Friedrich von Hayek and Milton Friedman are the founding fathers of neoliberal economics. When Augusto Pinochet overthrew Chile’s elected government, they helped devise his economic agenda and endorsed the brutal repression that was needed to force it through.
Jessica Whyte is associate professor of philosophy at the University of New South Wales. She is the author of Catastrophe and Redemption: The Political Thought of Giorgio Agamben and The Morals of the Market: Human Rights and the Rise of Neoliberalism.
The intellectual godfathers of neoliberalism knew they needed to attach a philosophy of high-minded ideals to the vicious free-market system they wanted to spread around the globe. They found such a philosophy by perverting the idea of human rights.