Adrian Eaton
1 min readOct 15, 2021


Yes, definitely! A big part of STW is trying to construct this working definition, because neoliberalism is so broad & abstract.

Neoliberalism boils down one key principle: profitability is the best indicator of value.

From this, a whole bunch of other principles are born: structure every social interaction as a market transaction, privatize formerly public utilities, keep wages low, eliminate expensive environmental regulations, change banking laws to allow riskier investments, cut social welfare programs to fund the bailout of banks whose risky investments failed, etc., etc.

Value is defined narrowly as "economic value" and so everything else (like safety, climate change, physical health, mental health, community bonds, job satisfaction, life expectancy, knowledge for knowledge's sake) is considered an "external cost" that does nothing but inhibit profitability.

If you're interested in reading more academic-style writing about neoliberalism, I'd recommend checking out Philip Mirowski, Yanis Varoufalkis, or Noam Chomsky. That's where I do a lot of my research, but I sometimes find that these 'scholarly' arguments are too abstract to be of any practical use. In the spirit of precisely defining the problem, they'll generalize to a point where we lose sight of real neoliberalism-in-action.

Follow STW and stay tuned -- I'll keep on translating their academia into everyday examples! It's an ongoing process to create this succinct & actionable definition...

Although neoliberalism today is pretty loosely defined (which I'm hoping to change), it started out as a fairly cohesive ideology from a group called the Mont Pelerin Society. I wrote an article about them here: