In Richard Peet's book, Unholy Trinity, he writes:
The main opposition to Keynesianism came eventually not from the external threat of communism, as most histories have it, but from internal movements for "reform" started by neoliberals. Neoliberalism is an entire structure of beliefs founded on right-wing, but not conservative, ideas about individual freedom, political democracy, self-regulating markets and entrepreneurship.
Peet goes on to relate neoliberalism to classical liberalism, and justifies the "neo" by saying the neoliberals are applying classical liberal principles to modern circumstances, calling for deregulation and privatization of government programs. Then Peet relates neoliberalism to the ideas of Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek.
Peet is describing the libertarian position -- limited government and a free market, but then Peet goes on to describe the actions of neoliberalism as anything but libertarian -- he writes about coercive actions of States to rig the economic game and enrich favored corporations. Peet is confusing classical liberalism (libertarianism) with State capitalism, corporatism and just plain American style statism in a mixed economy. Peet denounces libertarian ideas by assigning to them all the ills of government/corporate enmeshment.
The purpose of Peet's book is to reveal the rigged global economic game designed by the power elite within the IMF, World Bank and WTO. I too reject this type of globalization, but what has been created through statist methods has nothing to do with what Peet initially described as basic libertarianism. We can smell a smear job. First, set neoliberalism up as a revival of classical liberalism, then assign to the new liberalism all the problems created when power mongers in government and industry join together to increase both wealth and power for the elite actors.
This explains the current attack on the Koch brothers and the denigration of millionaires&billionaires and Wall Street, as if corporations and wealthy individuals have used classical liberal ideas to dominate the US government, the domestic economy and even the global economy. The new classical liberal corporate warriors slayed Keynesianism and conquered the world. After three or four stimulus efforts and calls from government to "invest" in education, infrastructure and green energy, I don't think Keynesianism has been slayed, or even scratched. Peet does say that Keynesianism will fail when tried again -- he has other plans.
The ideas of Reagan and Thatcher and Laffer were a blip on our statist journey, and with Reagan, government was more powerful after his eight years than before he was elected. How anyone who has paid attention to the increase in government power can blame classical liberal principles for the current situation is a mystery. The fact that regulations were captured and power players had free financial reign has nothing to do with classical liberal principles or libertarianism. A government which is limited and does not have power to sell cannot be bought. As I said in an earlier post -- our problem is not wealth accumulation by business people -- our problem is power accumulation, and this can only happen under a form of statism. Limited governments don't accumulate and sell power.
I will go further in the next post and describe the current condition of statism and how writers like Peet obscure the real problems to justify their progressive/socialistic solutions. I will show how a real free market discourages wealth accumulation by a few, and how a limited government helps prevent the human defect of power-hunger to run rampant.