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Financialization and right-wing nationalist politics in Hungary - a case through housing

Conference contribution
Authors Agnes Gagyi
Csaba Jelinek
Zsuzsanna Posfai
Published in Fifth Global Conference on Economic Geography, 24-28 July, Cologne, Germany
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Sociology and Work Science
Language en
Links https://www.gceg2018.com/home.html
Subject categories Political Science, Social and Economic Geography

Abstract

Rather than a particular set of recent transformations in enterprises, households or the state, we understand financialization as a cyclically returning shift in the global regime of capitalist accumulation, where interdependencies within the global economy are increasingly articulated through the financial channel, specifically through the relation of debt. In our paper we look at the Hungarian state as an institutional actor embedded in and transformed by this shift in world-economic integration, which steps up as a manager of newly financializing relations of internal and external integration, to the benefit of a new state-based national capitalist class. The high presence of foreign banking groups has been highlighted as a characteristic of CEE financialization, thus the drastic decrease in foreign bank ownership in Hungary, achieved in the last few years by the current conservative nationalist government, could be considered as a sign of decreasing financialization and decreasing dependency. We will, however, argue that this is not the case, and the current restructuring in the banking, real estate, or other infrastructure-related sectors is mainly a reorganization of channels of capital flows, in an attempt to orient them towards a new national capitalist class. This is not a step towards a more just financial regime internally, as the government argues: the main financial source of the new nationalized banking sector comes from regressive redistributive policies which generated a significant volume of savings in the upper middle class. The development of new patterns and institutions of financialization of housing are embedded in this new constellation of financialized, state-driven national capital development. It strongly builds on and unfolds from previous forms of dependent housing financialization – both spatially and socially, through the pulsation of subsequent waves of financial overinclusion and exclusion. We analyze banking and housing policies together with the geographies of uneven development they extend upon.

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