Understanding Neoliberalism as Economization: The Case of the Environment

  • Fikret Adaman
  • Yahya M. Madra
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, governments and international finance organizations began to call for and take regulatory measures in order to prevent similar breakdowns in the future, causing some commentators to quickly pronounce neoliberalism dead. Consider, for instance, a recent example: while writing this chapter, a special report in the 21–27 January 2012 issue of The Economist — embellished with a red and black portrait of Lenin on the cover, triumphantly holding a cigar with a dollar sign on it — lamented that the ‘emerging world’s new model’ would be ‘the rise of state capitalism’. Yet, this line of argument is based on a rather simplified and narrow reading of neoliberalism, as a purer laissez-fair regime where spontaneous markets reign free with minimal role for governments. A closer look at its brief history challenges this reading of neoliberalism as a project of marketization that unfolds on both the practical and ideational levels. Practically speaking, governments have always played an active role in designing, instituting and facilitating the operation of markets, not only before but also under neoliberalism. In other words, the track record of three decades of neoliberal hegemony at a global scale demonstrates that the much-invoked dichotomy between state and private capitalism fails to do justice to the intensity and depth of technocratic—bureaucratic state involvement in implementing neoliberalism (Harvey 2005; Peck 2010).


Private Property Abatement Cost Environmental Governance Private Partnership Chicago School 
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© Fikret Adaman and Yahya M. Madra 2014

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  • Fikret Adaman
  • Yahya M. Madra

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