by Fred Elbel

Neoliberalism (or neo-liberalism) originated as an European economic philosophy in the 1930s. The intent was to bridge the conflicting ideologies of classical liberalism and socialist planning in order to avoid economic failures like those which occurred in the early 1930s. Neoliberalism at first referred to theories at odds with classical liberal laissez-faire doctrine. It promoted a market economy guided by a strong state, which was referred to as the social market economy.

During this 1980s the term gained a negative connotation. The term shifted to mean a more radical laissez-faire economic approach. Scholars began to associate neoliberalism with Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek. Neoliberalism currently refers to market-oriented policies such as deregulating capital markets, eliminating price controls, lowering trade barriers, and reducing state influence on the economy - especially through privatization and austerity.

This new meaning of neoliberalism is common among Spanish-speaking scholars, but the term is used less frequently in the United States.



Neoliberalism, Wikipedia.

What is Neoliberalism? A Brief Definition for Activists, by Elizabeth Martinez and Arnoldo Garcia, Global Exchange, February 26th, 2000.

What is Neoliberalism, Investopedia.