Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact Details

Dr. Jörg Wiegratz's Publications

Books

  • Wiegratz J, Neoliberal Moral Economy: Capitalism, Socio-Cultural Change and Fraud in Uganda (London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016) (In preparation)

    This book offers a fresh take on a major question of global debate: what explains the rise in economic fraud in so many societies around the globe? This book suggests that the current age of fraud is an outcome of not only political-economic but also moral transformations that have taken place in societies reshaped by neoliberalism.

  • Whyte D, Wiegratz J, Neoliberalism and the Moral Economy of Fraud (Routledge, 2016) (In preparation)

    This book shows how those policies, reforms, ideas, social relations and practices that we describe as 'neo-liberal' have encouraged and rendered (more) dominant particular values and morals that have shaped a type of socio-cultural change ...

  • Wiegratz J, Uganda's Human Resource Challenge: Training, Business Culture and Economic Development (Kampala: Fountain Publisher, 2009), i-410

    Despite significant economic recovery and improved macro-economic indicators since 1986, Uganda’s economy continues to face considerable challenges. This book analyses the relationship between economic and human resource development in the country. It identifies deficits in capabilities, skills, know-how, experience, linkage building, and technology use as well as undesirable business practices. These shortcomings limit economic diversification, productivity enhancement, job and income creation, as well as poverty reduction. The book calls for more efforts towards human resource development. The current narrow mainstream economic policy focus on macro-economic stability, a favourable investment climate, and improved physical infrastructure alone will not foster economic development and broad-based well-being. The Ugandan people and the private sector need more state support - in addition to the predominant education and health focus of the government and donors - if they are to develop the required human resources. More and better training, enhanced learning at the place of work and an improved business culture are vital. It is essential to focus on technical, organisational, managerial, entrepreneurial, learning, innovative, social, and institutional capabilities. Efforts towards dealing with these challenges will require attention to the political-economic climate of the country. To make the argument, the author covers a wide range of topics such as training and learning, technology, productivity, latecomer development, competitiveness, labour market, MSMEs, entrepreneurship, value chains, cooperation and trust, and human resource management. The book contains more than 130 figures, tables and information boxes.

Journal articles

  • Wiegratz J, Cesnulyte E, ‘Money talks: moral economies of earning a living in neoliberal East Africa’, New Political Economy, 21.1 (2016), 1-25
    DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2015.1041479

    Neoliberal restructuring has targeted not just the economy, but also polity, society and culture, in the name of creating capitalist market societies. The societal repercussions of neoliberal policy and reform in terms of moral economy remain understudied. This article seeks to address this gap by analysing moral economy characteristics and dynamics in neoliberalised communities, as perceived by traders in Uganda and sex workers in Kenya. The interview data reveal perceived drivers that contributed to a significant moral dominance of money, self-interest, short-termism, opportunism and pragmatism. Equally notable are a perceived (i) close interaction between political–economic and moral–economic dynamics, and (ii) significant impact of the political–economic structure on moral agency. Respondents primarily referred to material factors usually closely linked to neoliberal reform, as key drivers of local moral economies. We thus speak of a neoliberalisation of moral economies, itself part of the wider process of embedding and locking-in market society structures in the two countries. An improved political economy of moral economy can help keep track of this phenomenon.

  • Wiegratz J, ‘The price of civilization: reawakening virtue and prosperity after the economic fall’, REVIEW OF AFRICAN POLITICAL ECONOMY, 43.147 (2016), 160-163
    DOI: 10.1080/03056244.2015.1113657

  • Wiegratz J, Cesnulyte E, ‘Money Talks: Moral Economies of Earning a Living in Neoliberal East Africa’, New Political Economy, 21.1 (2016), 1-25
    DOI: 10.1080/13563467.2015.1041479

    © 2015 Taylor & Francis.Neoliberal restructuring has targeted not just the economy, but also polity, society and culture, in the name of creating capitalist market societies. The societal repercussions of neoliberal policy and reform in terms of moral economy remain understudied. This article seeks to address this gap by analysing moral economy characteristics and dynamics in neoliberalised communities, as perceived by traders in Uganda and sex workers in Kenya. The interview data reveal perceived drivers that contributed to a significant moral dominance of money, self-interest, short-termism, opportunism and pragmatism. Equally notable are a perceived (i) close interaction between political–economic and moral–economic dynamics, and (ii) significant impact of the political–economic structure on moral agency. Respondents primarily referred to material factors usually closely linked to neoliberal reform, as key drivers of local moral economies. We thus speak of a neoliberalisation of moral economies, itself part of the wider process of embedding and locking-in market society structures in the two countries. An improved political economy of moral economy can help keep track of this phenomenon.

  • Wiegratz J, ‘Fake capitalism? The dynamics of neoliberal moral restructuring and pseudo-development: the case of Uganda’, Review of African Political Economy, ed. by Harrison G and others, 37.124 (2010), 123-137
    DOI: 10.1080/03056240208704652

    Uganda is regarded as the African country that has adopted the neoliberal reform package most extensively. Notably, neoliberal reforms have targeted the reshaping not only of the economy but also of the society and culture. The reforms aim to create a ‘market society’, which includes a corresponding set of moral norms and behaviour. Reforms, therefore, have to undermine, overwrite and displace pre-existing non-neoliberal norms, values, orientations and practices among the population; they also have to foster norms, values, orientations and practices that are in line with neoliberal ideology. This article looks at the process of neoliberal moral restructuring in Uganda since 1986. Extensive interviews in Kampala and eastern Uganda reveal that the cultural dimension of rapid neoliberal reform has negatively affected the relationships and trade practices between smallholder farmers and traders in rural markets. Since the onset of liberal economic reforms, face-to-face rural trade practices have been characterised by higher levels of ‘malpractice’ and a change in their form. Neoliberal Uganda is furthermore characterised by a spread of destructive norms and practices in other economic sectors and sections of society that have been ‘modernised’ according to neoliberal prescriptions. Many respondents invoked ideas such as ‘moral degeneration’, ‘moral decay’, a ‘rotten society’ and ‘kiwaani’ (the title of a popular song, used interchangeably with deceit, tricking, or fake to describe behaviours and objects) and were worried about the future of moral norms and business practices in the country. The changes and trends described in this paper seem difficult but not impossible to reverse.

  • Wiegratz J, ‘Beyond harsh trade!? The relevance of ‘soft’ competitiveness factors for Ugandan enterprises to endure in Global Value Chains’, African Journal of Business and Law, ed. by Ntayi JM and Nabeta I, 2.1 (2008), 1-23

    This article is based on an empirical study which examined the issues of organization and coordination of global production and trade for the case of trade between Uganda and Europe.Respective experiences of 34 exporters in Uganda and 19 importers in Europe were documented through in-depth interviews and consequently analyzed. The article discusses matters of cooperation between the exporters and importers and points to its significance for upgrading and enhancing competitiveness of the exporters studied. It further identifies firm level ‘soft competitiveness factors’ (SCFs) of Ugandan exporters and discusses their relevance for the firms’ performance in Global Value Chains. The findings reveal that deficiencies in SCFs can have damaging effects, and vice-versa. Possession of the SCFs can yield significant competitive advantage for exporters and help to strengthen the relationship with the importers. Findings of ill-treatment of exporters by their importers highlight a particular kind of challenge that is often overseen in the debate about exports of African firms: the challenge regarding business behaviours, practices, and ethics including the ability to engage in relations with foreign buyers and leverage resources, knowledge and generally cooperation from them, first, and the general issue of problematic business practices in the global economy, second. The article policy recommends Policy, practice and research should focus on economic, political, social, cultural and institutional factors that impact on local levels of SCFs; to improve and help exporting enterprises in Africa to survive and succeed in GVCs, within the context of the state of the moral economy in global capitalism.

Internet publications

  • Wiegratz J, No country for dirty money: behind Britain's populist promise on corruption, (The Conversation, 2015)

    The contemporary global economy is characterised by high levels of corruption and crime. Economic chicanery and fraud are rife in many business sectors – and the banks that provide the funding which keeps the whole machine running have been so frequently fined and admonished that it has almost become routine. It is no wonder that political leaders understand the electoral value of moves to clean up the grubby workings of capitalism – but do they understand the beast they will unleash?

  • Wiegratz J, The Moral Compass of Bankers: The Power Dynamics of Fraud, (Counterpunch, 2015)

    We’re getting rather used to revelations about sharp practice in the banking sector. The row about HSBC’s tax services to rich clients has raised, yet again, crucial questions about the business culture which allows such scandals to emerge. One common idea is that those involved have lost their “moral compass” and succumbed to the imperative of pure greedas they employ subterfuge to do things which end up doing harm to the general public.

  • Wiegratz J, Bankers have a moral compass, it just may not look like yours, (The Conversation, 2015)

    We’re getting rather used to revelations about sharp practice in the banking sector. The row about HSBC’s tax services to rich clients has raised, yet again, crucial questions about the business culture which allows such scandals to emerge. One common idea is that those involved have lost their “moral compass” and succumbed to the imperative of pure greed as they employ subterfuge to do things which end up doing harm to the general public.

  • Wiegratz J, Rejecting the West on policy: Uganda, neoliberalism and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, (African Arguments, 2014)

    Much has already been written about the standoff between Uganda and the West on the recently passed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In this article I try to complement existing analysis by focusing on three distinct features of the standoff.

  • Wiegratz J, The Normalisation of Advanced Neoliberal Market Society, (Counterpunch, 2014)

    Today’s world is a fast-changing and conflict-laden territory. States and businesses in many places have fine-tuned their priorities to the post-crash requirements of power, profit, survival and renewal. Various post-crash establishment ideologies are on offer: from ’change we need’ to ’we are all in this together’, ’for hardworking people’, ’one nation’ and ’shared prosperity’.

  • Wiegratz J, The arrival of The New Normal, (Le Monde diplomatique, 2014)

    Today’s world is a fast-changing and conflict-laden territory. States and businesses in many places have fine-tuned their priorities to the post-crash requirements of power, profit, survival and renewal. Various post-crash establishment ideologies are on offer: from ’change we need’ to ’we are all in this together’, ’for hardworking people’, ’one nation’ and ’shared prosperity’.

  • Wiegratz J, The normalisation of western fraud, (Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, 2013)

    Current high levels of fraud and trickery are the result of the extensive changes in political and moral economies that occurred across economic sectors, the state and communities in the countries that experienced neoliberal transformation in the last few decades. Dealing with fraud and trickery is therefore more complicated than many people seem to think.

  • Wiegratz J, The neoliberal harvest: Routine economic fraud in the Global North, (DevLog@Bath, 2013)

    For scholars interested in economic fraud in the Global North, the past few years have provided a vast number of cases and huge amounts of information. And yet, few academics are prepared to collect and analyse the data on this historical shift to ‘fake capitalism’ in the North.

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