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The national-populist mutation of neoliberalism

We know much about the mutation of neoliberalism in advanced economies. I show how this might happen in investment-dependent economies.

 

Abstract

This article offers a new conceptual framework to analyze the national-populist mutation of neoliberalism in foreign investment-dependent economies. By extending the emerging literature on the mutation of neoliberalism, the article challenges the conventional view of populism as a revolt against liberal capitalism and businesses. Following theory-testing process tracing, the article substantiates this theoretical framework through a detailed mixed-method study of the strategic test case of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary. Utilizing new empirical material on businesses and policymakers, the article shows how the polarization of the business class rooted in global dependency structures, in interaction with a rising group of nationalist technocrats, has contributed to the national-populist mutation of neoliberalism. National-populist neoliberalism entails a new power bloc, a new compromise between national and transnational capital. It has preserved the core tenets of neoliberalism while modifying some of its peripheral elements and cutting back on avant-garde excesses to ensure the political viability of neoliberalism.

 

Scheiring, Gábor. 2022. “The National-Populist Mutation of Neoliberalism in Dependent Economies: The Case of Viktor Orbán’s Hungary.” Socio-Economic Review, Advance access, published on Feb 15, 2022, doi: 10.1093/ser/mwac007


Read or download the published pdf here (no paywall).