According to a dissertation at the University of Helsinki, multinational elites continue to be committed to an interconnected global economy characterised by the free movement of the factors of production. The collapse of this liberal international order is still unlikely, despite recent geopolitical tensions and the rise of populist leaders, claims the study.

MSocSc Markus Ojala's dissertation research focuses on the World Economic Forum and the Financial Times  as central forums of elite communication. Ojala examined 11 years of issues of the Financial Times.  His study investigates how the communication promotes interconnectedness and dialogue among political, economic and administrative elites. According to Ojala, the elites use these communication forums to shape their shared understanding of the general direction of financial policy and negotiate differences regarding, for example, intervention in market disruptions.

The study establishes that the globalisation of the economy and the promotion of an economic system driven by financial markets are linked to the interaction and communication between economic and political elites. After WWII, particularly Western multinational corporations, banks and investors have driven the international forms of interaction between economic and political elites. The goal has been to create a favourable political climate for the deregulation of trade, markets and the movement of capital.

 “As globalisation has progressed, the intention has been to bring non-Western elites into the international elite networks,” says Ojala.

 

Economic and political forums promote free trade

According to the dissertation, international economic and political forums and financial media promote the deregulation of trade, markets and the movement of capital. They also strongly support endeavours to guide the global economy and concerted reactions to market disruptions.

 “This way they serve as pillars of the liberal international order.”

This liberal international order has been based on the dominant position of the United States and the shared understanding that the deregulation of markets and the movement of capital benefits all parties.

 “These premises are increasingly being called into question in the 2010s," states Ojala.

Several international forums and media focusing on topical financial and political issues have been established during recent decades. They bring decision-makers from politics, business and administration into a shared discussion and connect globally influential people. This dissertation identifies such institutions as spaces of transnational elite communication and evaluates their significance in controlling the global economy.

 

MSocSc Markus Ojala will defend his doctoral dissertation entitled “The Making of a Global Elite - Global Economy and the Davos Man in the Financial Times 2001–2011” on 28 April 2017 at 12.15 at the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Social Sciences. The public defence will be held in Auditorium XII in the University’s Main Building, Unioninkatu 34.

The opponent will be Professor Aeron Davis, Goldsmiths, University of London, and the custos will be Professor Anu Kantola.

The dissertation will be published in the series Publications of the Faculty of Social Sciences. The dissertation will be available for purchase from Unigrafia Bookstore http://shop.unigrafia.fi/. The dissertation is also available in electronic form through the e-thesis service.

 

Further information:
Markus Ojala
Tel. +358 50 302 8782
markus.ojala@helsinki.fi