Transnational class formation in the periphery: A critical analysis of Colombia’s neo-extractivist and agro-industrial model of accumulation

Aaron Tauss


The crisis of Fordism in the 1970s provoked a profound restructuring of the labor process and capital accumulation around the world. The internationalization of production emerged as the principal strategy to re-establish the profit rate and subsequently facilitated the consolidation of a post-Fordist, neoliberal, and finance-driven regime of accumulation. National economies around the world, in particular low-wage destinations in the periphery, increasingly opened up their markets to products and investments from the center countries. The economic and financial penetration by transnational, imperialist capital led to the denationalization of class relations, i.e. the incorporation of transnational forces into the national power blocs, and fundamentally transformed the peripheral capitalist states. The restructuring affected both the national bourgeoisie and the comprador bourgeoisie and redefined their relations with the dominant classes and class fractions of the center countries. The integration of multinational corporations and global financial investors into the national power blocs increasingly shifted the focus of the latter towards transnational forms of capital accumulation.

The process of transnational class formation in the periphery can be studied in relation to the emergence, expansion and deepening of Colombia’s current neo-extractivist and agro-industrial model of accumulation that is based on foreign direct investment, forced displacement of the peasantry and land grabbing. The so-called “economic opening” in the early-1990 not only progressively incorporated the country into the dynamics of a globalized capitalist economy, but also gave way to the transnationalization of class relations and the restructuring of the capitalist state. Similar to other countries in the region, Colombia’s increased focus on transnational mining, agribusiness, and the extraction of hydrocarbons need to be linked to the expansion of free trade agreements and analyzed against the backdrop of violent state formation in geographically peripheral yet economically central regions via the strategy of counter-insurgency and organized crime.

Latin America - Transnationalization - Imperialism - Class formation - Periphery