful people who drew their power from control of massive resources rather than from political control. This led in due course to the growth of transnational corporations- whose political and economic power now exceeds that of “political powers” –nation states and international organisations – in many important respects. The dominance of capitalism is now underpinned by neoliberal ideology.
7. The dominance of neoliberal ideology is underpinned by orthodox economics which claims to be scientific.
8. Orthodox economics remains largely unchallenged, despite the existence of narratives which make clear that its claims to be scientific are ridiculous . (See Guy Routh: The Origin of Economic Ideas). Strong support for the orthodox economics which underpins neoliberalism is provided by the economics profession, the vast majority of whose members simply refuse to consider any serious challenges to its hegemony.
9. Political leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom – Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher followed by Tony Blair –were world leaders in the more or less coherent application of
neoliberal principles to the policies of their own countries in the 1980s.
10. Neoliberalism is an ideology which attempts to consolidate the dominance of capitalism over political power, and over democracy, and represents the convergence again of economic power and political power which were separate from each other in the early stages of capitalism.
11. The initial successes of capitalism were followed by the rise of an ideology directly opposed to it. Like orthodox economics, Marxism has pretensions to being scientific. While Marxism, like orthodox economics, includes significant analytical flaws,Marxists continue to contribute most important insights into the workings of capitalism. But the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 resulted in a massive loss in the prestige of Marxism. This diminution of the influence of the principal ideology which competes with neoliberalism has represented a major factor in consolidating neoliberalism’s world dominance.
12. Neoliberalism owes its power and rapid growth in influence and power to its access to massive economic resources; to its protagonists’ and supporters’ ownership and control of massive resources for creating narratives of all kinds; and to significant control of the technological development and use of media for disseminating narratives. This has already resulted in neoliberalism’s internalisation as an ideology by perhaps the majority of the population in advanced countries, particularly in the USA and Britain. Equally significant, neoliberalism dominates the thinking of politicians and bureaucrats with the most influence and power in those countries. and in international organizations.
13. In terms of quantity rather than quality, neoliberalism gains massive “cultural” support from the huge resources now devoted to advertising. This serves to increase its influence in the thinking of large sections of the population, particularly in the United States and Britain.
14. In contrast, Christianity has owed much of its world dominance to the high quality support it has received from artists throughout the ages – in particular, from the magnificent music, painting, sculpture and architecture commissioned and produced by its protagonists and supporters. Similarly, Islam has also derived massive support from the magnificent cultural artefacts commissioned and produced by its protagonists.
15. Like previously dominant world ideologies (such as world religions Christianity and Islam) , neoliberalism is becoming increasingly successful in dominating education – in particular universities – both in terms of influencing the topics which they teach and study, and in controlling their total operations. The growth in Business Schools, and their increasing dominance over increasing areas of teaching and research bears witness to this. Political leaders committed to neoliberal ideology work to extend this influence into the whole education system.
16. In Britain, the BBC raises the cultural standards of the mass communications industry by forcing competitors to compete on the basis of quality of output, not only on the basis of attracting large audiences. If competition from the BBC is significantly reduced, British television will become –as it has been in the United States from the beginning – in Walter Lippman’s words “ the creature, the servant, and indeed the prostitute, of merchandising.” If commercial corporations secure responsibility for production of a higher proportion of television, this will result in ever increasing resources used to promote their neoliberal message to consumers: “buy, buy ,buy, that’s the only way to be happy.”