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Tjir_v1n3cag01 - Neoliberalism in Africa Apocalyptic Failures and Business as Usual Practices George Caffentzis We are not blinded by the moral

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.3, Fall 2002 89 Neoliberalism in Africa, Apocalyptic Failures and Business as Usual Practices George Caffentzis* We are not blinded by the moral reparation of national independence; nor are we fed by it. The wealth of the imperial countries is our wealth too. ... So when we hear the head of a European state declare with his hand on his heart that he must come to the aid of the poor underdeveloped peoples, we do not tremble with gratitude. Quite the contrary; we say to ourselves: ''It's a just reparation which will be paid to us.''. .. This help should be the ratification of a double realization: the realization by the colonized peoples that it is their due, and the realization by the capitalist powers that in fact they must pay. (Fanon 1963: 102-103). I have been asked to speak about Neoliberal theory and its impact on Africa, especially its political implications. Given the time constraints I cannot go into the explanation of why neoliberalism replaced Keynesianism in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the hegemonic economic paradigm in the US and Europe. I will merely start medias res and give some definitions of neoliberal theory and its typical policies, then I will go on to discuss its impact on Africa in the last two decades. Neoliberal theory is the elaboration of a simple assumption: all human activity is always already a commodity and the best way (leading to the greatest satisfaction possible ) is to organize these activities through a market. Some activities are already recognized as commodities (waged labor), but the theorists of neoliberalism argue that much activity that had previously been considered ''inalienable''-like child-bearing, love making, health care
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.3, Fall 2002 90 decisions concerning organ transplants, leaming and research, voting, and artistic work are really actions that are (in a hidden way) and should be considered as of income-bearing activities. The True, the Good, the Just, the Beautiful and every other capitalized ideal become, in the neoliberal gaze, the many veiled form of the Commodity. That is why opponents of neoliberalism have justly summarized their position in the slogan, ''This World is Not for Sale!'' Neoliberal policies are ones that apply the basic assumption of neoliberal theory to the social realm. A typical example of such policies are the user-fees clauses of World Bank Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) that require govemments to charge fees for the use of health care, education and water ''services'' to the citizenry. Similar neoliberal policies now have familiar acronyms like TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights) and GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) for they put the products of mental activities and the human behaviors that could be qualified as “services'' into the framework of commodities and require that they be offered on a market open to
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This note was uploaded on 02/01/2012 for the course POLS 494 taught by Professor Garymoncrief during the Fall '11 term at Boise State.

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Tjir_v1n3cag01 - Neoliberalism in Africa Apocalyptic Failures and Business as Usual Practices George Caffentzis We are not blinded by the moral

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