Theory and Society

, 38:57 | Cite as

Theorizing business power in the semiperiphery: Mexico 1970-2000



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.


Gross Domestic Product North American Free Trade Agreement Capital Flight Proximate Source Business Mobilization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Please direct correspondence to Leslie Gates, Sociology Department, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York 13902 ( I thank the anonymous reviewers and the editors at Theory and Society as well as Kate Griffith, William Martin, Harland Prechel, Nella VanDyke, and the 2006–7 members of DaDNYRG, Tim Bartley, Liz Borland, Michael Mulcahy and Rachel Sherman for their valuable suggestions. Rebecca Desiletz and Ayse Serdar provided able research assistance. I am indebted to the Fulbright-García Robles Foundation, the University of Arizona’s Final Project Fund, and the Tinker Foundation for funding research in Mexico and the Fulbright Scholar Program for subsidizing research and writing undertaken while in Venezuela.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sociology DepartmentBinghamton UniversityBinghamtonUSA

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