Advertisement

Capitalism and Neoliberalism

  • Lynelle WattsEmail author
  • David Hodgson
Chapter

Abstract

Capitalism and neoliberalism are widely critiqued in social work. Neoliberalism in particular is considered a problematic form of economic and social philosophy that is detrimental to human and ecological well-being and leads to the dismantling of social welfare. As such, neoliberalism is criticised on the grounds that it is an anathema to social justice. Critiques of neoliberalism in the social work literature posit that neoliberalism is deeply implicated in various injustices and contend that social work must challenge neoliberal discourses, hegemony and practice. However, these descriptions of neoliberalism suffer from a lack of conceptual clarity. This chapter will draw on critical and post-structural literature to explain the liberal, Marxist and Keynesian perspectives on capitalism, outline the neoliberal critique in social work, and describe in detail the historical and contemporary formation of neoliberalism.

References

  1. Allen, K., & O’Boyle, B. (2011). Marx and the alternative to capitalism. London, United Kingdom: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  2. Australian Council of Social Services. (2014). Poverty in Australia 2014. Retrieved May 5, 2016, from http://www.acoss.org.au/images/uploads/ACOSS_Poverty_in_Australia_2014.pdf.
  3. Baines, D. (2006). ‘If you could change one thing’: Social service workers and restructuring. Australian Social Work, 59(1), 20–34.  https://doi.org/10.1080/03124070500449754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boas, T. C., & Gans-Morse, J. (2009). Neoliberalism: From new liberal philosophy to anti-liberal slogan. Studies in Comparative International Development, 44(2), 137–161.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s12116-009-9040-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bowles, P. (2007). Capitalism: A short history of a big idea. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  6. Brenner, N., Peck, J., & Theodore, N. (2010a). After neoliberalization? Globalizations, 7(3), 327–345.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14747731003669669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brenner, N., Peck, J., & Theodore, N. (2010b). Variegated neoliberalization: Geographies, modalities, pathways. Global Networks, 10(2), 182–222.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0374.2009.00277.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carrington, A. (2016). Feminism under seige: Critical reflections on the impact of neoliberalism and managerialism on feminist practice. In B. Pease, S. Goldingay, N. Hosken, & S. Nipperess (Eds.), Doing critical social work: Transformative practices for social justice (pp. 226–240). Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  9. Cooper, N., & Dumpleton, S. (2013). Walking the breadline: The scandal of food poverty in 21st century Britain. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/walking-the-breadline-the-scandal-of-food-poverty-in-21st-century-britain-292978.
  10. Cox, M. (2001). International history since 1989. In J. Baylis & S. Smith (Eds.), The globalization of world politics (2nd ed., pp. 111–140). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Cruz, M., Foster, J., Quillin, B., & Schellekens, P. (2015). Ending extreme poverty and sharing prosperity: Progress and policies. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/109701443800596288/PRN03Oct2015TwinGoals.pdf.
  12. Dean, M. (1999). Governmentality: Power and rule in modern society. London; Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE.Google Scholar
  13. Dean, M. (2014). Rethinking neoliberalism. Journal of Sociology, 50(2), 150–163.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1440783312442256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dominelli, L. (2004). Social work: Theory and practice for a changing profession. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity Press; Distributed in the USA by Blackwell Publishers.Google Scholar
  15. Edward, P., & Sumner, A. (2018). Global poverty and inequality: Are the revised estimates open to an alternative interpretation? Third World Quarterly, 39(3), 487–509.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2017.1401461.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ferguson, I. (2007). Reclaiming social work: Challenging neo-liberalism and promoting social justice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  17. Flew, T. (2014). Six theories of neoliberalism. Thesis Eleven, 122(1), 49–71.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0725513614535965.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fukuyama, F. (1992). The end of history and the last man. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  19. George, V., & Wilding, P. (1985). Ideology and social welfare. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Gordon, D., Mack, J., Lansley, S., Main, G., Nandy, S., Patsios., D., … PSE team. (2013). The Impoverishment of the UK: PSE UK first results: Living standards. Retrieved July 22, 2016, from http://www.poverty.ac.uk/sites/default/files/attachments/The_Impoverishment_of_the_UK_PSE_UK_first_results_summary_report_March_28.pdf.
  21. Gray, M., Dean, M., Agllias, K., Howard, A., & Schubert, L. (2015). Perspectives on neoliberalism for human service professionals. Social Service Review, 89(2), 368–392.  https://doi.org/10.1086/681644.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Greenslade, L., McAuliffe, D., & Chenoweth, L. (2015). Social workers’ experiences of covert workplace activism. Australian Social Work, 68(4), 422–437.  https://doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2014.940360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hall, P. A., & Lamont, M. (2013). Introduction. In P. A. Hall & M. Lamont (Eds.), Social resilience in the neoliberal era (pp. 1–34). New York, US: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hamilton, C. (2003). Growth fetish. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  25. Hayek, F. A. (1988). The fatal conceit: The errors of socialism (W. W. Bartley III Ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Hosken, N. (2016). Social work, class and the structural violence of poverty. In B. Pease, S. Goldingay, N. Hosken, & S. Nipperess (Eds.), Doing critical social work: Transformative practices for social justice (pp. 104–119). Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  27. Ife, J. (2002). Community development: Community-based alternatives in an age of globalisation (2nd ed.). Frenchs Forest, Australia: Longman.Google Scholar
  28. Ife, J. (2016). Community development in an uncertain world (2nd ed.). Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Janda, M. (2017). Australian workers gift $130b to employers through unpaid overtime, finds report. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-22/australian-workers-gift-130-billion-to-employers/9180930.
  30. Keane, J. (2016). Capitalism and democracy [part 1]. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from https://theconversation.com/capitalism-and-democracy-part-1-62551.
  31. Kessl, F. (2009). Critical reflexivity, social work, and the emerging European post-welfare states. European Journal of Social Work, 12(3), 305–317.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13691450902930746.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kharas, H., & Rogerson, A. (2017). Global development trends and challenges Horizon 2025 revisited. London: Overseas Development Institute.Google Scholar
  33. Kumar, K. (1992). New theories of industrial society. In P. Brown & H. Lauder (Eds.), Education for economic survival: From Fordism to post-Fordism (pp. 45–74). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Kymlicka, W. (2013). Neoliberal multiculturalism. In P. A. Hall & M. Lamont (Eds.), Social resilience in the neoliberal era (pp. 99–128). New York, US: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lemke, T. (2001). ‘The birth of bio-politics’: Michel Foucault’s lecture at the Collège de France on neo-liberal governmentality. Economy and Society, 2(May), 190–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1967). The communist manifesto. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England: Penguin Books Ltd.Google Scholar
  37. McDonald, C. (2010). Risk management and the human services: A case study of risk transfer and risk management. In G. Marston, J. Moss, & J. Quiggin (Eds.), Risk, welfare and work (pp. 212–232). Carlton, Victoria, Australia: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Mishra, R. (1999). Globalization and the welfare state. Cheltenham: Edward Elger.Google Scholar
  39. Morley, C. (2004). Critical reflection in social work: A response to globalisation? International Journal of Social Welfare, 13(4), 297–303.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2397.2004.00325.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Morley, C., & Dunstan, J. (2012). Critical reflection: A response to neoliberal challenges to field education? Social Work Education, 32(2), 141–156.  https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2012.730141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mullaly, B. (2007). The new structural social work (3rd ed.). Ontario: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Murray, C. A. (1984). Losing ground: American social policy, 1950–1980. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  43. Oxfam. (2017). Oxfam briefing paper: An economy for the 99%. Retrieved April 4, 2017, from https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-economy-for-99-percent-160117-en.pdf.
  44. Pease, B., & Nipperess, S. (2016). Doing critical social work in the neoliberal context: Working on the contradictions. In B. Pease, S. Goldingay, N. Hosken, & S. Nipperess (Eds.), Doing critical social work: Transformative practice for social justice (pp. 3–24). Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  45. Peck, J., Theodore, N., & Brenner, N. (2009). Postneoliberalism and its malcontents. Antipode, 41(1), 94–116.Google Scholar
  46. Pilger, J. (Writer). (2006). John Pilger’s the new rulers of the world. Documentaries that changed the world. [Australia]: DV1 [distributor].Google Scholar
  47. Prigoff, A. (2000). Economics for social workers: Social outcomes of economic globalization with strategies for community action. Australia: Brooks/Cole and Thompson Learning.Google Scholar
  48. Robertson, R. T. (2003). The three waves of globalization: A history of a developing global consciousness. Nova Scotia, New York: Fernwood Publisher; Zed Books.Google Scholar
  49. Simons, M., & Masschelein, J. (2006). The learning society and governmentality: An introduction. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 38(4), 417–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smith, A. (2000). Wealth of nations. London, United Kingdom: Electric Book Company.Google Scholar
  51. Sternheimer, K. (2011). Celebrity culture and the American dream: Stardom and social mobility. New York, Oxon: Taylor & Francis Group.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Sugarman, J. (2015). Neoliberalism and psychological ethics. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 35(2), 103–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Thorsen, D. (2010). The neoliberal challenge: What is neoliberalism? Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, 2(2), 188–214.Google Scholar
  54. Tong, R. (2009). Feminist thought: A more comprehensive introdution (3rd ed.). Colorado: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  55. United Nations. (2013). Inequality Matters: Report of the World Social Situation 2013. Retrieved August 5, 2016, from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/documents/reports/InequalityMatters.pdf.
  56. Van Krieken, R., Habibis, D., Smith, P., Hutchins, B., Haralambos, M., & Holborn, M. (2006). Sociology: Themes and perspectives (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forrest: Pearson Education Australia.Google Scholar
  57. Wall, T. F. (2001). Thinking critically about philosophical problems: A modern introduction. Belmont, California: Wadsworth Group.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Arts and HumanitiesEdith Cowan UniversityBunburyAustralia

Personalised recommendations