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Labor, Financialization of Housing and the Re-Scaling State in Hungarian Second-Tier Cities

Conference contribution
Authors Marton Czirfusz
Agnes Gagyi
Tamas Gerocs
Csaba Jelinek
Tibor Meszmann
Zsuzsanna Posfai
Published in Fifth Global Conference on Economic Geography, 24-28 July 2018, Cologne, Germany
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Subject categories Social and Economic Geography


Global cycles of capital accumulation are driving uneven development on various spatial scales. Our paper addresses how this process is articulated in Hungary. We focus on the points of juncture between the new spatial divisions of labour resulting from the post-crisis global industrial relocation, the financialisation of housing, and the way the state mediates capital-labour relations. Geographically, we focus on second-tier cities in Hungary defined as intermediate spaces in uneven national accumulation processes. We apply the concept of ‘intermediate spaces’ to various aspects. First, in the production process, entreprises located in these cities are typically in lower hierarchical positions in global supply chains, employing a larger share of unskilled labour. Fluctuations in the production process result in a larger pool of the industrial reserve army, or more precarious employment relations in segmented local labour markets, as well as more profound out-migration processes. Second, second-tier cities are spaces where the housing market fluctuates the most, according to the availability of housing credit and of related state subsidies to homeownership. In these places the volatility of housing financialization can best be grasped. Labour market intermediaries increasingly link the aspect of labour and housing by investing into real estate, in order to offer a place of living for their employees, and to invest surplus capital. Third, the rescaling state mediates between global and local forces. On the one hand, public policies mobilize and discipline the reserve army by a mix of interventions into housing, labour market, and policing. On the other, the state incorporates the sometimes colliding interests of domestic and international fractions of capital in its ongoing negotiations in the accumulation process. Moreover, the shift in the international arena from predominantly Western industrial interests to more diverse fractions pushes the state to operate in a new intersection of global dependencies.

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