First to establish the basis of neoliberalism thinking. Neoliberalism, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, is the idea of introducing a free market and letting capitalism take its free rein while adopting a welfare state with limited governmental control. The issue of neoliberalism lies within the question of “who should be in control?” It always comes within the context of what kind of future would we want to shape, and how should we shape the future that incorporates our needs and desires. Bringing in capitalism seems to be the sensible way for various reasons: it seems fair, it requires less government control, and it brings together the fundamental ideal of may the best survive. Yet it creates inequality and only benefits those at the peak of the social pyramid. Neoliberalism manifests these ideas and force feed the general public into a social ideal that hard work and economical abundance is the only way of climbing the social ladder.
However, when one tries to give such ideologies the benefit of doubt and see it from not political criticism, but as one of the many schools of thought for planning theory. The significance of neoliberalism is that it emphasizes the idea of privatization and brings in the private sector for developing land and properties. This creates issues that could lead to further destruction of the already imbalanced social structure. First to introduce the idea of globalization and creating an urban identity. The mission of every city government is to put their city on the global map. Therefore, it is understandable that a city would like to have the maximization of economic profit possible. This creates the issue of fighting for natural resources, human resources, and monetary resources. Therefore, in many cases, we only see the profit and the end goal but disregard the fact that we have been cashing out on the earth’s resources until the very last bit.
How to achieve true equality is the question that every global actor must ask themselves. This has become a critical issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible since the clock to midnight is striking closer and closer. The issues in a neoliberal economy lie within the inherent nature of such a system’s ultimate goal: to maximize the profit of the societal economy. In this case, capital is the center of the system in which we build, not the people. The right of living a decent life in such a society belongs to everyone. To sacrifice the right of some unfortunate minorities for the benefit of the elite and the privileged just doesn’t sound like a fair society. One should have the awareness that we are still far from reaching what is deemed as equity. The slum in Dharavi is a good example of how short-sighted profit-making corporations could work with the claimed motives of creating a better image of the society yet under the surface they ended up making these people worse off. The urgency to reveal such a flaw in the system which one so firmly believes is fair for all people as long as they work hard enough is one of the top priorities for those who seek actual fairness.
Credits: Jun-Rong Lin