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The Thirteen Commandments of Neoliberalism
by Philip Mirowitz
Wednesday Sep 18th, 2013 11:20 AM
"Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, the neoliberal project stood out from other strains of right-wing thought in that it was self-consciously constituted as an entity dedicated to the development, promulgation, and popularization of doctrines intended to mutate over time. It was a moveable feast, and not a catechism fixed at the Council of Trent."
Philip Mirowitz is a professor of economics at Notre Dame University.

to read Philip Mirowitz' "The Thirteen Commandments of Neoliberalism" published onJune 19, 2013, click on

"It is very important to have some familiarity with neoliberal ideas, if only to resist simple-minded characterizations of the neoliberal approach to the financial crisis as some form of evangelical “market fundamentalism.”...


A primary ambition of the neoliberal project is to redefine the shape and functions of the state, not to destroy it. Neoliberals thus maintain an uneasy and troubled alliance with their sometimes fellow-travelers, the anarchists. The contradiction with which the neoliberals constantly struggle is that a strong state can just as easily thwart their program as implement it; hence they are inclined to explore new formats of techno-managerial governance that protect their ideal market from what they perceive as unwarranted political interference. Considerable efforts have been developed to disguise or otherwise condone in rhetoric and practice the importance of the strong state that neoliberals endorse in theory.

One way to exert power in restraint of democracy is to bend the state to a market logic, pretending one can replace “citizens” with “customers.” Consequently, the neoliberals seek to restructure the state with numerous audit devices (under the sign of “accountability” or the “audit society”) or impose rationalization through introduction of the “new public management”; or, better yet, convert state services to private provision on a contractual basis. Here again our commandments touch directly upon the crisis. The financial sector was one of the major sites of the outsourcing of state supervision to quasi-private organizations, such as the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) or the credit rating agencies such as Moody’s, Fitch, and Standard & Poor’s. Indeed, the very “privatization” of the process of securitization of mortgages, which had started out in the 1960s as a government function, has become a flash point in explanations of how the financial sector lost its way.

One of the great neoliberal flimflam operations is to mask their role in power through confusion of “marketization” of government functions with the shrinking of the state: if anything, bureaucracies become more unwieldy under neoliberal regimes. Another is to imagine all manner of methods to “shackle” the state by reducing all change to prohibitive constitutional maneuvers. In practice, “deregulation” always cashes out as “reregulation,” only under a different set of ukases.


Neoliberals seek to transcend the intolerable contradiction of democratic rejection of the neoliberal state by treating politics as if it were a market, and promoting an economic theory of “democracy.” In its most advanced manifestation, there is no separate content of the notion of citizenship other than as customer of state services..."