The Broken Promise of Trickle Down Economics Part 3

The fourth core principle of Neo-Liberalism deals with privatization. Martinez and Garcia go in great deal explaining that this involves selling state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This isn’t just limited to key industries and banks but also areas that are typically reserved for government administration; including railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals, even fresh water. While it is often argued that efficiency would be gained, in reality, what happens is that privatization leads to the concentration of wealth in a few hands and the public pays even more for its needs.

In Canada for example, Trudeau’s liberal federal government has been reviewing the ownership structure of Canadian big airports, now run by not-for-profit airport authorities. This means that Canada’s major airports could soon be on the auction block as the upcoming federal budget is expected to raise the possibility of their potential sale to private investors.

Airlines, airport operators and some municipalities began warning the public that handing over Canada’s airports to owners with a profit motive sets the stage for rising fees that will force travelers to pay more. While the large payment Ottawa would receive for the sale would be tempting, it is still only a one-time payment. Many have compared this transaction to selling family jewels, stating that the government would surely regret this decision in the long run. The alternative, they argue, is for the government to take advantage of its assets and pass economic policies to grow the airline sector.

The fifth and final core principle of Neo-Liberalism involves eliminating the concept of “The Public Good” which is a product that one individual can consume without reducing its availability to another individual, and from which no one is excluded. Neo-Liberalism wants to replace the public good it with "individual responsibility." Martinez and Garcia contend that this leads to pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves -- then blaming them, if they fail, as "lazy."

The immediate impact of neo-Liberalism is that every person is monetized. It is easy to see why the Neo-Liberal objective that espouses the economic benefits and virtues of selfishness leads many to believe that Neo-Liberals lack empathy.  In fact, Neo-Liberalism has replaced empathy with the myth of meritocracy. Meritocracy refers to the idea that whatever our social position was at birth, society ought to facilitate the means for ‘talent’ to ‘rise to the top’. The ideology of ‘meritocracy’ has become a key means through which plutocracy is endorsed within contemporary culture. This means that those who are able to go to the right schools should have an ability to 'rise to the top' and deserve the ensuing financial rewards in life. It is a bootstraps philosophy on the surface, but it ignores all the structural reasons why not everyone has an equal opportunity to go to the right schools and make the right contacts to hit the economic and power jackpot.

The elimination of the community highlights a certain arrogance of the Neo-Liberal approach toward the rest of the citizenry who struggles while the plutocracy reaps the rewards of the system designed to benefit only a select few. If you did not go to the right schools and climb the rungs of the elite ladder, then you must suffer for your lack of achieving the same status as those in the meritocracy. There is no empathy for those caught in the collateral damage of Neo-Liberalism's voracious appetite for creation of wealth for the already wealthy. In fact, it has successfully been contended that Neo-Liberalism seeks to punish the poor, the under classes, and anyone else that they deem to be undeserving.

Ultimately, it can be observed why the core principles of Neo-Liberal economic globalization that state the rule of the market, deregulation, cutting public expenditure for social services, privatization and eliminating the concept of the public good and replacing it with the new concept of individual responsibility, all ended up contributing to the greatest broken promise of trickle down economics of our lifetime. Economist Michel Chossudovsky even goes as far as giving evidence from locations such as sub-Saharan Africa, Japan and North America in order to exposes how the IMF contributes to economic genocide. 

It is the assertion of this series that the many negative effects of Neo-Liberal economic globalization are unintentional consequences resulting in the failure to deliver on the inherent promise of trickle down economics rather than the assumption of malicious intent needed to argue a systemic, concentrated effort of economic genocide.


Kaha Haji-Mohamed

Works Cited

Beder, S. (2009). Neoliberalism and the global financial crisis. Social Alternatives, 28(1), 17.

Chossudovsky, Michel. The Globalization of Poverty And New World Order. Shanty Bay, On: Global Outlook, 2003. Print.

Investopedia. Neoliberalism. Investopedia US: Web. 19 February 2015. This article is a definition located in the main website's "Dictionary" section

Martinez, Elizabeth & Arnoldo Garcia. What is Neoliberalism? CorpWatch 27 July 1997. Web. 21 Feb. 2015

Stiglitz, Joseph. Globalization and its discontents. New York: W.W. Norton, 2002. Print.

Picture titled, "Globalization", taken by Abadi Moustapha on December 30, 2006, obtained through Creative Commons (