Beyond the Theory of Imperialism: Global Capitalism and the Transnational State

21 03 2012

By William I. Robinson

Abstract: Theories of a “new imperialism” assume that world capitalism in the 21st century is still made up of “domestic capitals” and that distinct national economies and world political dynamics are driven by US efforts to off set the decline in hegemony amidst heightened inter-imperialist rivalry. These theories ignore empirical evidence on the transnationalization of capital and the increasingly salient role of transnational state apparatuses in imposing capitalist domination beyond the logic of the inter-state system. I argue here that US interventionism is not a departure from capitalist globalization but a response to its crisis. The class relations of global capitalism are now so deeply internalized within every nation-state that the classical image of imperialism as a relation of external domination is outdated. The end of the extensive enlargement of capitalism is the end of the imperialist era of world capitalism. The implacable logic of global accumulation is now largely internal to the complex of fractious political institutions through which ruling groups attempt to manage those relations. We need a theory of capitalist expansion – of the political processes and the institutions through which such expansion takes place, the class relations and spatial dynamics it involves. READ THE ARTICLE >>



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