Transnational class formation and spatialities of power: the case of elite competition in Bolivia



In this article, I argue that the neoliberal and counter-neoliberal transitions in Bolivia secured the power of transnational capital within the country. In the 1980s and 1990s, Bolivia's mining elite used neoliberal strategies to undermine the interests of the country's agricultural elite and pursued a marriage of convenience with transnational capital that allowed both to enter state-monopolized spaces of investment in mutually beneficial ways. In Bolivia's counter-neoliberal turn, leftist social movements and political parties removed the elite from power but were dependent on transnational firms to help them use the country's natural resource wealth to fund programmes of socioeconomic change. Engaging theories of the transnational class formation, I assert that scholars need to acknowledge how different capitalist class fractions have distinct spatialities of power. In particular, it is necessary to distinguish between global elites that participate in local circuits of accumulation and local elites that participate in global circuits of accumulation.