Neoliberalism is a term which is used to describe a type of liberalism which supports liberalization of economics, open markets, free trade, and other similar and distinct characteristics in today’s society. While the definition of the term has since changed over time, generally it is thought that neoliberalism is an ideology which condones small state economics in the concern of self-interest. As previously mentioned, neoliberalism usually promotes the practice of privatization and deregulation, as well as the cutting of taxes in some cases. While many people will consider neoliberalism the ideology of our modern society, expressing that it is exponentially growing in popularity, they will also express that there is a difficulty in discussing the concept due to the overall vagueness in its definition.
Neoliberalism itself may be traced back to liberalism as promoted by Adam Smith, and is considered to be a new strategy for economic theory. Characters such as Smith, Ayn Rand, and even Margaret Thatcher have all in a way promoted neoliberalism through their practices. However, while there have been several attempts at application of this regime, however many, if not a majority of them, caused some sort of turmoil. While neoliberalism basically seeks to make trade more simplified, it is often difficult not only to define, but also practice.
Neoliberalism essentially seeks to remove which are considered to be obstacles to free trade. This usually includes, but is not limited to, tariffs, types of regulations and laws, and other types of restrictions. Neoliberalism has main considerations and theories as to what is inherently good for society, such as free market, deregulation, privatization, and reduction of public expenditure. The rule of the free market essentially calls for freedom of goods and services in self-regulating areas. The ‘freedom’ which is sought is freedom from control or interference from areas such as state or government concern. Deregulation seeks to do exactly what it sounds like; lessen the act of regulation and cause a more self-regulated machine. Privatization is the act of transferring something from a public to private sector, which does not involve regulation or functioning of the government. Reduction of public expenditure calls for the lessening of spending for aspects such as education or healthcare services.
Neoliberalism may in fact be difficult to define, but can be applied theoretically, and has in many different cases by many different people. There are many theories as to why neoliberalism should be practiced; some believe the economic globalization may aid the world, and others believe that the government should not be concerned with these functions. Regardless of the theories, to many people, individual freedom and less governmental regulation sounds like an appealing idea.