Back to the Cave: Cold, Hungry and Cruel? An epithet for the World Bank’s neoliberal economy project

Maria Veronica G. Caparas

Abstract


In this article, I show that the World Bank, along with other international financial institutions, is the primary architect of neoliberal policy of privatizing the formation of higher education and the migration of skilled labour from the Global South to the Global North. The Bank, through development gurus and theories orchestrating the pro-North development agenda, systematically manoeuvres the neoliberalization of higher education and migrant labour from the 1980s to the late 2000s with the promise of democracy, equity, justice and prosperity. Despite massive doses of The Bank-prescribed neoliberal development pills, the majority of the world’s population has yet to experience the promise. The Global South, through three selected countries that see the wisdom of wielding strong state roles in delivering social services, is able to partly parry the deadly sting of the 2008 global economic downturn. The South, immersed as it is in the North’s development agenda as shown in selected literature, has become a doppelganger of the North. In determining the South’s dynamic in service delivery, I turn to Habermas’ communicative rationality that likewise brings to bear similarly framed thoughts as the yardstick of the South’s critical voice against the North’s continuing espousal of neoliberal policy. It is this critical voice that further cultivates people’s micropolitics of beliefs, gender and language, and cries out “no” to The Bank-prescribed neoliberalized higher education and migrant labour – a prescription that leads to and simulates a “back-to-the-cave” circumstance.

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