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Neoliberalism or neo-liberalism[1] refers primarily to the 20th-century resurgence of

19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism.[2]:7 Those ideas

include economic liberalization policies such as privatization, austerity, deregulation, free
trade[3] and reductions in government spending in order to increase the role of the private
sector in the economy and society.[11] These market-based ideas and the policies they
inspired constitute a paradigm shift away from the post-war Keynesian consensus which
lasted from 1945 to 1980.[12][13]

English-speakers have used the term "neoliberalism" since the start of the 20th century
with different meanings,[14] but it became more prevalent in its current meaning in the
1970s and 1980s, used by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences[15][16] as well as by
critics.[17][18] Modern advocates of free market policies avoid the term "neoliberal"[19] and
some scholars have described the term as meaning different things to different
people[20][21] as neoliberalism "mutated" into geopolitically distinct hybrids as it travelled
around the world.[4] As such, neoliberalism shares many attributes with other concepts
that have contested meanings, including democracy.[22]

The definition and usage of the term have changed over time.[5] As an economic
philosophy, neoliberalism emerged among European liberal scholars in the 1930s as they
attempted to trace a so-called "third" or "middle" way between the conflicting
philosophies of classical liberalism and socialist planning.[23]:14–15 The impetus for this
development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early
1930s, which neoliberals mostly blamed on the economic policy of classical liberalism.
In the decades that followed, the use of the term "neoliberal" tended to refer to theories
which diverged from the more laissez-faire doctrine of classical liberalism and which
promoted instead a market economy under the guidance and rules of a strong state, a
model which came to be known as the social market economy.

In the 1960s, usage of the term "neoliberal" heavily declined. When the term re-appeared
in the 1980s in connection with Augusto Pinochet's economic reforms in Chile, the usage
of the term had shifted. It had not only become a term with negative connotations
employed principally by critics of market reform, but it also had shifted in meaning from
a moderate form of liberalism to a more radical and laissez-faire capitalist set of ideas.
Scholars now tended to associate it with the theories of Mont Pelerin Society economists
Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and James M. Buchanan, along with politicians and
policy-makers such as Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Alan Greenspan.[5][24]
Once the new meaning of neoliberalism became established as a common usage among
Spanish-speaking scholars, it diffused into the English-language study of political
economy.[5] By 1994, with the passage of NAFTA and with the Zapatistas' reaction to this
development in Chiapas, the term entered global circulation.[4] Scholarship on the
phenomenon of neoliberalism has been growing over the last couple of decades.[16] The
impact of the global 2008–2009 crisis has also given rise to new scholarship that criticizes
neoliberalism and seeks policy alternatives.[25]