Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Globalization

Authoritarian Capitalism in the Age of Globalization

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.

Chapter 4: The market despots: the global capitalist fantasy of authoritarian nationalism

Peter Bloom

Subjects: business and management, corporate governance, organisation studies, economics and finance, institutional economics, politics and public policy, political economy


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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