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 6: The tyranny of (neo)liberal democracy: a global capitalist fantasy of authoritarian freedom

Peter Bloom

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


This chapter highlights how authoritarian capitalism is not limited to “developing countries” or newly economically and politically “modern” ones. It is also found within established liberal democracies. Significantly, such authoritarianism is not counter to liberal democratic values but rather expands upon them in quite coercive ways. More precisely, it channels desires for democratic sovereignty and power as well as liberal notions of the state as a “protector” of rights, into a political fantasy in which governments must be illiberally empowered to safeguard freedom, understood as the simultaneous presence of liberalism, democracy and the market. The need to shape and discipline individuals to become “responsible” neoliberal subjects is transformed into the duty of the state to control the population for the same ends.

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