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9th Annual Penn Urban Doctoral Symposium (2012)

9th Annual Penn Urban Doctoral Symposium (2012)

Neoliberalism in the Trenches: Urban Politics and Policy in the United States and Britain, 1976-2000



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  • Case studies are used to articulate the twin processes of neoliberal urban political development: neoliberalism by default and neoliberalism by design.
  • it added over 100,000 voters. African American percentage of voters increased from 32 percent to 38 percent.

Tim Weaver Tim Weaver Presentation Transcript

  • Neoliberalism in the Trenches: UrbanPolitics and Policy in the United States and Britain, 1976-2000 Tim Weaver Political Science
  • From the age of consensus… Nixon: “I am now a Keynesian on economics” (1971)
  • …to the Age of FractureCallaghan: “We used to think that you could spend yourway out of a recession…by cutting taxes and boostinggovernment spending. I tell you in all candour that thatoption no longer exists” (1976)
  • ArgumentThe neoliberal turn: radically undermined cities’ governing capacity and authority; launched a new trajectory of neoliberal political development; proceeded according to two different logics-- neoliberalization by default and by design
  • Neoliberalism definedA political-economic theory and rhetorical framework thatrests on the notion that freedom, justice, and well-being arebest guaranteed by a political economic system thatpromotes private property, open markets, and free trade andwhich privileges the interests of financial capital. Capital privileged over labor; private over public; market over welfare state. Enterprise zones; empowerment zones; privatization etc.
  • London Docklands: Neoliberalismby Design
  • Docklands Neoliberalism by design: • Process by which national or local elites harness the power of state institutions to impose a neoliberal blueprint. • Flagship enterprise zone—tax reduction and deregulation. • Site of the London Docklands Development Corporation— land and power stripped from local authorities and given to unelected board. • Central government as neoliberal activist; the state is reoriented rather than replaced.
  • Philadelphia transformed1950 2007
  • Philadelphia Neoliberalism by default • Logic of coalition building, financial collapse, and/or ideological constriction propels neoliberalization. • Coalition building: business-African American anti-Rizzo alliance. • Early 1990s financial collapse: creation of PICA that required “structural adjustment.” • Ideological constriction under Rendell: attacks on unions, privatization, TINA.
  • Occupy London/Occupy Philly