Neoliberalism is an ideology and a political strategy that affects our lives and the state of the planet. Yet its supporters claim it does not exist. That is rather smart, because it makes it difficult to criticize it. Power has many faces. The neoliberalists try to hide theirs by claiming that neoliberalism does not exist. With this coloring set you can make some of them visible.
Those who are regarded as the architects behind neoliberalism are the economists Hayek, Buchanan and Friedman, who in 1947 established the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS) in the village of Vevey in Switzerland. Their stated goals were, among other things, to dismantle the state, crush the trade unions and spread contempt against politicians. Today, MPS is part of the Atlas Network, a worldwide network of approx. 500 neoliberal think tanks, of which the Norwegian Civita is also a member. Many of these think tanks are sponsored by some of the world’s richest and most influential people, in economics, politics and academia.
With their large resources, they systematically influence the media and politicians, and work to get politicians to implement a policy that benefits their interests. They see the politicians as empty ships to be filled with their ideological goods.
Until the Second World War, the neoliberal ideas were unpopular, while the economist John Maynard Keynes’ counter-cyclical theory gained free rein and broad support – to Hayek’s great chagrin. But with the economic crisis of the 70s, the post-war economic stability ceased, and thus the belief in the effect of Keynes’ «economic medicine» also disappeared. This – in addition to greater influence for freedom as a value – gave the neoliberals wind in their sails. At about the same time, high-profile neoliberals such as e.g. Milton Friedman stopped calling himself a neoliberalist.
Perhaps one can imagine that the neoliberalists thought they did not deserve to appear as a clear and criticizable ideological group after their ideas had been embraced by those in power such as Reagan and Thatcher, as well as internalized in economics almost all over the globe? In addition, the reprehensibly close ties between society’s very richest and the neoliberal think tanks may be a reason why the neoliberal project was anonymised.
Now, however, the ideological climate seems to be changing once again. Even the IMF – an institution which, along with the World Bank and the WTO, has been accused of imposing neoliberal policies on other countries – in 2022 criticized the then Prime Minister of Great Britain, Liz Truss, for being too extreme in her neoliberal practice of tax relief for the richest, and that this could lead to destabilization of the economy. And although the agents of influence in the neoliberal think tank Civita are still eager to explain «neoliberalism» as a term opponents of liberalism use as a «swear word with inflation», the IMF already admitted in 2016 that neoliberalism exists and cast doubt on its usefulness.
One can therefore ask whether the neoliberal period of glory is beginning to come to an end. To speed this up, you can grab the color pens and rejoice in contributing to neoliberalism being painted into history’s corner of shame!
A5 booklet of 28 pages, pack of 12 markers.
Color the motifs in a freely chosen or chronological order. Read the text that belongs to the motif you want to color before you start, so that you can meditate on the information while coloring the main motif and the letters below. Whether you are going to fill in the entire sheet and choose a realistic or imaginative coloring, is entirely up to you. Play and learn!