From Quantitative Easing to neo-mercantilist policies, the renewal of industrial policy, the multiplication of sovereign wealth funds and marketized state-owned enterprises, increased state participation in global value chains and global networks of corporate ownership, the state seems to be ‘back in business’ everywhere. This raises a series of questions:
- Are we witnessing a shift to state-led development? A return of ‘state capitalism’ under a globalised and financialized form? Are these processes challenging market ascendance and/or neoliberalism as a global development regime?
- Has there been a transformation of the developmental state and of the logics and instruments of ‘catch-up’ development? New tools of state intervention for industrial and innovation policy?
- What are the implications of the resurgence of ‘state-capital hybrids’ (state-sponsored investment funds, state-owned enterprises, development banks, etc.) as key actors in development? Are these transforming the global development finance architecture? What is the relationship between, on the one hand, state-owned, state-controlled, and state-directed capital, and on the other hand, private capital?
- What are the wider geopolitical and geo-economic shifts in which the rise of the new state capitalism is embedded? What is new about the recent ‘wave’ of state capitalism across the global economy? What are the strategic, structural/epochal, and contingent drivers of its emergence?
- What is the progressive potential of these developments, both in the global South and in the global North? What are the limits to the new state capitalism, and the various forms of resistance to it?
We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions exploring these themes. This blog series aims to stimulate critical debates from a plurality of academic perspectives (political economy, economics, sociology, development studies, law, international business, strategic management, geography, etc.) in order to critically interrogate the more visible role of the state in development, the economy, and society at large.
The more visible role of the state is also a chance to revisit and rethink (from both a theoretical and normative perspective) some of the most perennial questions of political economy: what is the state? What is the appropriate scope for state intervention? How should it relate to popular and democratic forms of control?
Overview of the series:
- State Capitalism Redux? The first contribution to the series, written by Ilias Alami and Adam Dixon (both based at Maastricht University), acts as an introduction to the blog series. It provides some contextual information on the rise of the new state capitalism, and critically engages with the recent literature on the topic.
- The local state origins of national economic development. This contribution by Milford Bateman offers a revised understanding of the developmental state, emphasising the history (and the progressive potential) of the local state in driving ‘bottom up’ structural transformation processes.
- Indonesia’s State-Led Development: Custodian of the National Interest, or Boondoggle? James Guild looks at the much discussed case of State Capitalism in Indonesia under President Jokowi and identifies some key projects which highlight the developmental role of the state.
- Lean on me: Development financial struggles and national development banks. Kyunghoon Kim scrutinizes the political economic determinants of the growing mobilisation of national development banks in a wide range of developing and advanced economies.
- The Specter of State Capitalism. In this short commentary, Adam Dixon and Ilias Alami reflect on the coronavirus crisis and the reconfiguration of the state-capital relation it is catalyzing the world over.
- ‘Climate Emergency’, COVID-19 and the Australian capitalist state. Anna Sturman draws upon materialist state theory to provide a critical reflection on the rearticulation of the Australian state in the context of the bushfire and coronavirus crises, and outlines strategies for reconfiguring the state in more progressive ways
- Assessing the ‘Return’ of the State: Bringing Class Back In. Mehmet Erol critically analyses the ‘return’ of the state in the context of the current crisis, and emphasises the theoretical-political necessity of carefully considering class dynamics
- Neoliberalism on Trial: Jokowi 2.0, Omnibus Bill and the New Capital City. Trissia Wijaya explores what effects do neoliberal policies have on state-capital relations in Indonesia through the case of the Omnibus Bill.
- The Promise – and Pitfalls – of State-led Development in Resource-rich Countries: Resource Nationalism in Latin America and Beyond. Jewellord Nem Singh provides an insightful analysis of the political economic determinants of resource nationalism as a state-led development strategy.
- When does state-permeated capitalism work? Andreas Nölke examines to what extent large emerging economies (China, India, Brazil, and South Africa) feature ‘state-permeated capitalist systems’, and critically reflects on their economic success.
- RMB internationalisation as an extension of Chinese state capitalism. Kean Fan Lim investigates the rationale underpinning the internationalization of the renminbi and sheds light on its uneasy relationship with the transformations of Chinese state capitalism into a global process.
- BNDES’ multidimensional retreat from the Brazilian economy. Kyunghoon Kim scrutinises the rise and fall of Brazil’s main national development bank, and argues that the current rollback of its operations may signal the end of active state capitalism in Brazil.
- The return of State planning. André Roncaglia and João Romero assess how the COVID-19 crisis might be a turning point for the return of State planning, with particular attention to Brazil.
- Financializing state capitalism: Exchanges, financial infrastructures & the active management of capital markets in China. Johannes Petry unpacks how Chinese state intervention in and through capital markets shapes the particular form of financialization unfolding in China. His findings have crucial implications for how we conceive of the relation between financialization and authoritarian state capitalism
- Neoliberalism’s many deaths and strange non-deaths. This contribution by Jack Copley and Alexis Moraitis proposes to re-explore the political economy of states and markets by drawing upon Marx’s concept of alienation. Governing alienation, they argue, is the inescapable burden that confronts every state in capitalism, at the expense of human dignity.
- Separated under the Same Roof: The Revived Relationships of State-Market Institutions. Lorena Lombardozzi investigates the role the state can play in upgrading in global value chains with developmental objectives, drawing on her research on Uzbek horticulture value chain governance.
- The return of the visible hand: How struggles for economic and political dominance turn state capitalism into authoritarian capitalism. Dorottya Sallai and Gerhard Schnyder unpack how an authoritarian form of state has developed in Hungary. ‘Authoritarian capitalism’, they argue, is a much more useful category in this case than the widely used and loosely defined rubric ‘state capitalism’.
- Developmental Agency under the Radar: Developmental States and Coalitions in Dependent Market Economies and Low-Tech Sectors. David Karas and László Bruszt scrutinise the recombinant institutional trajectories of state socialism and post-socialism in Poland and Hungary. Their study highlight the limits of neoliberal developmentalism and the need for the state’s active role in economic development.
- Debating ‘State Capitalism’ in Turkey: Beyond False Dichotomies. Mehmet Erol critically engages with the ‘state capitalism’ debate in Turkey. Has Turkey drifted towards Russian-style authoritarian state capitalism? Erol warns against arbitrary periodisations and false dichotomies, as these can lead to a misinterpretation of capitalist trajectories and of the changing practices of crisis management by the capitalist state.
- Sino State Capital and the Strengthening of Serbian Stabilitocracy. Imogen T. Liu explores the relationship between Chinese state capitalism and Serbian competitive authoritarianism. Drawing upon fieldwork in Serbia, she argues that the penetration of Chinese state capital in Serbia, notably in infrastructure, contributes to both the political stabilisation of the Serbian regime, and to the spread of Chinese accumulation logics abroad.
- The Strategic Logics of State Investment Funds: Beyond Financialization. Adam Dixon examines why state-owned corporate entities are increasingly behaving like the private sector. Financialisation, he argues, may be an important factor, but is not the only one. Dixon identifies three other logics (a developmental logic, a regime maintenance logic, and a geo-political legitimacy logic) which are also at play, and fundamentally shape the rise of marketized state entities.
- A new Washington Consensus on the role of the state? Ilias Alami, Adam Dixon, and Emma Mawdsley argue that we are witnessing a reorientation of official agendas and discourses about the state, which now embrace a fuller role of the state in development (than the Washington Consensus), including as promoter, supervisor, and owner of capital. This new vision, is fundamentally shaped by the contemporary advent of state capitalism, and the profound apprehension this generates amongst liberal development institutions.
If you’re interested in contributing to the blog series, please contact the series editors Ilias Alami and Farwa Sial. This debate series is supported by the European Research Council under Grant 758430