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Peter Bloom

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Peter Bloom

Exploring the rise of authoritarian capitalism, this book offers a fresh perspective on politics and economics in the present age of globalization. It asks the crucial question of whether individuals and nations can break free from the ‘grip’ of authoritarian capitalism in the twenty-first century. Peter Bloom includes a detailed and in-depth analysis of how marketization is promoting political authoritarianism across the world. He tells a story of authoritarian progress – where capitalist prosperity can only be delivered by the coercive rule of ‘self-disciplining’ nations and ‘disciplining’ trans-national institutions – and in which capitalist sovereignty is replacing liberal and social democracy. In doing so, Bloom helps readers rethink the structural as well as discursive role of sovereign power within capitalism, showing the ways the free market relies upon a range of authoritarian political fantasies not just for its growth but its very survival.
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Peter Bloom

This chapter explores the current narrative of politically authoritarian capitalist development. In particular, it investigates the popular discourses that are being marshaled to justify formal and informal state and international repression in the name of a market based “modernization”? Present is a similar fantasy to that of “market despotism” described in Chapter 4. Drawing on the case studies of Singapore and Mexico, it shows how states increasingly rely on a utopian fantasy of economic and political development, associated with marketization and democratization, respectively, that justifies a monopoly of power and quite oppressive popular rule. They do so, moreover, through publicly trumpeting the unique possibilities and challenges they face as “developing countries” in a globalizing world.
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Peter Bloom

This chapter looks specifically at how economic globalization is helping to produce a similarly globalizing political authoritarianism. What are the specific discourses associated with contemporary globalization that creates the conditions for wide-ranging forms of despotism and political repression? Specifically, how are these processes producing rather appealing capitalist fantasies of political authoritarianism nationally. It investigates these concerns through providing a theoretical and historical overview of this relationship of capitalism to authoritarianism.
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Peter Bloom

This chapter looks more in depth at how economic discourses of globalization are catalyzing popular desires for political authoritarianism. Specifically, it contends that the portrayal of corporate globalization as “inevitable” and “necessary” creates an intensified desire for individual and collective sovereignty. Rather than simply be a “subjectless” part of the inexorable and unavoidable spread of an international financial regime, people affectively embrace their right and ability to shape this process to their own advantage – to be, in this sense, a subject of globalization instead of merely being subjected to it. As will be shown, this fantasy of sovereignty associated with globalization is quite conducive to conventional authoritarianism, and ironically serves to provide a popular legitimacy to capitalism’s ongoing structural necessity of a regulative state for its survival and growth.
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Peter Bloom

This concluding chapter reflects on how political authoritarianism is emerging as an affective discourse for justifying deepening economic marketization globally. In particular, it points to a reconfigured modernization discourse updated for the new millennium. The traditional assumption that markets will lead to democracy has been transformed into a twenty-first century story of authoritarian progress. Where a fiscally self-disciplining state and disciplining international institutions will use their power to ensure that countries around the world develop and prosper. Required is not democracy, deliberation, debate, experimentation or a re-thinking of core values. Instead all that is needed is for governments and IFIs to rule populations with a firm and “responsible” hand. Witnessed is the rise of authoritarian capitalism in the age of globalization – where capitalist sovereignty is replacing liberal and social democracy.
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Peter Bloom

This chapter examines the rise of a new and increasingly attractive form of authoritarian capitalism nationally. The demand for national sovereignty, intimately associated with a sense of lacking individual and collective agency, is transposed onto a strong state actor. The personal dictator or the “Party” resonates with a yearning to feel once more in control. These authoritarian regimes supposedly are unbound by strictures of globalization while still secure in their promise of delivering future capitalist progress. Such longings are readily witnessed in rising powers such as Russia and China. In each of these cases, an economics of marketization is matched by a politics of explicit and implicit authoritarianism. Reflected is the broader appeal and rise of market despots.
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Peter Bloom

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Peter Bloom

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Peter Bloom

This chapter sheds light on the authoritarianism crucial to the contemporary international spread and maintenance of capitalism. Rather than a weakened state or merely trans-national forms of sovereignty, it illuminates the continued reliance of the free market on an emboldened governmental force for its protection. The promise of “good governance” exists as an affective discourse for increasing the scope of national governments to broaden the limits of its coercive power in order to “secure” marketization domestically against popular threats. In this respect, corporate globalization has produced “self-disciplining” neoliberal states. It additionally has dramatically expanded the authority and subsequent authoritarianism of international actors to influence and directly determine a country’s politics to reflect these neoliberal values. Present, as will be shown, is a multi-level global authoritarian fantasy of capitalist good governance.