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2013 International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy
June 9-11, 2013 – The Hague (Netherlands)
Out of Control: The Multiple Crises of Global Neoliberalism
Roberto De Vogli, PhD, MPH
For the past decades, the diffusion of global neoliberalism engaged individuals,
companies and states everywhere in a frantic race for profit and wealth. It made
people more selfish, materialistic, socially alienated and ecologically unfriendly. It
encouraged corporations and nations to consume, pollute and expand as if there is
no tomorrow. Indeed, there may not be one.
There are multiple crises casting shadows over the future of global civilization:
climate change, peak oil, overpopulation, excessive consumption of natural
resources, global financial instability, startling economic inequalities, widespread
political inertia, civic disengagement and psychosocial degradation. The current
model of economic development is out of control: it is like a train without a driver,
approaching a precipice. What is to be done to stop it? How can we stop
economic progress toward collapse?
This paper offers a list of down-to-earth policy solutions to promote an ecologically
sustainable and psychosocially fulfilling society. It argues that the world's health
prospects now depend on repudiating the "market greed" doctrine driving our
economies and our psyches, and then crafting a new model of development where
profit and wealth can be instrumental to health, wellbeing, creativity and solidarity.
Given the current distribution of power and wealth, and the state of psychological and
political inertia in which we are trapped, however, our chances of redefining progress
around alternative values and embracing a new philosophy of life are slim. Yet, the
history of human emancipation has often been shaped by giant leaps forward. In the
past, civic struggles have overcome "the limits of the possible". Whether this will
happen again in the future is the central question of our time.
Keywords: Global Crises, Civilisation, Neoliberalism, Ecological Collapse,
Contact details: Prof. Roberto De Vogli, PhD, MPH. School of Medicine,
Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis & Senior
Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London.
Address (US): One Shields Avenue, Med Sci 1-C (room #122) - Davis, CA 956168638 Phone (US): +1 (530) 752-4853. E-mail: [email protected]
Biosketch: Before moving to the University of California, Prof. De Vogli worked for
numerous organizations including the World Bank and the World Health Organization.
He is a former member of the Globalization and Health Knowledge Network of the
WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health and the author of more than 70
scientific articles in the field of globalization and global health. His first book, entitled
“Progress or Collapse: The Crises of Market Greed,” published by Routledge/Francis
& Taylor in January 2013, is a wake-up call on the multiple crises of global