Constructions of Neoliberal Reason

OUP Oxford
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Amongst intellectuals and activists, neoliberalism has become a potent signifier for the kind of free-market thinking that has dominated politics for the past three decades. Forever associated with the conviction politics of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, the free-market project has since become synonymous with the 'Washington consensus' on international development policy and the phenomenon of corporate globalization, where it has come to mean privatization, deregulation, and the opening up of new markets. But beyond its utility as a protest slogan or buzzword as shorthand for the political-economic Zeitgeist, what do we know about where neoliberalism came from and how it spread? Who are the neoliberals, and why do they studiously avoid the label? Constructions of Neoliberal Reason presents a radical critique of the free-market project, from its origins in the first half of the 20th Century through to the recent global economic crisis, from the utopian dreams of Friedrich von Hayek through the dogmatic theories of the Chicago School to the hope and hubris of Obamanomics. The book traces how neoliberalism went from crank science to common sense in the period between the Great Depression and the age of Obama. Constructions of Neoliberal Reason dramatizes the rise of neoliberalism and its uneven spread as an intellectual, political, and cultural project, combining genealogical analysis with situated case studies of formative moments throughout the world, like New York City's bankruptcy, Hurricane Katrina, and the Wall Street crisis of 2008. The book names and tracks some of neoliberalism's key protagonists, as well as some of the less visible bit-part players. It explores how this adaptive regime of market rule was produced and reproduced, its logics and limits, its faults and its fate.
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About the author

Jamie Peck holds the Canada Research Chair in Urban and Regional Political Economy at the University of British Columbia, where he is a Professor of Geography.
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Additional Information

Publisher
OUP Oxford
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Published on
Oct 28, 2010
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Pages
324
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ISBN
9780191625015
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic History
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
Social Science / Human Geography
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Offshore outsourcing-the movement of jobs to lower-wage countries-is one of the defining features of globalization. Routine blue-collar work has been going offshore for decades, but the digital revolution beginning in the 1990s extended this process to many parts of the service economy too. Politically controversial from the beginning, "offshoring" is conventionally seen as a threat to jobs, wages, and economic security in higher-income countries-having become synonymous with the dirty work of globalization. Even though the majority of corporations make some use of offshore outsourcing, fearful of negative publicity most now choose to manage these activities in a discreet manner. Partly as a result, the global sourcing business, now reckoned to be worth more $120 billion, largely operates under the radar, its ocean-spanning activities in low-cost labour arbitrage being poorly documented and poorly understood. Offshore is the first sustained investigation of the workings of the global sourcing industry, its business practices, its market dynamics, its technologies, and its politics. The book traces the complex transformation of the worlds of global sourcing, from its origins in the new international division of labour in the 1970s, through the rapid growth of back-office economies in India and the Philippines since the 1990s, to the development of "nearshore" markets in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Recently, this evolving process of geographical and organizational restructuring has included experiments in "backshoring" within low-cost, ex-urban locations in the United States and a wave of software-enabled automation, which threatens to remove labour from many back offices altogether. In these and other ways, the offshore revolution continues.
"Brilliant...explains how the rhetoric of competition has invaded almost every domain of our existence.”

—Evgeny Morozov, author of "To Save Everything, Click Here"

“In this fascinating book Davies inverts the conventional neoliberal practice of treating politics as if it were mere epiphenomenon of market theory, demonstrating that their version of economics is far better understood as the pursuit of politics by other means."

—Professor Philip Mirowski, University of Notre Dame

"A sparkling, original, and provocative analysis of neoliberalism. It offers a distinctive account of the diverse, sometimes contradictory, conventions and justifications that lend authority to the extension of the spirit of competitiveness to all spheres of social life…This book breaks new ground, offers new modes of critique, and points to post-neoliberal futures.”

—Professor Bob Jessop, University of Lancaster

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.
Offshore outsourcing-the movement of jobs to lower-wage countries-is one of the defining features of globalization. Routine blue-collar work has been going offshore for decades, but the digital revolution beginning in the 1990s extended this process to many parts of the service economy too. Politically controversial from the beginning, "offshoring" is conventionally seen as a threat to jobs, wages, and economic security in higher-income countries-having become synonymous with the dirty work of globalization. Even though the majority of corporations make some use of offshore outsourcing, fearful of negative publicity most now choose to manage these activities in a discreet manner. Partly as a result, the global sourcing business, now reckoned to be worth more $120 billion, largely operates under the radar, its ocean-spanning activities in low-cost labour arbitrage being poorly documented and poorly understood. Offshore is the first sustained investigation of the workings of the global sourcing industry, its business practices, its market dynamics, its technologies, and its politics. The book traces the complex transformation of the worlds of global sourcing, from its origins in the new international division of labour in the 1970s, through the rapid growth of back-office economies in India and the Philippines since the 1990s, to the development of "nearshore" markets in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Recently, this evolving process of geographical and organizational restructuring has included experiments in "backshoring" within low-cost, ex-urban locations in the United States and a wave of software-enabled automation, which threatens to remove labour from many back offices altogether. In these and other ways, the offshore revolution continues.
Offshore outsourcing-the movement of jobs to lower-wage countries-is one of the defining features of globalization. Routine blue-collar work has been going offshore for decades, but the digital revolution beginning in the 1990s extended this process to many parts of the service economy too. Politically controversial from the beginning, "offshoring" is conventionally seen as a threat to jobs, wages, and economic security in higher-income countries-having become synonymous with the dirty work of globalization. Even though the majority of corporations make some use of offshore outsourcing, fearful of negative publicity most now choose to manage these activities in a discreet manner. Partly as a result, the global sourcing business, now reckoned to be worth more $120 billion, largely operates under the radar, its ocean-spanning activities in low-cost labour arbitrage being poorly documented and poorly understood. Offshore is the first sustained investigation of the workings of the global sourcing industry, its business practices, its market dynamics, its technologies, and its politics. The book traces the complex transformation of the worlds of global sourcing, from its origins in the new international division of labour in the 1970s, through the rapid growth of back-office economies in India and the Philippines since the 1990s, to the development of "nearshore" markets in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Recently, this evolving process of geographical and organizational restructuring has included experiments in "backshoring" within low-cost, ex-urban locations in the United States and a wave of software-enabled automation, which threatens to remove labour from many back offices altogether. In these and other ways, the offshore revolution continues.
Offshore outsourcing-the movement of jobs to lower-wage countries-is one of the defining features of globalization. Routine blue-collar work has been going offshore for decades, but the digital revolution beginning in the 1990s extended this process to many parts of the service economy too. Politically controversial from the beginning, "offshoring" is conventionally seen as a threat to jobs, wages, and economic security in higher-income countries-having become synonymous with the dirty work of globalization. Even though the majority of corporations make some use of offshore outsourcing, fearful of negative publicity most now choose to manage these activities in a discreet manner. Partly as a result, the global sourcing business, now reckoned to be worth more $120 billion, largely operates under the radar, its ocean-spanning activities in low-cost labour arbitrage being poorly documented and poorly understood. Offshore is the first sustained investigation of the workings of the global sourcing industry, its business practices, its market dynamics, its technologies, and its politics. The book traces the complex transformation of the worlds of global sourcing, from its origins in the new international division of labour in the 1970s, through the rapid growth of back-office economies in India and the Philippines since the 1990s, to the development of "nearshore" markets in Latin America and Eastern Europe. Recently, this evolving process of geographical and organizational restructuring has included experiments in "backshoring" within low-cost, ex-urban locations in the United States and a wave of software-enabled automation, which threatens to remove labour from many back offices altogether. In these and other ways, the offshore revolution continues.
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