Big business in Chile: an assessment of makro-regional class formation
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
International Sociological Association (ISA) Forum of Sociology
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Big business in Chile is comprised of different factions. Beside long-established conglomerates (Matte, Edwards), there are diversified grupos económicos which started their ascent in the second half of the 1980s (Angelini, Luksic and some smaller groups). After the transition to democracy, new local players emerged. They all profit(ed) from far-reaching privatization and radical market reforms.
Alone or together with foreign partners, they control the natural resource-based export industries of low value-added commodities. Despite transnational capital penetrated the domestic market, they still dominate retail and maintain strong positions in the banking, assurance, real-estate and telecommunication sector. Since the 1990s they constantly expanded their key businesses beyond the borders. While first attempts failed, the Chilean groups are now active in the neighbouring countries such as Columbia, Brazil, Argentina and Peru as well as in the NAFTA and the APEC area.
In my contribution I examine the trans-national economic strategies and class agency of the top segment of the Chilean corporate class. The empirical investigation focuses on business strategies (orientation towards the world, regional and/or domestic market, ownership structure, relationship with foreign capital and the degree of internationalization of the firm) which lead to a typology of fractions. Simultaneously, information on political network activities such as the membership and appearance in local, regional and transnational think tanks, policy and lobby groups is gathered by using data bases and the internet.
The objective of the investigation is to find out if there are different class projects underway. The study hereby intends to substantiate the assumption of transnational class formation and should enable us to differentiate it at the same time by establishing specific regional patterns of transnational class formation.