Since the 1980s, Neo-Liberalism Has Dominated Policy Making in Nz. What Are the Core Values Appealed to Under the Neo-Liberal Ideology?

Topics: Neoliberalism, Health care, Free market Pages: 5 (1659 words) Published: April 29, 2012
Since the 1980s, neo-liberalism has dominated policy making in NZ. What are the core values appealed to under the neo-liberal ideology?

Since the 1980s, neo-liberalism has dominated policy making in NZ. What are the core values appealed to under the neo-liberal ideology?

New Zealand has been known to the world as one of the most socially innovative countries. Up until the 1960s, New Zealand recorded high levels of GDP per capita in the world. It was ranked 6th among OECD in 1950 (Duncan and Worrall 2000, 283). Such economical prosperity as the base, the country's social services were greatly expanded that by 1942 they already brought about the most comprehensive protection of any country in the free world against the impact of illness, unemployment, invalidity, old age, death and other hazards (McHenry 1951, 48). But from 1970 to 1990 GDP per capita declined steadily due to slow economic growth and by the early 1990s New Zealand was approximately 20% below the OECD average (NZ AHEAD). That was when the New Zealand government started to consider market oriented alternative to state control. The last decade has seen an abrupt shift from Keynesian welfarism to neoliberalism as the basis for state polices. This essay will identify the core beliefs of neoliberals and their general views on welfare state. Then it will discuss how those views affected both various social policies and social work within New Zealand since the 1980s.

The concept of neoliberalism has, during the past twenty years or so, become quite wide spread in some political and academic debates. Several scholars have even stressed that we live in an age of neoliberalism and that it is the dominant ideology shaping the world today (Saad-Filho and Johnston 2005, 1). The concept, neoliberalism, suggests its own definition: It is a revival of liberalism, and the recovery of a lost tradition of liberal, political thought. Liberalism has undoubtedly been the most powerful ideology in shaping the western political tradition. However, historical developments since the ninetieth century have influenced the nature and of liberalism. It was largely due to the success of rising middle classes in establishing their economic and political dominance. The more success they achieved, the more the liberals became increasingly conservative, standing less for change and reform (Heywood 2007, 25). It was from the 1970s when a revival of economic liberalism that took place. From the start, its aim was to reserve state intervention and keep the government as small as possible. In Neoliberal perspective, the market is seen to be morally and practically superior to government and any form of control (Heywood 2007, 52). According to Neoliberals, market is, firstly, self regulating and are naturally efficient and productive. At macro level, resources are drawn 'inexorably' to their most profitable use, and because rich and poor alike have an incentive to work, so it's efficient (Heywood 2007, 53). At micro level, private business are inherently more efficient than public bodies because they are disciplined by the profit motive, forcing them to keep cost low, while the taxpayer will always pick up the bill for public losses. Secondly, it is responsive, even democratic. Competition guarantees that producers produce only what consumers are willing to buy, and at a price they can afford. Lastly, Markets deliver fairness and economic justice. The market gives all people the opportunity to rise or fall on the basis of talent and hard work. Material inequality thus simply reflects a natural inequality amongst humankind (Heywood 2007, 53). When it comes to the welfare state, neoliberalist's strong emphasis on market does not seem to change much. they think being a welfare state cause many economic difficulties because it uses resources that would otherwise be invested in industry which, in turn, will sustain economic growth and promote employment. Thus they prefer private...

References: Cheyne, Christine., O 'Brien, Mike., and Belgrave, Michael. 2008. Social Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand (4th ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Davey , Judith. A. and Grey, Sandra. J. 2009. "New Zealand: From Early Innovation to Humanizing the Market." In International Social Policy, edited by P. Alock and G. Craig, 88-108. Houndmills: Palgrave.
Duncan, Grant., and Worrall, Jill. 2000. "Window to the world: Social policy and social work in New Zealand." European Journal of Social Work, 3(3): 283-295.
Green, David. G. 1998. "The neo-liberal perspective." In The Student 's Companion to Social Policy, edited by P. Alcock, A. Erskine, and M. May, 57-63. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Heywood, Andrew
McHenry, Dean. E. 1951. "New Zealand System of Social Security." The Social Service Review, 25(1),:48-59.
Saad-Filho, Alfredo and Deborah Johnston. 2005. “Introduction.” In Neoliberalism – A Critical Reader by Alfredo Saad-Filho and Deborah Johnston, 1-6. London: Pluto
Thorsen, Dag. E., and Amund. Lie. 2006. What is neoliberalism? Draft. Accessed 28 April, 2007.
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