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The Ethics of Neoliberalism: The Business of Making Capitalism Moral

BNBB logoDuring this Breakfast Briefing on 23 May 2017, Dr Peter Bloom, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Studies at The Open University Business School, explained the ideas and theories in his new book "The Ethics of Neoliberalism."

The 21st century is the age of "neoliberalism", a time when the free market is spreading to all areas of economic, political and social life. Yet how is this changing our individual and collective ethics? Is capitalism also becoming our new morality? From the growing popular demand for corporate social responsibility to personal desire for "work-life balance" it would appear that non-market ideals are not only surviving but also thriving. Why then does it seem that capitalism remains as strong as ever?

The Ethics of Neoliberalism boldly proposes that neoliberalism strategically co-opts traditional ethics to ideologically and structurally strengthen capitalism. It produces "the ethical capitalist subject" who is personally responsible for making their society, workplace and even their lives "more ethical" in the face of an immoral but seemingly permanent free market.

Rather than altering our morality, neoliberalism "individualises" ethics, making us personally responsible for dealing with and resolving its moral failings. In doing so, individuals end up perpetuating the very market system that they morally oppose and feel powerless to ultimately change.

Image of the bookPeter presented the dangers of this “ethics” and discussed how managers as well as organisations can help to foster an alternative and more genuinely progressive culture for their employees.

Peter has written extensively on his primary research interests, which include ideology, subjectivity and power, specifically as they relate to broader discourses and everyday practices of capitalism and democracy.

View the presentation slides from Dr Peter Bloom on The Ethics of Neoliberalism: The Business of Making Capitalism Moral. The book is being published by Routledge and you can pre-order it now on their website.

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