This collection of essays, in which a different author writes each chapter, discusses neo-liberalism from a broad perspective with different points of view and its significance as an ideology and economic policy. The book offers great examples from different geographical regions to illustrate the economic, political, and social effects of neo-liberalism and globalization, making it a great resource for interested students, academics, policymakers, and local administrators. In addition, unlike other books on neo-liberalism, it offers striking analyses of the field of women’s studies and ecology, which has increased worldwide with the strengthening of the feminist movement.
The book consists of a preface, two main parts, and an epilogue. In the first part, the deep effects of neo-liberalism on sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Europe, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, are presented under three sub-titles in which analyses are made with different examples and data from a critical perspective. There are three sub-headings for each region. The second part deals with the post-structuralist, postcolonial, and decolonial critiques of globalization that emerged in the 1990s and the neo-liberal theories that support it. In addition, this section opens the concept of development to discussion.
The main argument of the book, in its most general form, is that neoliberalism as an ideology and economic policy negatively affects society politically, economically, culturally, and socially. Neo-liberalism’s deepening of social inequalities through externally imposed solutions to problems, without considering the characteristics of the local in the historical process, especially by restricting social expenditures and preventing disadvantaged groups from accessing social services; the increases in foreign debt, unemployment, corruption, poverty, human rights violations and damage to nature due to privatizations can be listed as some of the negative effects claimed in the book. Social and political power relations established on natural resources through neo-liberal policies are discussed. It also discusses the decision-making of non-state actors about local problems and the social effects of these decisions through the privatization of water and sanitation systems and inequalities in accessing the most basic services. It argues that a new social order has been established in a way that will affect the individual and society through the reduction of public employment and the support of deindustrialization and their effects. The authors successfully support their claims by providing different examples and data from each region.
Although the topics are handled regionally, the book makes a wide contribution to the literature since the effects of neo-liberalism; globalization and supranational powers are similar worldwide. Some of the development policies associated with the issues were carried out in the past, but both the continuation of their effects and the fact that similar policies are still imposed on different countries keep the discussions up to date. Moreover, the book is written in an easy-to-understand language, with definitions of neo-liberalism given in detail in the preface. Positive and negative criticisms of neo-liberalism are explained in its historical context and national and international agreements made with neo-liberal policies are revealed. These features of the book are very beneficial to those who are not familiar with the subject.
While the book deals with the negative effects of neo-liberalism in different contexts, it carries out strong discussions on one of the current debates, gender, and ecological issues. In particular, how gender equality is ignored in the economy as well as in social life under the influence of neo-liberal policies is discussed in detail through the feminization of poverty (p. 10) and the exploitation of women’s labor force (p. 14). It reveals how social, political, and economic changes force women to work in lower-paid, low-skilled, temporary jobs and harsh conditions (p. 48). It explains how women remain left out of the economy and development (p. 56). It is noted in the book that the serious social reproduction crisis, which has been created by the privatization of health, education, and care services, continues to result in the feminization and precarization of work. The fact that each chapter is written by experts from that region makes the book one of its strengths. The authors use case studies, secondary data analysis, and discourse analysis as methods to support their arguments. The book is very successful in relating and analyzing different social phenomena. While presenting examples from sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, or Europe, it starts with Keynesian policies and deals with the effects of neo-liberalism in the historical process. The chapters not only criticize neoliberal policies but also provide an understanding of the problems of the region using local knowledge rather than external workarounds. Sustainable alternative solutions are offered in line with the needs. It confronts the fact that has been discussed in the literature for a long time, that countries are divided into categories such as developed and developing and that economic and social colonization is maintained under the guise of development policies for developing regions. In addition, it reveals the destructiveness of the effect of the pandemic, which has taken the whole world under its influence in countries where neo-liberal policies are applied strongly. Analyzing neo-liberal narratives, the book offers a holistic perspective on the subject. In addition to these listed strengths of the book, its weakness is that the phenomenon of migration, which affects and is affected by neo-liberal policies, is not touched upon. Effects such as how neo-liberal policies deprive immigrants of their rights, how these policies meet the need for economically flexible labor with immigrants, and why local people tend to exclude immigrants are ignored.