Imagine you have never heard the word democracy, living a life in persistent monarchy or gender discrimination—for that matter. It would have been a torture, right? People actually lived the lives under oppressive power structures like monarchy and patriarchy and it was their happily ever after—an accepted norm. Likewise, right now you are living some unseen, larger than life power structures but might not be aware of that. It’s called neoliberalism. Many of us might not be aware of the ideology which is so entrenched in our lives that it’s even difficult to trace out.

Yes, it’s inconspicuousness is the reason of its power. Since the recession of 2008 all the major economic and global crisis are the product of neoliberalism. Be it Panama papers, COVID-19 recession or slowly degrading educational and health system, climate change and human alienation—everything got something to do with the neoliberal economic policies.

The sad truth is that “too big to fail.” Although politician and leaders keep lamenting the moral hazard which accompanies the neoliberal restructuring and policies but still no solution seems workable. They need to keep it working because banks cannot be defeated and if we tried to do so economy will collapse and hunger will collapse. Simply it is penetrated into our common sense as the only possible way to live a life.  As Gramsci points out neoliberalism became common “sense” among people though its mantra is not at all sensible.  That’s why respond to all the crises as if they arise in isolation, due to a particular political or natural situation. We never realize it’s all interconnected with complex wires. Every catastrophe we are experiencing is either catalyzed or aggravated by the same undefeatable force called neoliberalism which operate namelessly. It cannot be traced out and pointed out due to its omnipresence.

Neoliberalism is the most pervasive, dominant and successful ideology in the political and economic history of the world. No other ideology has been sustained and prolonged like this. Neoliberalism is set on the premises that free trade policies, unregulated market and free flow of capital across the border can bring prosperity, individuality, freedom of choice, liberty, entrepreneurial spirit, and technical progress. Its beneficiaries and think tanks promote it as inevitable but necessary and ‘efficient’ socio-economic order. Although at ethical and moral level it is abhorred by all varieties. It is criticized and viewed as uneven accumulation of money and opportunities among a particular class. It is considered as “a political project aimed to restore capitalist class power”. Critics claim that neoliberalism is nothing more than a hegemonic endeavor that advantages multinational corporations, the entrepreneurial class alongside particular state institutions and international organizations.

Initially merged as reactionary force against the failing welfare Keynesian structure of post word-war, but soon Neoliberal agenda was propagated as something inevitable. It was deemed as the only alternative to quell inflation. It was masked as an innovative economic model and many coherent network of think tanks promoted it. Rooted in classic liberalism’s idea of market as invisible force which defines its rules on its own, it soon penetrated into social imaginary. It reshaped public understanding of society as sphere of human relationship and replaced it with the idea that universal market.

Sooner than expected neoliberalism devoured the entire world. Not only the first world countries but third world countries were also persuasively or willingly pulled into the process via newly built International Financial Institutes. Though these International Financial Institutes were meant to collect money to reconstruct and recover Europe from the horrors of world war but after sometime third world countries were also lent loans. The purpose of giving loan third world countries was to invest capital of first world over there and generate interest. Manfred Steger in his book Globalization argues that, in third world countries, the money acquired from these institutions as “development loans” could not bring the development for which the loans were usually taken (63). A large chunk of money was wasted. Funds were either stolen by corrupt politicians or other beneficiaries involved in the process.  In some cases, like Argentina and Chile, money was used by dictators spent to purchase military equipment and ensure domestic repression. The money could never bring social welfare and neoliberalism continued selling the narrative of success and inclusion for all. Also, as the name suggests in the Washington Consensus, the United States is the main player in International Funds Institutions. The policies of these institutions are largely focused to enrich the big Northern corporations and economy of America. the interesting thing is that the narrative which is often foregrounded is that its something uncontrollable and no one is regulating it but market is finding its flow on its own. People also buy this narrative without questioning so a never ending cycle of exploitation keeps going day by day.