Academic journal article Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Capital Fixity and Mobility in Response to the 2008-09 Crisis: Variegated Neoliberalism in Mexico and Turkey

Academic journal article Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

Capital Fixity and Mobility in Response to the 2008-09 Crisis: Variegated Neoliberalism in Mexico and Turkey

Article excerpt

Abstract. This paper examines the responses to the 2008-09 global financial crisis in Mexico and Turkey as examples of variegated neoliberalism. The simultaneous interests of corporations and banks in the national fixing of capital and their mobility in the form of global investment heavily influenced these states' policy responses to the crisis at the expense of the interests of the poor, workers, and peasantry. Rather than pitching this as evidence of either persistent national differentiation or some Keynesian state resurgence, we argue from a historical materialist geographical framework that the responses of capital and state authorities in Mexico and Turkey actively constitute and reconstitute the global parameters of market regulatory design and neoliberal class rule through each state's distinct domestic policy formation and crisis management processes. The latter is influenced by capitalists' ties to the fixity and motion of capital. While differing in specific content, the form of Mexico's and Turkey's official responses to the crisis ensured continuity in their neoliberal strategies of development and capital accumulation.

Keywords: variegated neoliberalism, state power, capital mobility, Mexico, Turkey, capital fixity

Introduction

The 2008-09 global financial crisis challenges our understandings of the nature and persistence of neoliberal development strategies. Since then, advanced capitalist neoliberal archetypes have stagnated while the emerging neoliberal capitalisms outperform them. Despite such divergence, neoliberalism as a strategy of capital accumulation prevails. This suggests that a deeper understanding of contemporary capitalism is needed to help make sense of neoliberalism's complex and robust dynamics. Our interest is in comparing the high-growth, crisis-prone, middle-income emerging capitalisms and doing so using a spatial framework to generate unique insights. In order to do this we look to Turkey and Mexico. These two peripheral members of the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) uniquely border the world's two most powerful advanced capitalist regional hegemons, the US and the EU. Despite their significant geographical locations, there remains remarkably little comparative political-economy analysis of these societies. Specifically, the Mexico-Turkey comparison can help explain how and why crisis-driven neoliberal strategies of accumulation in emerging capitalisms have been implemented and reinvented domestically (Marois, 2011; Munoz Martinez, 2008). Such an explanation must take into account each society's domestic political economy and its subordinate integration into the global financial market. As two 'most different' cases of neoliberal transformation, Mexico's and Turkey's institutional landscapes and class structures maintain specificities, but in ways that are constitutive of the universal and structural competitive imperatives that define global neoliberal capitalism (cf Albo, 2005; Brenner et al, 2010; Marois, 2012).

Our study responds to two notable gaps in the political-economy and developmental literatures. The first gap has to do with the choice of comparative cases. Since 2008-09 many international commentators and academics have mainly focused on the fashionable BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) collective, which are presented as successful postcrisis-cum-new-developmentalist cases of sustained economic growth. Mexico and Turkey are rarely considered part of this new developmentalist clique (perhaps for fear of ending up with a less poetic acronym), despite also enjoying rapid economic recovery. Hence, the rich comparative experiences of Mexico and Turkey have yet to be fully excavated. The second gap has to do with the choice of analytical framework. Much of the research on emerging market crises and development involves institutionalist case studies. While providing important insights into domestic specificities, these often come without reference to otherwise universalising global capitalist structures and underlying class exploitation (eg, Oni[section] and Burak Giiven, 2011). …

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