Evaluating the penetration of capitalism in postsocialist Moscow

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Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

Abstract

This article evaluates critically the meta-narrative that capitalism is becoming totalizing and hegemonic. Recently, an emerging corpus of postdevelopment thought has begun to deconstruct this discourse, but only in relation to Western economies and the majority (third) world. To further contribute to this emerging critique, the aim is to analyze the degree to which capitalist economic practices have permeated postsocialist societies through a case study of Moscow. Based on face-to-face interviews with 313 households during 2005/06 concerning their work practices, a relatively shallow penetration of capitalism in this city is identified, with only a minority of households relying on the capitalist economy in particular, and the formal economy more generally, to secure their livelihood. The vast majority of the population is found to depend heavily on an array of noncapitalist economic practices; and capitalist and noncapitalist practices are identified as operating in tandem with, rather than in opposition to, each other. The outcome is a call to refute the universality of capitalist hegemony and to rethink the nature of economic development from a perspective that recognizes the persistence of economic pluralism.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-379
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Journal of Economics and Sociology
Volume67
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008