Capitalist Globalisation: An Agent of Convergence, Continued Diversity, or Divergence?


This paper predominantly discusses the expansion of a global trend towards neoliberal capitalism, and investigate the extent of convergence, derived from the accepted adoption of the neoliberal ideology. Nonetheless, the complexity of the context, impose an analysis from many points of view. Therefore, three main levels of analysis has been identified. First, beginning from a micro-level perspective, the persistence of distinctive national traits and diversity between the capitalist political economies will be stressed, particularly by drawing from Hall’s works that belongs to the Institutionalist approach. Secondly, the concept of variegated neoliberalism will be introduced, with the contention that despite diversity, the global economy has progressed towards a neoliberal direction, although neoliberalism presents context-specific configurations. Finally, from a macro-level perspective, the article illustrates the pervasiveness of common economic patterns derived from a worldwide tendency towards neoliberalism. Contentions of institutional change towards the neoliberal model will be made; outlining some particularly relevant actor involved in the progress of the neoliberal ideology; and highlighting the pervasiveness of neoliberalism from international governance institutions up inside the urban areas.


Given the elements of diversity, it is by no means possible to state that current societies have experienced a process of monolithic convergence towards a pure neoliberal model. However, in spite of the fact that diversity is still present and that states display distinctive patterns, it is neither impossible to affirm that nations have experienced no degree of convergence at all, as they all present characteristics of the Washington Consensus in their path. To be more precise, the neoliberal ideology has also evolved into context-specific configurations. Therefore, I would rather argue for a “multi-scalar character of contemporary neo-liberalisation tendencies” (Brenner, Theodore, 2002), a dynamic articulation of neoliberalism, with diverse combinations of institutional arrangements. Finally, admitting the capitalistic variegation and institutional differentiation along with the presence of common neoliberal patterns, I believe that none of the perspectives I have provided deserves a primary position. The landscape is extremely complex and can be analysed from a variety of perspectives. A more holistic approach would be more realistic to appreciate the complexity of the nature of globalisation.


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