Throughout the social sciences, there is general agreement that neoliberal concepts are hegemonic, ingrained in and through vast transnational networks of information and power; that government and civil society have been corrupted to the degree where the neoliberal narrative can be folded into all kinds of policies and events; such that the various social and political movements that could be interpreted This brings into doubt the inevitability of the universe. By exploring their unequal take-up in Australia, the diffusion of ‘neoliberal’ economic concepts. We purposely reverse the presumption in our account that all major political-economic shifts are an expression of a varied global capitalist hegemony and therefore continue with the presumption that these shifts are not instances of neoliberalism(Weller and O’Neill, 2014). Our main point is that the role of academic study is to clarify the world of life and to support instead of developing an abstraction for the age (neoliberalism / neo-liberalization) then seeking references in the observed environment to fill out the imaginary contours, create abstractions to help the explanation. On the basis of empirical observation, we contend that the developmental trajectory of Australia has never been neoliberal in purpose or consequence, except in a distinct or hybrid form; and that neoliberal scripts have been rejected and dismissed more frequently than they have been updated or replicated, amid various liberalizations(Deeming, 2013). The details of its historical trajectory, its role in financial flows and the complexities of a spatially scattered domestic economy are due to our characterization of the Australian state as ‘developmental’ instead of neoliberal.
Owing to their reliance on the private economy rather than the right to life, economic policies are contributing to dramatic shifts in healthcare services around the globe. Because of their enhanced welfare demands and lower socioeconomic standing, individuals with disabilities may be especially disadvantaged by such changes. In this report, we examine the consequences of neoliberal policies on disabled people’s access to health care. This paper is focused on a critical theoretical literature analysis and on Chile and Greece, two case studies. Chile was one of the first countries to implement neoliberal health policy changes, which culminated in health inequality and health care becoming stratified. Greece is one of the most current cases of countries with large-scale health policy reforms that have contributed to a decline in the standard of healthcare facilities(Sakellariou and Rotarou, 2017). The disparities in power created by neoliberal policies that rely on economic metrics rather than human rights metrics will contribute to a group of disempowered citizens whose health interests are subordinated to markets. The consequences of this vary from disastrous out-of-pocket costs to reduced healthcare access. Neoliberal policies can be seen as a type of systemic violence that impacts the most marginalised members of the community overwhelmingly, such as persons with disabilities, and restricts access to human rights, such as healthcare.
It is argued that the pandemic has highlighted the inability of neoliberalism to provide the twin health and economic challenges with an appropriate solution. Governments adopting neoliberal strategies have broken from standards during this pandemic, interfering in the economy and healthcare to limit the dire human and economic effects of COVID-19. This, the optimists claim, is a lesson for the future: the economy has proved to be an ineffective tool to solve humanity’s most basic issues.
In resolving environmental problems, the pandemic also demonstrated the need for stronger international collaboration. Optimists claim that the need for a global response has been exposed by the pandemic and that such a response could be applied in the future to resolve other crises, particularly climate change and inequalities. The pandemic has strongly exposed the shortcomings of elected right-wing regimes to fix the pandemic, with the most obvious instances being the US, UK and Brazil. Opinion surveys have found that these regimes’ popularity rates are declining dramatically. Therefore, certainly, citizens would punish them at the polls and look for rivals with inclinations for social democracy.
There will be no return to normality after the pandemic since normality has long been the issue. Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics before the pandemic, gave a sharp evaluation of what went incorrect, referring to the world’s three big crises: injustice, climate change, and the democracy problem. He claimed that the latter crisis is that democracies are not handling the other two crises. The optimists hope that the pandemic would cause these environmental problems to be resolved in a more concentrated effort. In the other side, the pessimists hold out no hope for a more democratic, internationalist, post-pandemic future. The cumulative death toll is not going to be an important factor in progress itself. Underlying, callous ageism can give rise to the belief, of course not freely articulated, that the vast majority of those who died were the elderly and infirm, destined to die in the near future anyway. The absence of this cohort will have a negligible economic impact; those entities are expendable in cold, materialistic terms. The cavalier attitude of Trump to the pandemic is presumably still motivated by this kind of reasoning. However, a full-blown economic crisis would have far-reaching effects, leading to widespread unemployment and social unrest, bankruptcy, and high government debt. The cumulative death toll is not going to be a big driver of progress itself. An inherent, callous ageism may give rise to the opinion that, of course, the overwhelming majority of those who died were the elderly and infirm, destined to die anyway in the near future, not freely expressed. The absence of this cohort will have a negligible economic impact; such entities are expendable in cold, materialistic terms. Trump’s cavalier attitude to the pandemic is presumably now motivated by this form of reasoning. However, a full-blown economic crisis would have far-reaching effects, leading to widespread unemployment and civil instability, bankruptcy, and high government debt.
The diplomatic ramifications remain unclear. Neoliberal discourses about the imperative of ‘fiscal austerity’ and the limits of economic policy have ideologically withdrawn. Principled Austrians and neoliberals of all hues hastily fled into a half-baked Keynesianism, as they appear to do when markets tank: the first to catch the capacious teats of the Treasury wins the big prize at the moment of need, and state interference is just challenged for what it has not yet achieved. In order to conserve private initiative, the private sector and newspapers beg for government spending, and portentous preachers of the ‘free market’ race to the Telev screens to appeal for unrestricted public spending. When things change and memories disappear, no doubt they will get back to life. The state will become ‘poor’ again at that stage, and public services will be primed for another round of culling. After four decades of neoliberalism, the pandemic hit has drained state capacities in the name of the ‘higher productivity’ of the economy, encouraged deindustrialization by the ‘globalization’ of production, and built precarious financial systems protected only by the state, all in The global economy’s disintegration showed that the most uncompromisingly capitalist economies, especially the United Kingdom and the United States, we’re unable to manufacture sufficiently face masks and personal protective equipment for their health staff, not to mention ventilators that would keep their hospitalised populace alive. Around the same time, the distribution of services was changed beyond comprehension, with internet jobs becoming the norm in numerous places in a matter of days, rather than the years that this change would usually have required, whereas capitalist consumption worship dissolved into undignified scrambles for hand sanitiser, pasta and sardines, and toilet paper fistfights. In many nations, neoliberalism has been quickly seen to have hollowed down, fractured and partly privatised health services, while simultaneously producing a fragile and marginalised middle class that is extremely susceptible both to disruptions in their earning ability and to health care due to their lack of savings, inadequate infrastructure, limited nutrition, and contradictory working habits with safe living conditions. The destruction of the social-democratic left, meanwhile, made the working class economically unprotected(The Economist, 2020).
The new coronavirus is developing as a major stress test for globalisation. The crisis is causing a massive reevaluation of the intertwined world economy as vital supply chains break down, and nations stockpile medical supplies and scramble to limit travel. Globalization has not only facilitated the rapid dissemination of infectious diseases, but it has also fostered profound interdependence amongst corporations and countries, leaving them more susceptible to unpredictable shocks. Today, businesses and countries alike are figuring out exactly how fragile they are. But the message of the current coronavirus is not that it struggled to globalise. The lesson is that whatever or perhaps because of its advantages, globalisation is brittle. For decades, enormous wealth has been created by individual firms’ persistent attempts to eradicate duplication(Farrell and Newman, 2020). The study conducted by (van Barneveld et al., 2020), indicated that Economics and labour relations argue that COVID-19 is an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe from which the “old standard” will not be restored. The devastating public health consequences of the pandemic have been intensified and amplified by the unsustainability of economic growth focused on the capitalist weakening of government capabilities in favour of markets. At the same time, flow-on economic impacts have caused significant supply and demand shocks and exposed the rising inequality and precariousness within countries generated by neoliberal labour market regulation regimes. We discuss these economic and labour market impacts from an Australian and foreign viewpoint, paying special attention to the unequal consequences on citizens of the First Nations, developing countries, women, refugees and young people. Evaluating policy approaches in a national and international leadership political environment that are somewhat different from those in which major crises of the twentieth century have been resolved, we conclude that national and international dialogue is needed to develop a new way out of the crisis.
At breathtaking pace, the COVID-19 pandemic spawned new obstacles. Restricted borders, travel bans, paralysed supply chains and limits on exports have led many to wonder if the coronavirus could fall prey to globalisation itself. Globalization was, in fact, still in decline long before the epidemic, peaking before the global financial crisis of 2008 and never returning since then. Certainly, the pandemic would illustrate the dangers involved in overdependence on multinational supply chains, prompt the renationalization of manufacturing, and emphasise the principle of foreign interdependence. The probable outcome is an escalation of reforms that have been in motion toward a new, different, and more constrained process of globalisation for a long time.
There have been undeniable gains from the worldwide interconnectedness of products, resources, money, individuals, data, and ideas. Yet the dangers of dependence have thoroughly penetrated the collective discourse through this pandemic. For U.S. customers, the first noticeable sign came when virus-shuttered factories in China triggered disruptions in the distribution of iPhones by Apple, and persisted when interruptions were recorded by other businesses. As the pandemic spread in the United States, Americans discovered that, mainly in the European Union, India and China, 72 per cent of the facilities manufacturing prescription ingredients for U.S. use are based overseas. For antibiotics, the share is stated to be as high as 97 per cent (Fontaine, 2020). Then liberal, internationally active nations such as France and Germany not only closed their doors to tourists but also barred the sale to friendly nations of face masks. (They have lifted the bans since then, but the shock remains.) As a country unexpectedly battles for itself, the principle of foreign interdependence seems, to say the least, worth rethinking. And it’ll be reconsidered. The pandemic has revealed, even in its early days, the fragility of supply chains stimulated national reactions rather than cooperative foreign ones, and enhanced nationalist claims for reshoring development and more restricted migration. It has also demonstrated that national governments, last resort respondents to a pandemic and its economic implications, remain the key players. This would not be globalisation’s finish. Rather, a new, more minimal version of global integration is expected to be seen in the world than the one we have known over the past three decades. Its contours are scarcely perceptible but still visible. The changes that are now going to be accelerated are well underway(Yaya, Otu and Labonté, 2020). It has been a long time since there was a global discussion about a flat planet, frictionless capital flows, and free trade. Instead, boundary barriers, decoupling from China, trade conflicts, Brexit, populist imperialism, and the declaration of national hegemony against all-knowing U.S. and Chinese technology giants have been the latest political debates.
In certain parts of the world, the pandemic has given rise to a division in popular sentiment, where a prominent right-wing minority resents lockdown policies that limit their ‘liberties’ (including their freedom to infect others), while still revealing themselves to be vulnerable to claims in the conspiracy, misinformation, and anti-scientific beliefs. Those who follow a humanist stance and are bowing to science are at the other pole. In the post-pandemic world, this polarisation will possibly occur. Internet media will continue to feed ideas and misinformation aimed towards targeted scapegoats, including refugees, immigrants, ‘other’ ethnic and religious, and multicultural liberals, to conservative, authoritarian sentiment. Progressive opinion on the other hand will continue to advocate for policies and practices that create a more equitable, equalitarian future. The final result will depend on the degree to which the pandemic makes business as normal an unlikely eventuality. However, be aware that political and economic power-holders would aim for only such a return to the ‘normality’ pre-pandemic. Instead of feeding human greed, the idea of a political economy directed towards satisfying human needs appears to be as distant as ever.
van Barneveld, K., Quinlan, M., Kriesler, P., Junor, A., Baum, F., Chowdhury, A., Junankar, P. (Raja), Clibborn, S., Flanagan, F., Wright, C.F., Friel, S., Halevi, J. and Rainnie, A. (2020). The COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons on building more equal and sustainable societies. The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 31(2), pp.133–157.
Deeming, C. (2013). Social democracy and social policy in neoliberal times. Journal of Sociology, 50(4), pp.577–600.
Farrell, H. and Newman, A. (2020). Will the Coronavirus End Globalization as We Know It? [online] www.foreignaffairs.com. Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2020-03-16/will-coronavirus-end-globalization-we-know-it.
Fontaine, R. (2020). Globalization Will Look Very Different After the Coronavirus Pandemic. [online] Foreign Policy. Available at: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/17/globalization-trade-war-after-coronavirus-pandemic/.
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The Economist (2020). Has covid-19 killed globalisation? [online] The Economist. Available at: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/05/14/has-covid-19-killed-globalisation.
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