Neoliberalism in Central Europe: Is It Magic, Religion or Science?

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Michał Buchowski


Expansion of capitalism to former communist countries was presented, especially by many intellectuals,  as  a  scientific endeavor  based  on  rational  choice  theory,  management  techniques and precisely measured market forces. For many practitioners of ‘transformation’ the neo-liberal project became also similar to proselytizing religion that has to be spread among infidels, i.e. communism-ridden populations. In the process of applying supposedly scientific principles for missionary purposes, many mechanisms identified by anthropologists as magic were  used.  The same  modes  of  thinking  apply  to  the  explanations  of  reform  failures.  In magical  thinking symbols  are  treated  as  signs;  in  a supposedly  cause-and-effect  chain  of events  a  symbolic element  is  instantiated  and  the  status  of  this  symbol  is  perceived  as equivalent to the empirical constituents. Symbolic factors, distinguished as such in an analytical process, have the same power of affecting reality as the physically perceptible factors. Communism was often blamed for using magical tricks, particularly in the domain of magical  power  of  words.  Words,  through  their symbolic  power,  were  supposed  to  excuse  for failures in practical domains. In the notions describing advantages and shortcomings of the neoliberal  system  such  unspecified  elements  can also be  identified.  In  conclusion  one  can say that  neo-liberalism is a science, but only for its believers who in their reasoning apply magical modes of thinking. 


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How to Cite
Buchowski, M. (2013). Neoliberalism in Central Europe: Is It Magic, Religion or Science?. Poznańskie Studia Slawistyczne, (4), 29–41.
Magiczna moc słów w językach, literaturach oraz kulturach słowiańskich


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