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2018 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

8. In Search of Futures: Uncertain Neoliberal Times, Speculations, and the Economic Crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan

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Abstract

In 2014–2016, during my fieldwork in Erbil, the city was filled with public speculation about schemes for economic prosperity and the birth of an independent Kurdistan. Liberalization and the opening of petroleum fields since 2005 brought new public–private, global–local partnerships through production-sharing agreements (PSAs) and volatile enterprise to Iraqi Kurdistan. Being in a transition period from a marginalized region within the old Iraq to a new autonomous region within a federal Iraq, the Kurdish government has seen its goal as promoting entrepreneurship at every level, supposedly to speed up the development of an economically self-sustainable polity in the north of Iraq. Economic expansion through international companies and their investments has been considered an essential condition for the establishment of an independent state. The most debated issue at that time was the question of when does Kurdistan become an independent state given the level of progress achieved after multinational oil companies like ExxonMobil have accepted KRG legitimacy through independent contracts, infuriating Iraq by crediting regional relations over federal power. Longstanding gossips for Kurdish independence gained impetus when an independence referendum for Iraqi Kurdistan was planned to be held in 2014 amidst controversy and dispute between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq. In Iraqi Kurdistan, the local, national time for long-awaited independence seemed to be coincided with the global capitalist time which has transformed the marginalized region into a new frontier for oil exploration, multimillion dollar construction contracts, and cheap imports from Turkey, Iran, and China. In this chapter, I explore the concrete experiences and social rhythms of time among the Kurds coming into conflict with the global capitalist time, which acts as a universal measure of value in labour, debt, and exchange in Iraqi Kurdistan.
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Metadata
Title
In Search of Futures: Uncertain Neoliberal Times, Speculations, and the Economic Crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan
Author
Umut Kuruuzum
Copyright Year
2018
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-53715-3_8

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