Sep 28, 2017

World’s silliest neoliberal poll champions brutal regimes

The neoliberal World Economic Forum is back with its annual lauding of some of the worst industrial relations laws in the world.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

While serious institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank actually attempt to grapple with the real-world consequences of neoliberalism, the Davos, Switzerland-based "World Economic Forum", funded by the world's biggest companies (including many of the world's biggest tax dodgers), continues its work as the global propaganda arm of free-market economics. Its annual "Global Competitiveness Index" is one of the primary mechanisms for promoting corporate tax cuts and labour market deregulation around the world: WEF issues its index, and gullible journalists and clever employer groups like the Australian Industry Group either use the results to deplore the loss of competitiveness of their country and urge more reforms, or welcome the results as a demonstration of the benefits of undertaking reform, and urge more of it.

As Crikey has long been pointing out, the index, which is based on a survey of a few dozen business executives in each country, is laughably unrigorous and reflects exactly the kind of biases you'd expect if you asked some execs what they thought over a few wines in an airport lounge. And so it is with this year's index, released overnight, showing Switzerland yet again the world's most competitive country (because the WEF is Swiss, the Swiss must always come first).

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

8 thoughts on “World’s silliest neoliberal poll champions brutal regimes

  1. old greybearded one

    Perhaps the WEF were talking about NSW in terms of corruption and lack of transparency.

  2. Dog's Breakfast

    That is just so depressing. So much money being represented by such toss-pots, when was it ever different.

    I suspect that the WWF has more credibility than the WEF, certainly does with me.

    1. Wayne Cusick

      Do you mean World Wildlife Fund/World Wide Fund for Nature or World Wrestling Federation, which is now World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)?

  3. brian larcom

    I might subscribe if all articles were this good. However, I would like to point out that countries with the highest absolute numbers of people in modern slavery are India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Uzbekistan, which provide many consumer goods for Australia. We also exploit cheap labour in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. We enjoy a higher standard of living at the expense of a lot of people. That is something we can change, if we want. Get in touch with your local member and insist they support the Modern Slavery Act.

    1. AR

      I haven’t noticed many ‘Made in Uzbekistan’ stickers in my local megamart.

  4. Will

    The problem’s either neoliberalism, or it’s crony capitalism. It can’t be both, because they’re alternative (contradictory) explanations for the problem. Either capitalism’s been hijacked by rent-seekers, other criminals and their political cronies, and it can be saved; or it’s, you know, cannibalism. Take you pick.

    1. AR

      I would have thought that they dovetailed/spooned purrrfectly. If only there were a vaccine but, in the meantime, we’ll have to rely upon an intelligent, well informed & highly motivated electorate.
      …oh, oh…

      1. Will

        The accusative ‘crony’ capitalism implies an ailment open to cure. Purge the crony, and healthy capitalism will be free to prosper. BK wants ‘neoliberal’ capitalism to be viewed no differently. That fever has passed, he claims, and robust capitalism can now resume. He is, after all, our new self-appointed doctor. You often accused him of backsliding on his critique of neoliberalism, and yet say here these critiques spoon perfectly. Has it ever occurred to you it might be your own sort of spoon he’s sliding on?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details