This is an introduction to longer ongoing blog. I’m publishing it here mostly for feedback. Any comments would be greatly appreciated — please be nice thank you.
Liberalism is a centrifugal political force that has defined — or at least helped define — national and international relations since the 18th century. It was — and in some cases, still is — an ideology of freedom and liberty for the individual. Liberals believe in democracy and capitalism. Though capitalism is not a necessary and sufficient belief for being a liberal — Pinochet liked capitalism, but not liberalism. In the 19th century, when European and the American Empire spread across the world, it sought to Enlighten savage people and set them on the course democratic freedom, capitalism, and liberalism — more or less. In the eighteenth century, Scottish and French scholars devised a time line of human development. It started with the savages who did not own property, they did not till the land, instead they merely hunted and gathered. According to Hobbes, their lives were nasty brutish and short. The second link in the chain came with simple horticulture and pastoralism. 18th century contemporaries called this barbarism. Finally, humans discovered agriculture, which launched them into the final stage — Civilization. This, they called Universal History. It was based on the evidence collected from myriad cultures during Europe’s expansion across the globe and scholars hope that they could create a social science with the same predicative and manipulative success as natural science — we’re still struggling with this aspect. As you can probably tell, Universal History was anything but Universal. For Eighteenth century intellectuals, Universal merely meant European — or some form of European — something Europeans could easily understand.
Universal history was intimately tied up with the idea of progress. How else would they be able to teach savages to plant grain, if humans could not develop according to the universal natural laws of history. Many Enlightenment philosophies, especially those of natural law have been discarded by today’s standards, but somehow Universal History, according to Brett Bowden, remains intact. Though not completely. Most intellectuals have given up on the teleological dialectic to civilization, but they believe in progress and development — hell! They have to.
Institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, and other institutions aim at helping troubled countries develop industries with which they can use to compete in the global market, thereby enriching themselves and the people in their nation. This idea, of course, relies on the idea of development. A c countries development has to grow beyond the initial loans and interest provided to the country by the IMF. But many countries in the Global South have problems meeting these demands, so the IMF sets up a Structural Readjustment Program, where the IMF effectively governs the nation, through a proxy, under the rubric of neo-liberal capitalism and comparative advantage.
Neoliberal capitalism emerged in Western countries, America and Britain, because of stagflation. The solution for stagflation, according to supply-side economists, was less government interference in business and incentives for manufacturers (producers) rather than incentives for consumers (demand-side). However, in June 2016, IMF admitted that “instead of delivering growth, some neoliberal policies have increased inequality, in turn jeopardizing durable expansion.”
Asking if the International Monetary Fund supports economic neoliberalism is like asking if the Pope is Catholic — the answer is so obvious it seems silly to even raise the question. The IMF has been one of the principle endorsers of neoliberalism — an ideology that promotes free markets, free trade, and small government — for decades.
That is what makes it so shocking that the IMF recently released a paper titled “Neoliberalism: Oversold?” questioning the efficacy of a program that has been the basis of mainstream economic policy in most of the Western world since the end of the Cold War.
This means that the Structural Readjustment Policies were wrong and that they created the very problems they sought to avoid. This is far from an “oops” moment, before looking at the ramifications in light of Universal History, we should turn to comparative advantage — because it only makes matters worse.
Comparative advantage is an economic theory whereby two countries conduct their trade so as to exploit one another’s mutual productive capabilities. For instance, let us say that two countries produce both bicycles and butter. Country 1 has an absolute advantage of producing better bicycles and butter over country 2. Bicycles bring Country 1 more revenue, but in order to supply the demand for butter, they must reduce bicycle production enough so that they can also produce butter — this is their opportunity cost. But if Country 1 trades Country 2 for butter, Country 1 will not have to give up producing bicycles and they can put their resources into what provides the best among of profit. Therefore, the two countries have a mutual or comparative advantage.
On a global scale, this means that with the help of the IMF, a country would find its best comparative advantage and put their investments, employment, money for infrastructure into their comparative advantage because it would effectively bring the best amount of income for the country. This in effect creates a monoculture, where a nation gives up planting — say — grain and produces more bicycles. But this country will only enrich themselves if the global market is static and the demand for bicycles remains steady. In the event that they need more grain, they must import this grain from elsewhere, because they gave up their resources to produce grain. By importing grain without selling enough bicycles the country goes into a trade deficit, whereby the depend on more loans to boost up their productive capabilities in bicycles or in another form of comparative advantage — determined by the IMF.
This is the modern-day version of Universal History, where development is monetarized and lead by Western countries according to a faulty ideology of neoliberal global trade and comparative advantage.
 “Neoliberalism: Oversold? — Finance & Development, June 2016.” Accessed September 24, 2017. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2016/06/ostry.htm.
 Geier, Ben. “Even the IMF Thinks Neoliberalism Has Failed.” Fortune. Accessed September 24, 2017. http://fortune.com/2016/06/03/imf-neoliberalism-failing/.