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Hayek Shrugged: Why Bureaucracy Didn't Die Under Neoliberalism But Boomed Instead

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Commentators have observed how neoliberal capitalism – contrary to the official narrative – frequently correlates with enthusiastic bureaucratisation, and perhaps has done so from its inception. Despite this acknowledgement, the precise mechanisms involved remain obscure. Focusing mainly on the writings of F. A Hayek, I argue that economic libertarianism is often contingent on a particular spirit of administration, justification for which can be found in the 'fine print' of Hayek among others. Furthermore, this counterintuitive symbiosis is realised through three institutional mechanisms, fuelling bureaucratisation in ostensibly pro-market environments. I discuss these mechanisms before exploring the implications they have for opposing the present economic regime.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2020

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  • new formations is an inter-disciplinary journal of culture, politics and theory. It covers a wide range of issues, from the seduction of perversity to questions of nationalism and postcolonialism.

    'essential reading for those who want to understand politics in the light of the most important trends in contemporary theory' Chantal Mouffe.

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