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The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire [Kindle Edition]

Leo Panitch , Sam Gindin

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"Lucid and indispensable guides to the history and practice of American Empire."—Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist and author of The Shock Doctrine

"A must read for everyone who is concerned about where the future of capitalism might lie."—David Harvey, CUNY Graduate Center, author of A Brief History of Neoliberalism


A groundbreaking account of America's role in global capitalism.

The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren’t straightforwardly opposing forces. In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state, including its role as an “informal empire” promoting free trade and capital movements. Through a powerful historical survey, they show how the US has superintended the restructuring of other states in favor of competitive markets and coordinated the management of increasingly frequent financial crises. The Making of Global Capitalism, through its highly original analysis of the first great economic crisis of the twenty-first century, identifies the centrality of the social conflicts that occur within states rather than between them. These emerging fault lines hold out the possibility of new political movements transforming nation states and transcending global markets.


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  12 Rezensionen
72 von 78 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Powerful Political Economy 7. Oktober 2012
Von Hans G. Despain - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Panitch and Gindin argue that market economies have never existed independent of nation states. The state was necessary for the genesis of capitalism, and the state was, and still is, necessary for its historical development and continuous reproduction. Nonetheless, Panitch and Gindin argue there is significant autonomy, or historical "differentiation," between the economy and the nation state. There are economic structural tendencies manifest from the logic of capital and the functioning of the market-system. At the same time nation states can affect these structural tendencies in remarkable ways.

In this sense, there has never been "separation" between capitalist reproduction/development and the state, but there is "differentiation" which has radically significant effects. There is a symbiotic relationship between the state and capitalistic reproduction/development.

This is a book of economic history. But is also a book of economic theory. The economic history is rich and interesting, aimed at explaining the historical emergence of global financial capitalism. While the history Panitch and Gindin offer is rich and interesting, the theory is still richer and even more intriguing.

Their history is primarily aimed, (1) at explaining the emergence of the "informal American empire" (what makes this empire "informal" is the hegemony is accomplished primarily through economic strategy, policy, and diplomacy; and less through military might and political coercion) and (2) demonstrating the historical shifting relationship (from decade to decade since the World War I) between workers, business, finance, and the state.

Their theoretical concern is threefold; (1) offer a theoretical explanation of the crisis of 2007-8; (2) offer guidance toward the direction the future the "informal American empire" has for guiding the economies of world; and (3) to understand the "informal American empire" as a set of beliefs, doctrine, and ideology of how to organize modern societies (workers, business, finance and the state) and the global order (both political [e.g. UN, NATO, etc.] and economical [World Bank, IMF, WTO) for the (ideological) common good.

Although Panitch and Gindin accept that capitalistic development is uneven and unstable, it is crucial to their thesis that each crisis is unique depending upon the particular relationships and alliances forged between workers, business, finance, and the state. In this sense, the crisis of 2007-8 is necessarily unique and the solutions or economic fiscal policies necessary for recovery necessarily different from previous crises.

The highlights of their economic global history include that there have been four! major historical global crises, the long depression in the 1870, the Great depression of 1930, the Great recession of 1970s, and the Great financial crisis of 2007-09.

According to Pantich and Gindin, the 1970s is an economic watershed moment which separates "two Golden ages" of American capitalism. The first Golden Age is from 1947 - 1973; the Great recession and various political crises ensue (1973 - 1983), there is a reconfiguration of both the organization of society (workers, business, finance, and state; along with the role of the IMF, World Bank, and global trade); then the second Golden Age from 1983 - 2007.

It may be quite strange to many readers to call 1983 - 2007 a Golden Age. But in fact when looking at the economic data of the period it was quite literally a Golden Age, with millions of Americans and Global financiers and business leaders becoming impressively wealthy. Moreover, the levels of production (GDP) and productivity during the second Golden Age generally outperform the levels of production and productivity during the first Golden Age. Nonetheless the distribution of this wealth is radically narrow and concentrated within primarily finance, while political power concentrated toward "free-trade" orientated states, and away from workers and industrial production. Moreover, Pantich and Gindin maintain that workers are generally weaker during the second Golden Age, finance is strengthen and trumps over production processes, which is more or less conventional wisdom of this period of modern history. Less conventional is their thesis that the state, in particular the American domestic fiscal state and global "informal American empire," greatly strengthened post-1973-83 crisis.

It is not clear the direction the post-2007-09 crisis will take the global economy and American capitalism. What is clear is that the symbiotic relationship between workers, business, finance, and the state, and the global order (U.S. Treasury, IMF, World Bank, WTO, UN) is once again shifting. Pantich and Gindin's book offers to the reader a far clearer picture of what is at stake and who are the main institutional actors in the historical drama and capitalistic tragedy we call modern human history.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating & important book, yet suffers from nation-state centrism & ignores novel social dynamics of Global Capitalism era 8. November 2014
Von Jeb Sprague - Veröffentlicht auf
Panitch and Gindin's epic and fascinating book has the goal of tracing what the authors describe as the central role of the informal "American empire" and U.S. capital in the formation of the contemporary global capitalist system. I published a review in the journal Critical Sociology (Vol. 40, No. 5. P. 803-807) earlier this year that expands further on the importance of this work but I also have some criticisms, of which I paste some of below:

Whereas the authors emphasize the role of longstanding national and international dynamics, they overlook the numerous studies that have shown how novel transnational dynamics have come about even as historic residue remains (see for example Harris, 2013; Murray G, 2012; Robinson, 2003, 2004, 2014). Other than briefly denying the usefulness of the idea, the authors say little about the good deal of work on transnational class relations, for example in regards to the different fractions of the transnational capitalist class (as detailed in the works of Baker, 2011; Robinson, 2003, 2008; Harris, 2008; Sklair, 2001; Carrol, 2011; Murray J, 2013). Panitch and Gindin argue that theories of a TCC (transnational capitalist class) lead us to overlook uneven development between "nation-states" and the "economic competition between various centers of accumulation" (p. 11).... Yet while capital tends to concentrate in particular built up spaces, this corresponds, as a number of studies have shown, less and less to the strict restrictions of national space. Functionally integrated circuits of production and finance, and other networks, for example, have come to cut through various geographic scales (including national space) (Dicken, 20112; Robinson, 2010). Whereas local, national, regional, and international dynamics remain legion and substantial, many decisive economic, social, and political processes have become trasnantionally oriented....

The role of the state and its different policies is a clear focus of Panitch and Gindin's book. At times the authors do refer to the role of state elites, but often the authors can reify the state, describing the state as if it acts on its own and of its own accord. We need here to understand more clearly the class nature of the state, how specific social groups operate through state apparatuses as a site of struggle. Rather than individuals of the capitalist class serving directly in the state, it is governing political groups that normally do this. As relatively autonomous these political groups and state elites maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the electorate, even as they overwhelmingly operate in the "collective" interests of capital. This relative autonomy is conditioned by a number of dynamics, such as prevailing socioeconomic conditions, the balance and struggle of social forces, and the position or character of the state. In those instances where Panitch and Gindin do write about state elites and political groups, these groups are presented as essentially the traditional nation-state governing elite who often operate in the interests of domestic capitalists. While these groups may fight among themselves or wrestle with domestic classes to carry out policies that are internationally geared, these political elites, as Panitch and Gindin describe them, do not veer far from the mold of their nation-state predecessors. The authors never recognize the fundamental changes that are taking place, through which state apparatuses, most importantly the U.S., are being utilized to reproduce conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation.

The authors pass over quickly some theories of the state that they disagree with, giving a straw person description of a "supranational global state" (p. 11) and citing an article by Philip McMichael (2001) that similarly misexplained ideas on the emergent transnationalization of state apparatuses and rise of transnationally oriented technocrats and elites who operate through state apparatuses (as discussed by Jayasuriya, 1999, 2005; Liodakis, 2010; Robinson, 2004, 2012; Sprague, 2012). I would argue for example that transnationally oriented state elites and technocrats believe that to develop they must insert their national states and institutions into global circuits of accumulation. They need access to capital, and capital is in the hands of the TCC. However, state elites must still appeal to their home audiences. They still interact with a variety of social groups and social classes, some more transnationally oriented and others with a more national orientation. Because of this, even as ties between state elites and TCC fractions deepen, national rhetoric and national state policies occur that are in apparent contradiction with TCC interests. In this way, political leaders attempt to maintain national political legitimacy while deepening practices of a global nature. However, as these state elites become entangled with and dependent upon processes of global capital accumulation they increasingly transition from taking part in national or international processes to transnational processes.

In regards to law, Panitch and Gindin argue that "Americanized internationalized law" has supplanted local international investment laws in much of the world. Here the authors obscure how transnational legal frameworks have come about through coalitions and the support of various interests and social forces. The mere adoption of laws for instance (even when heavily influenced by U.S. state elites) does not explain how they are implemented or modified. Nor does it explain the different interests behind these changes.

The authors emphasize the role of the "informal U.S. empire," with globalization "imbricated in the American empire," a system "under continuing US leadership," with the country maintaining its "impe- rial responsibilities for the reproduction of global capitalism" (p. 330). Yet they never clearly explain what is global capitalism, globalization, or the difference between the international and the transna- tional. This is because their conceptions of class, capital, and the state don't help us to understand the fundamental changes taking place. While they provide an extensive and critical historical overview in pointing out the leading role of the U.S. state and its policies in reproducing today's "system of class power and inequality" (p. 330), they don't recognize how this has occurred through fundamentally new dynamics of the global epoch. While the authors help us to better understand the key role of the U.S. government and its policies during the late twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries, they do so through an outdated theoretical scope that never gets at the deep changes occurring. Rather than the U.S. nation- state empire and those operating through it creating conditions beneficial for closely aligned internation- ally active domestic capitalists, more and more we can see how transnationally oriented elites operating through the most powerful national state apparatus (headquartered in Washington) are promoting conditions for circuits of global capital accumulation and in the interests of TCC fractions.

While this book is well worth your time reading, for getting a deeper understanding of contemporary political economy I suggest Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Impressive work on the history of US centered global capitalism 26. Oktober 2013
Von Raamin - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Probably one of the most important books written on the political economy of American empire. Pretty impressive list of references and a wide coverage of various aspects of making of Global capitalism since the end of second world war.
5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Deeply Serious and Progressive Explanation of Capitalism in a World Economy 20. Januar 2014
Von Gerald Parker - Veröffentlicht auf
Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin have collaborated on a book, "The Making of Global Economy: the Political Economy of American Empire" (i.e. of U.S. neo-colonialism) that combines the virtues of deep analysis and clear language (and clear thinking, too). They do not deal in persiflage that sounds impressive but which ill serves a wide readership; Panitch and Gindin avoid unnecessary resort to jargon. It is refreshing to have a Canadian perspective upon the phenomena which they examine, all the more so since the authors are genuinely progressive, even socialist, in their analysis, without being hide-bound or doctrinaire.

That said, while the public for which they intend their book is wide, it still is for one that has the resolve to take on dense argument and uncompromising depth. The work is not a "quick read" by any stretch of the imagination. The rather small print and profusion of back-references, the latter too replete with much that is substantive and important to the case which the book makes to ignore, can tire the reader, making the volume arduous to handle navigating back and forth within it.

The hardback edition is well and fully bound, ruggedly and durably, with reasonably spaced margins to left and right of pages, but the binding is a tighter than ideal, requiring some effort on the reader's part to hold the pages flat enough for viewing the pages while going forward and back nimbly (and continually) between the main text and the notes. The reader will need two bookmarks while using the book; this reader added two slender coloured ribbons for the purpose to the binding spine of his own copy; that, of course, is not an option for this or most books' paperback editions.

For those who can persevere in reading it through, this mighty work bears great rewards for those who assay it. For others, too, those who use it as a resource and a reference, rather than read it in entirety, the book also is eminently worth having in one's personal collection and, fortunately for those users, the book is indexed. There is no separate bibliography in the book, but if one patiently mines the bibliographical citations in the notes, the book provides an excellent key to the best literature, rather than just to to a lot of the neo-conservative and emptily theoretical tripe that so many other books on economics mention too exclusively.
5.0 von 5 Sternen This book needs to be on every bookshelf. 1. September 2015
Von Keith Swanson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
This book needs to be on every bookshelf. It's a grind but when you finish you will know how America works
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