As news of the complete devastation across the island of Puerto Rico is released, I find myself incessantly hitting refresh on my Internet browser. With each click, my emotions and tears overwhelm me. A deep feeling of desperation follows. This has become an unintentional daily ritual since “natural disaster" Hurricane Maria struck the island.
I know I am not alone.
-Eroc Arroyo-MontanoRead more
Many of us have come across the term "neoliberal," or "neoliberalism" before, but for all its use, few have ever taken the chance to actually explain what it is. An inadequate popular definition has allowed the term to be abused and misrepresented in a variety of ways. Despite these misrepresentations, however, "neoliberalism" is a concept that is very useful for understanding the world we live in today.
In simple terms, neoliberalism is a broad ideology that became popular in political, economic, and governmental circles in the 1970’s and reached its peak in global popularity in the 1980’s. Neoliberalism describes the political paradigm we are in right now, the political conditions of modern society. As the name suggests, it calls for a revitalization of the classical liberal view of economic policy. It's important to understand that "classical liberal" here refers to an older understanding of the word liberal than the one it has in modern America- it is referencing the liberalism of the Enlightenment era, represented by thinkers like Adam Smith and John Locke, not modern social liberalism as embodied by Barack Obama and much of the rest of the Democratic Party. In concrete policy terms, neoliberalism means free trade, low taxes, deregulation, privatization, and balanced budgets.
Neoliberalism represents a shift in the way we look at the world: it entails seeing every aspect of society, even those typically considered civic or community affairs, in the terms of the market economy.