Economic Justice and Resisting Neoliberalism

We believe our economic system should improve people’s lives and the environment. Yet the current dominant economic thinking —often referred to as neoliberalism— puts greed and private interests ahead of people and the planet.

Popular movements now and in the past show us there is another way forward. The domination of neoliberalism needs to be challenged to be able to create better conditions for alternative systems with a more sustainable and equitable approach.

Trade agreements, investment contracts and resource use policies are often conducted without public access. Yet these affect the lives of peoples and communities. They could spell the displacement of communities, violation of peoples’ rights and the destruction of the environment. The work forward requires exposing and challenging the influence of big corporations and international institutions, interrogating the neoliberal policies promoted by development banks and opposing trade negotiations that open market access to corporations instead of taking people’s needs into account. We point out the contradictions of the current development model and expose how today’s economic system benefits a few while impoverishing many. 

With social movements, including feminists, indigenous people and peasant movements around the world, we work in solidarity against destructive logging by big companies, the push for large scale agro-industrial plantations, and mining investments and projects that local communities do not want. We advocate for a legally binding treaty to hold transnational corporations to account on human rights and environmental abuses. We expose and denounce the power of corporations in policies and practices that prevent communities from asserting their rights to sustainable livelihoods and environmental justice.

We advocate economic justice solutions that promote sustainable and culturally appropriate livelihoods like cooperatives and public services that reduce inequality, contribute to equitable power relations including between women and men and expand the role of cooperation, community management and sustainable planning in all aspects of life.

“People powered solutions show a pathway to change; our challenge is to scale them up.”
Hemantha Withnage, Centre for Environmental Justice, Sri Lanka


What is Neoliberalism?

Neoliberalism is a form of free market fundamentalism that has been the dominant global economic ideology for the last 30 years in which profit and “efficiency” are the central goals of society.  It is a framework focused on reducing the role of the state and taxation, while promoting privatisation, deregulation and corporate trade deals. This has led to soaring inequality, whereby just 8 people have the same wealth as half the world’s population and an environmental crisis in the form of unprecedented species loss and dangerous climate change.

For more information contact:
Regional Program Coordinators

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