The mistaken criticism of neoliberalism

Het Financieele Dagblad
Robert Dur

In a recent article by Het Financieele Dagblad, Robert Dur, Professor of Economics of Incentives and Performances at Erasmus School of Economics, addresses the criticism on neoliberalism. Indeed, this criticism often consists of quite a few myths and falsehoods, Dur says.

In the 1930s, neoliberalism was the answer to a completely free market. In it, there was one large, central government acting as market master. However, neoliberalism has gotten a very bad name, as neoliberals are accused of aiming for completely free markets and 'predatory capitalism'. Neoliberalism is also often equated with economics. The Professor says the following about this: ‘that is perceived as exasperating in the profession. If you define it as a sacred belief in market forces, economists don't feel addressed. They actually do a lot of research on market failures.’ 

Myths in the critique of neoliberalism

Dur sees two myths in the criticism of neoliberalism. The first is that more market forces serve the interests of big business. However, this is different. It is precisely multinationals that do not benefit from strict cartel policies; it is consumers that benefit. ‘Pro-marketisation does not equal pro-business,’ the Professor said. 

According to him, equating pro-market with small government is also a myth. A big government can just go hand in hand with (relatively) free market forces. ‘If you care a lot about equality as a society, you must redistribute. But that doesn't get in the way of market forces at all. The same goes for high spending on education and healthcare,’ says Dur.


More information

You can download the full article from Het Financieele Dagblad, 20 January 2023, above.

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