Lecture:Neoliberalism and the rise of the rentier class in Central Asia （Dr. Balihar Sanghera）
Lectures on Political Economy in Central Asia
September 10, 2019, Room A416, Science Building Zhongbei Campus, East China Normal University
Lecture 1 (10-11am)
Neoliberalism and the rise of the rentier class in Central Asia
This talks offers a moral economy critique of the transition to a market economy in Central Asia. In a reversal of the classical ideal of a ‘free market’, neoliberalism has promoted and celebrated rent extraction, sometimes over wealth creation. In freeing markets from government regulation, neoliberalism has enabled powerful economic actors (in particular banks and property owners) to exploit and indebt others. Neoliberalism has established, regularized and legitimized ‘unearned income’. Post-Soviet market reforms have produced shifts in the balance of power in relations between lenders and borrowers, landowners and tenants, utility companies and clients, and so on. Assets have become ‘improperty’, in that they are owned and controlled for exchange-value rather than use-value. While rentier activities are morally justified and normalized, they are harmful to the economic and social well-being of the population. Not surprisingly, some post-Soviet economies seek to extricate themselves from neoliberalism through alternative economic imaginaries.
Dr. Balihar Sanghera is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. His main interest is the political and moral economy of Eurasia, exploring how economic institutions and relationships relate to moral values and norms. His current research examines how global powers and associated international financial institutions shape and contest Central Asia. His papers have appeared in Europe-Asia Studies, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Theory and Society, International Sociology, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, The Sociological Review, and Sociological Research Online. He has been a visiting lecturer at Novosibirsk State University, American University - Central Asia and Boston University. He has also been a visiting scholar at Harvard and Boston Universities. Last year, he was the George F. Kennan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington D.C. He received his PhD Sociology at University of Lancaster, MSc Agricultural Economics at University of Oxford and BA Economics at University of Lancaster.