Philip Mirowski's review -- "How Did The Neoliberals Pull It Off?" -- is getting a lot of play among the cognoscenti. It's a massive and very funny takedown. Here is the nut graf:
Neoliberalism consists of a thoroughgoing reinvention of the classical liberal tradition, expanded to encompass the whole of human existence as a political animal and a knowing being. In this tradition, the market stands as the ultimate arbiter of truth; the pinnacle of achievement is to become an entrepreneur of the plastic self; there is no such thing as Society; and freedom is recoded to mean anything the market allows. It is generally conceded to have been initially stabilized by the members of the Mont Pelerin Society, a group founded in 1947 and that is still in existence today. Over the last four decades it has expanded to encompass a vast thought collective, ranging from high-profile economists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman to politicians like Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan; from the Murdoch media empire to Astroturf movements like the Tea Party; from think tank denizens across the globe to the “shadow elite” described by Janine Wedel. Terms like “market fundamentalism” and “libertarianism” severely misrepresent the movement, as some of the current authors insist.
Jesting Pilates, all!
It's a fun read, so read it all. Note well:
Because the movement’s history involves concerted real-time revision of doctrine, there can be no straight line drawn from some fixed ideology to political programs over the history of “conservatism” or “free market fundamentalism” or any other such contemporary addled notions. Neoliberalism is real; but it does not wear its essence on its sleeve.
Reminds me of High Frequency Trading software, which apparently reprograms itself.
NOTE I don't find the neo-cons mentioned in the article. Perhaps they are a subset.