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The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications by Janet Wasko, Graham Murdock, Helena Sousa

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11

Liberal Fictions

The Public–Private Dichotomy in Media Policy

Andrew Calabrese and Colleen Mihal

Introduction

Following the administrations of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979–90) and US President Ronald Reagan (1981–9), the belief that there is no alternative to neoliberal political-economic theory and practice became widespread (Harvey 2005). The collapse of the Soviet Union somehow lent credence to that belief, which was reinforced by triumphalist proclamations about the inevitability of a liberal-democratic global order (Fukuyama 1989). Since then, a number of globally significant events have called into question the merits of these beliefs, not least of which have been the uprisings against neoliberal economic policies through mass mobilizations in many parts of the world. Then al Qaeda attacks in 2001 against human and architectural symbols of the global domination of US financial and military interests, as well as the more recent crisis of the US-led global financial industry, have heightened distrust of the values of neoliberalism that have been forcefully championed by US leaders worldwide. These events also have contributed to efforts in many countries to renew social policy principles and priorities that were discredited and discarded through assaults on welfare state policies and the imposition of structural adjustment policies on countries of the global south by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Today there is widespread intellectual and ...

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