Since its intellectual inception in the 1930s and its political emergence in the 1970s, neo-liberalism has sought to disenchant politics by replacing it with economics. This agenda-setting text examines the efforts and failures of economic experts to make government and public life amenable to measurement, and to re-model society and state in terms of competition. In particular, it explores the practical use of economic techniques and conventions by policy-makers, politicians, regulators and judges and how these practices are being adapted to the perceived failings of the neoliberal model. By picking apart the defining contradiction that arises from the conflation of economics and politics, this book asks: to what extent can economics provide government legitimacy? Now with a new preface from the author and a foreword by Aditya Chakrabortty.

Critique in and of Neoliberalism

Afterword: Critique in and of Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism, as this book has sought to demonstrate, is replete with its own internal modes of criticism, judgement, measurement and evaluation, which enable actors to reach agreements about what is going on. These are especially provided by certain traditions of economics and business strategy, which privilege competitive processes, on the basis that those processes are uniquely able to preserve an element of uncertainty in social and economic life. The role of the expert – be it in the state, the think tank or university – within this programme is to produce quantitative facts about the current state of competitive reality, such that actors, firms or whole nations can be judged, compared and ranked. For ...

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