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Neoliberalism has many histories. Milton Friedman, the Chicago school, Pinochet, Thatcher and Reagan's market revolution, IMF structural adjustment, and shock therapy transition programs for the post-Communist states are all fixtures in the narrative of the neoliberal turn. If we wind the clock back to the aftermath of the Second World War, we can see various precursors already familiar to scholars. Globalists is important because it provides a new historical framing. For Slobodian, the earliest and most authentic brand of neoliberalism was defined by its preoccupation with the question of world economic integration and disintegration. Their advocacy for free trade and the liberalization of capital movement goes back to the wake of the First World War and the ruins of the Habsburg empire. Neoliberals set out not to demolish the state but to create an international order strong enough to contain the dangerous forces of democracy and encase the private economy in its own autonomous sphere.
Adam Tooze reviews Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism by Quinn Slobodian.