Against the Grain

Electing Capitalist Outsiders

While it would seem like the crisis of the political establishment would provide fertile ground for the left, instead we have seen the ascendancy of right-wing figures around the world, who denounce the establishment while shoring up the capitalist order. Often these figures are businessmen like Donald Trump and Silvio Berlusconi, who position themselves outside of the discredited status quo. Sociologist Leslie Gates asks why such capitalist outsiders win, looking at the very different trajectories of Venezuela and Mexico. She contrasts the victories of Hugo Chavez and Vicente Fox — the latter whose election heralded the rise of more leaders in his mold.


Leslie C. Gates, Capitalist Outsiders: Oil’s Legacies in Mexico and Venezuela University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023


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