Towards A Global Ruling Class? Globalization and the Transnational Capitalist Class

28 03 2012

by William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris

A transnational capitalist class (TCC) has emerged as that segment of the world bourgeoisie that represents transnational capital, the owners of the leading worldwide means of production as embodied in the transnational corporations and private financial institutions. The spread of TNCs, the sharp increase in foreign direct investment, the proliferation of mergers and acquisitions across national borders, the rise of a global financial system, and the increased interlocking of positions within the global corporate structure, are some empirical indicators of the transnational integration of capitalists. The TCC manages global rather than national circuits of accumulation. This gives it an objective class existence and identity spatially and politically in the global system above any local territories and polities. The TCC became politicized from the 1970s into the 1990s and has pursued a class project of capitalist globalization institutionalized in an emergent trans- national state apparatus and in a “Third Way” political program. The emergent global capitalist historic bloc is divided over strategic issues of class rule and how to achieve regulatory order in the global economy. Contradictions within the ruling bloc open up new opportunities for emancipatory projects from global labor. READ THE ARTICLE >>





Empire, Global Capitalism, and Theory: Reconsidering Hardt and Negri

28 03 2012

by Jeb Sprague

It has been over a decade since the publication of Michael Hardt and Antoni Negri’s widely read Empire, a book that claimed humanity had entered a qualitatively new era in the organization of power. How do critical sociological studies that also theorize global capitalism depart from or share affinities with Hardt and Negri’s Foucauldian-inspired notion of empire? The two most important shared insights is the notion of a new epoch in the history of world capitalism and the conceptualization of a global system that moves beyond the idea of U.S. imperialism solely as behind its fundamental structure. However, overpowering Hardt and Negri’s framework are some fundamental problems: the vague and nondialectical idea of multitude, the lack of the role of the state, their confusing and contradictory idea of constitutionalism, and a misapprehension of immaterial labor. READ THE ARTICLE >>





Statecraft in the Global Financial Crisis: An Interview with Kanishka Jayasuriya

28 03 2012

by Jeb Sprague

Kanishka Jayasuriya, Professor of Political Science at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia and author of two monographs – Reconstituting the Global Liberal Order: Legitimacy and Regulation (2005) and Statecraft, Welfare and the Politics of Inclusion (2006) – argues that changing forms of governance and new regulative laws are enabling the transnationalization of institutions within national states. He also interprets these changes as giving rise to a new type of institutional struggle unique to globalisation. For social scientists in general and political economists in particular, Jayasuriya’s work provides a useful lens through which to understand intra-state transformation in the global epoch. By rejecting Realist/Weberian conceptions of the state and drawing inspiration instead from materialist state theory, he understands state transformation as a reflection of ongoing processes linked to socio-economic forces that are novel to the historical present. And in the wake of the global financial crisis, he argues, we should not see the state as either disappearing or returning, for it is continuing to transform in ways peculiar to the age of globalism. The real question is for whom states will act in the future. In order to answer this, Jayasuriya suggests that we must look to transformations occurring within the national state, for it is these that are changing statecraft as we know it. READ THE ARTICLE >>





Transnational Capitalist Class in the Global Financial Crisis: A Discussion with Leslie Sklair

28 03 2012

by Jeb Sprague

In an interview, Leslie Sklair, author of The Transnational Capitalist Class (2001) and Professor Emeritus in Sociology at the London School of Economics, discusses his thoughts on today’s global financial crisis, its connections to a globally dominant social class—the transnational capitalist class—as well as his views on the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, and clarifications on his theoretical approach. READ THE ARTICLE >>





Transnational State

28 03 2012

by Jeb Sprague

The theory of an emergent transnational state (TNS), as coined by sociologist William I. Robinson (2001), claims that through globalization a nascent political, juridical and regulatory network is coming into existence worldwide. This notion rests upon the idea that a dominant social force, a transnational capitalist class (TCC), propels globalization through transnational corporations (TNCs) (Robinson & Harris 2000). The TCC, to promote and ensure its power, requires a concomitant political project. Such a political project would involve, for example: (i) promoting investor confidence in the global economy, (ii) setting up mechanisms and institutions for responding to economic, political, and military crises that threaten the stability necessary for global markets, and (iii) establishing a degree of macroeconomic policy uniformity across borders. READ THE ARTICLE >>





Book Review – Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy, 5th Edition, by Peter Dicken

28 03 2012

Review by Jeb Sprague

Widely cited and read by scholars and students of globalization, Peter Dicken’s Global Shift is best known for its concise examination of structures of the global economy. Now in its 5th edition with over 250 newly designed figures and graphs, few texts are as effective in showing the incontrovertible changes undergone in production, distribution and consumption. Written prior to the crisis of recent years, it remains a useful guide for understanding the truly global nature of today’s world economy. However, where Dicken does a remarkable job in dissecting the structure of the global economy, he has little or nothing to say about how the state and economic structure are grounded in broader class and social relations. READ THE ARTICLE >>





Book Review – Migrants for Export: How the Philippine State Brokers Labor to the World, by Robyn Magalit Rodriguez

28 03 2012

Review by Jeb Sprague

From government-sponsored nursing classes in Manila to crushed labor strikes at garment factories in southeast Asia, a variety of mechanisms has been developed to manage, promote and coerce Filipino workers as a readily available cheap source of labor around the world. A book of interest for scholars or students of global migration or of the contemporary Filipino/Filipina experience, Migrants for Export should also be of interest to those studying the state in globalization and in relation to the changing practices and ideologies of state elites. READ THE ARTICLE >>