Constructing Neoliberalism presents a rich analysis of the shift to neoliberal economic policies in four Anglo-American democracies - Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand - over the course of the 1980s and 1990s. This period witnessed a dramatic shift away from traditional post-war consensus policies of active state economic intervention, public ownership, and full employment toward those informed by an ideological commitment to deregulation, privatization, entrepreneurialism, and freer trade. Jonathan Swarts argues that this transformation was not simply a marginal adjustment in existing economic policies, but rather the result of political elites seeking to reshape what he calls their societies' "political-economic imaginaries." Swarts demonstrates that this shift cut across traditional party lines, and that in all four cases, the result was a new set of intersubjective norms about appropriate economic policies, the role of the state in the economy, the expectations and aspirations of citizens, and the very nature of an advanced industrial democracy in a globalizing world.
Jonathan Swarts is an associate professor of Political Science in the Department of Social Sciences at Purdue University North Central.
Acknowledgements 1. The Construction of Political-Economic Imaginaries * Imaginaries, Norm Entrepreneurs and the Ideas-Praxis Linkage * The Political-Economic Imaginary * The Ideas-Praxis Linkage * Contestation and Normative Change * How to Be a Norm Entrepreneur: Persuasion or Coercion (or Both) * Analyzing the Construction of Neoliberal Political-Economic Imaginaries 2. Prelude to Neoliberalism: The Post-War Policy Paradigm and the Economic Turmoil of the 1970s * The Dominant Post-War Economic Paradigm * Britain * Canada * Australia and New Zealand * Economic Crisis: Providing an Opening for Change 3. The Neoliberal Revolution of the 1980s and Beyond * The "Crash Through or Crash" Approach to Norm Entrepreneurialism * Gradualism and Ideational Change * The Entrenchment of Neoliberalism Beyond the 1980s 4. The Strategic Construction of the Neoliberal Political-Economic Imaginary * Norm Entrepreneurs and Ideational Change * Norm Entrepreneurs and the Political-Economic Environment * National Economic Crisis * The Role of Economic Bureaucrats * The Structure of Political Institutions * Constructing the Neoliberal Necessity * The Economic Crisis Argument * The Long-Term Decline Argument * The International Argument * TINA: The Meta-Argument * Conclusion 5. Labor Markets and the Power of Partisanship * Labor Market Policy: Variations on a Neoliberal Theme * Britain: The Unions as "Scapegoats of National Decline" * Australia and New Zealand: Maintaining the Unions' "Legislative Cocoon" * Conclusion 6. "The Market Has Won": Norm Entrepreneurs and the Anglo-American Neoliberal Imaginary References