Voorstel tot een historische kritiek van het neoliberalisme

  • Lars Cornelissen orcid logo


In this article I argue that the commonplace interpretation of neoliberalism in the Netherlands is mistaken. According to this interpretation the term ‘neoliberalism’ refers to a series of policies, including privatisation and deregulation, that were implemented in the Netherlands in the 1980’s in imitation of Thatcher and Reagan. I argue that it is not this series of policies but the justification underpinning them that is of a neoliberal nature. To support this claim I offer a brief genealogical history of neoliberal thought, which developed in the interwar period, by explicitly distinguishing itself from both 19th-century classical liberalism and contemporary modern liberalism. On the basis of this historical account I assert that neoliberalism adopts the foundational principles of classical and modern liberalism, but that it prescribes different formal principles of rational government. I conclude that this diction makes it possible to write a critical history of neoliberalism.

How to Cite:

Cornelissen, L., (2021) “Voorstel tot een historische kritiek van het neoliberalisme”, Res Publica 60(2), 57-82.

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Published on
15 Mar 2021
Peer Reviewed