The Prospects of Egalitarian Capitalism in the Global South: Turkish Social Neoliberalism in Comparative Perspective

Friday, 3 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
CLM.B.05 (Clement House)
Tim Dorlach, Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey
This article studies the transformation of social and economic policy in Turkey during the 2000s. The policy mix that has emerged can be usefully conceptualized as social neoliberalism: (a) relatively orthodox neoliberal economic policies, and (b) neoliberal restructuring of labor market institutions and social security (the protective welfare state), were combined with (c) a significant expansion, both in terms of public spending and population coverage, of public health and public education (the productive welfare state). Therefore, social neoliberalism is distinct both from social democracy and orthodox neoliberalism. The rise of social neoliberalism in Turkey during the 2000s is best understood with reference to the cross-class social coalition that supports the current government (including the urban and rural poor as well as the business community) and a politics of inequality that is concerned with providing equal access to public services rather than reducing income inequality. Turkey’s experience with social neoliberalism provides an important reference point for cases such as Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico.