Class and Neo-liberalism in Turkey

A new article at the publisher’s website is “Social Classes and the Neo-Liberal Poverty Regime in Turkey, 2002–2011” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1325919), authored by Serdal Bahçe of the Department of Public Finance and Ahmet Haşim Köse of the Department of Economics, both in the Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara University.

This important article seeks to develop an account of the class nature of social welfare in Turkey. The abstract states:

The Justice and Development Party (or AKP) era in Turkey has witnessed the emergence of a new welfare regime resting on voluntary public and private transfers. This system has been replacing the former welfare system in which the right to social welfare benefits was constitutionally guaranteed. The new welfare system has tended to distribute transfers on a selective and unequal basis. This article analyses the size and effects of this system using a social class-based analytical framework. In explaining class structure in Turkey, we use the official Household Budget Survey database. The results indicate a massive process of proletarianisation has taken place. Our results indicate that the working classes have constituted the majority of the poor. In this environment, the shares of voluntary public and private transfers in the incomes of households have been rising. For some classes, like rural unemployed, urban unemployed and agricultural labourers, these transfers have captured a very high share of the incomes. These transfers have also been distributed very unequally. Their share in the central budget has also been rising. All these point to the emergence of a new neo-liberal welfare (poverty) regime as part of a new labour control regime.

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