From my simple understanding, neoliberal seemed to be a derogatory term associated with foreign policy tied to globalisation and the IMF. Recently I've been browsing through various online forums like the neolibral subreddit and some of the things I've noticed is

  1. the users seemed to pride themselves in their support for evidence based policies

  2. high regard for consensuses in contemporary academic economics as a basis for policy

  3. support for free trade and anti protectionist policies (which might be a natural consequence of 2)

is Neoliberalism basically support for party platforms based on evidence based policies in all aspects ?

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    I am somewhat confused what you are expecting beyond what is in the "Neoliberalism" article on Wikipedia. In any case, I believe (from reading its sidebar and having read some of its content a long time ago) the /r/neoliberal subreddit does not actually support (all of) what is usually meant by "neoliberalism"; the usual meaning is something like the laissez-faire capitalist policies of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, while the /r/neoliberal subreddit appears to be a subreddit for centrist US Democratic Party supporters. Do not get fooled by subreddit names.
    – wonderbear
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 19:05
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    Every policy thinks it's an evidence-based policy - even Hitler thought he had evidence. So I don't think saying something is an evidence-based policy actually adds any information. Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 20:53
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    @user253751 That's not really true. Much of politics is based on ideology ("we need to do X because we believe it is the right thing to do") rather than evidence ("we need to do X because it has been shown that doing X will achieve our goal"). In the worst cases, it is based on corruption which involves neither ideology nor evidence ("we need to do X because it will provide us with personal benefits").
    – JBentley
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 7:34

2 Answers 2


A new word to signify the old ideas associated with the free-market capitalism.

Generally means economic liberalization, privatization, deregulation, globalization, free trade, monetarism, austerity, and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private sector (source, Wikpedia).

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    not only the belief that there should be free-market capitalism, but also the (objectively false) belief that the less the government interacts with the market, the better society is Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 21:06
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    That would be "liberal" (yet i understand in the US liberal means something completely different). Observation of policies from statespeople labeled "neoliberal" (Macron, Obama, Trudeau, Trump although he pretends not to...) suggests not the withdrawal of the government from the economy, but actually an increase in public money spent to support private actors (bailouts, subsidies, tax cuts - tax cuts being more than often not offset by an equivalent cut in spendings are therefore a form of subsidies funded on public debt). In a nutshell, "capitalism for the poor and communism for the rich".
    – armand
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 4:12
  • I'm not sure a term coined in the 19th century qualifies as 'new'. Even if we say common usage started in the 70s, that's 4-5 decades ago.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 16:19
  • @JimmyJames Maye it's closer to "neonazi" in it's meaning, not in the sense that they are as evil but in a sense that a neonazi also isn't arguing for new stuff they are just to young to have joined the original nazis.
    – haxor789
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 16:37
  • So is this "libertarian", but scoped down to just economics?
    – David
    Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 22:15

In addition to what is already stated, neoliberalism is a capitalist policy that tends to favor private enterprise and seeks to give control of economic factors to the private sector while taking it away from the government. This idea is often associated with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and 40th president of the United States Ronald Reagan. It has been seen as something that can take the pressure off the government through the private sector. In contrast, others claim that it is a policy that gives corporations too much power while worsening economic inequality.

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    If we're bringing in Reagan and Thatcher, it should perhaps also be mentioned that progressives sometimes like to brand moderates as "neoliberal" to criticize them for being "the wrong kind of liberal" (and it is also used by those very same moderates to market themselves as "the right kind of liberal"). This is especially common in the US, where "liberal" and "left" are seen as synonyms.
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 19:06
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    @Kevin I think anyone who knows both these words knows that "liberal" and "neoliberal" often have opposite meanings. Commented Mar 22, 2023 at 20:50
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    That barely matters in the US politics where definitions are just a suggestion. See how long 'woke' was used before it had to be defined in court. Commented Mar 23, 2023 at 11:37

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