Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Where’s Turkey headed?

The results of the April 16 referendum called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan prompted a deluge of analyses in the Western media which, for the most part, painted him as ‘the great loser’. In Greece, the results were described as a ‘Pyrrhic victory’ which some analysts proclaimed the start of Turkey’s strategic decline.

But the Istanbul stock exchange’s reaction was quite different as it continued its climb of the last two months. The Turkish lira was equally unperturbed. Turkish business, in contrast to international analysts, seemed satisfied by the result; Erdoğan’s acceptance by this sector is the secret to his dominance.

The new dominant classes

It may sound funny today, but after the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) first victory in 2002, Erdoğan had been hailed as the radical politician who would smash the Kemalist establishment and usher in democracy. Western analysts fantasised about the Turkey’s ‘good’ Islam as a counterweight to Iran and parts of the Arab world. But the reality was always quite different. Turkey’s political Islam was never democratic nor, of course, anti-capitalist or anti-imperialist. Its emergence marked what we could call the ‘autocracy of the free market’. Contrary to what most people think, there is no inherent contradiction between free market capitalism and political authoritarianism. AKP’s rise buried once and for all the Kemalist economy with its strong public sector and extensive web of social control. The new Turkish capitalism would have more open markets alongside broader state authority.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

How Definancialization Could Save Greece—and the World

Smart Talk with Andrew Mazzone and Costas Lapavitsas 

The word "financialization" accurately captures a prominent aspect of contemporary capitalism: Over the last few decades, the lucrative financial sector has grown exponentially, to the point of dominating economies in the US and around the world.

In this episode of Smart Talk, Andrew Mazzone and economist Costas Lapavitsas discuss how the profound effects of financialization have been felt in Greece, throughout Europe and here in America—and not to the benefit of working people, infrastructure and society. Dr. Lapavitsas argues that challenging the devastating impact of financialization is a necessary task that must be confronted head on. 

He posits: What has to change? And who will take the lead?