Monday, September 06, 2004

Neoliberalism and class power

Continuing along the lines of an essay by Henry Giroux I recently posted, here's a piece by David Harvey that again raises the contradiction between democratic values and neoliberal ideology.

This is the conclusion to Harvey's essay, although the whole thing is worth reading:

The profoundly anti-democratic nature of neo-liberalism is becoming a potent political issue. The democratic deficit in nominally democratic countries is now enormous. Institutional arrangements, like the Federal Reserve, are biased, outside of democratic control. They lack transparency. Internationally, there is no accountability let alone democratic control over institutions such as the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank. To bring back the demands for democratic governance and for economic, political and cultural equality and justice is not to suggest some return to a golden past. The meaning of democracy in ancient Athens has little to do with the meanings we must invest it with today. But right across the globe, from China, Brazil, Argentina, Taiwan, Korea as well as South Africa, Iran, India, Egypt, the struggling nations of Eastern Europe as well as in the heartlands of contemporary capitalism, there are groups and social movements in motion that are rallying to the cause of democratic values.

The Bush Presidency has projected upon the world the idea that American values are supreme and that values matter since they are the heart of what civilization is about. The world is in a position to reject that imperialist gesture and refract back into the heartland of neo-liberal capitalism and neo-conservatism a completely different set of values: those of an open democracy dedicated to the achievement of social equality coupled with economic, political and cultural justice.