Article

Theory and Society

, 38:57

First online:

Theorizing business power in the semiperiphery: Mexico 1970-2000

  • Leslie C. GatesAffiliated withSociology Department, Binghamton University Email author 

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Abstract

This study explains why the power of neoliberal business over the Mexican state increased during the last three decades of the twentieth century. It identifies three sources of increased neoliberal business power that occurred in conjunction with neoliberal reforms: (1) active mobilization by neoliberal business, (2) increased access to the state by neoliberal business, and (3) increased economic power of neoliberal business. It thereby contributes additional evidence that counters the view of Mexico’s state neoliberalizers as acting autonomously from business. It further outlines two conditions that were instrumental in bringing about the increased power of neoliberal business: the onset of economic crisis in the 1970s, and a shift in foreign capital preferences in Mexico. The analysis demonstrates how Mexico’s sources and conditions of business power differed from those in advanced industrial societies, and outlines why the Mexican case may be a good starting point for devising a historically-contingent theory of business power in the semiperiphery.