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Jerry Harris

CONFLICT FOR POWER IN TRANSNATIONAL CLASS THEORY

Transnational capitalist class (TCC) theory has largely ignored the role of the military-industrial complex and has instead concentrated on economic, political and cultural forces. Since coercive power is fundamental for class rule this question cries out for attention. In particular, the nature of the U.S. military-industrial complex must be examined because of its special role in maintaining security for global capitalism. READ THE ARTICLE >>


DREAMS OF GLOBAL HEGEMONY AND THE TECHNOLOGY OF WAR

After W.W. II the U.S. had unquestioned hegemony throughout the capitalist world.  But in the early 1970s U.S. power began a long decline, particularly as the economies in Europe and Japan recovered.  Nevertheless, the confrontation with the Soviet Union allowed the U.S. to maintain leadership by providing military security for the West. But the collapse of the USSR created a crisis. U.S. military might was no longer needed and its economic hegemony had long passed its peak. READ THE ARTICLE >>


EMERGING THIRD WORLD POWERS: CHINA, INDIA AND BRAZIL

China, Brazil and India have emerged as important global powers creating political waves across Europe and the US. Not only are they becoming more assertive in transnational institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO), their economic weight is felt throughout the world. As the Financial Times has pointed out, the rise of China and India “heralds a transformation of the global economic and political order as significant as that brought about by the industrial revolution or by the subsequent rise of the US.” READ THE ARTICLE >>


GOING GREEN TO STAY IN THE BLACK: TRANSNATIONAL CAPITALISM AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

Abstract: Sustainable energy use is rapidly developing, often with state support and patriotic political rhetoric. But the solar and wind energy industries are highly transnationalized and already inserted into global patterns of accumulation. While possibly solving some of the most pressing problems between capitalism and environmental sustainability, green capitalism still fails to address the contradiction between labor and capital. Therefore, any progressive strategy for social transformation must link the fair treatment of nature and labor together. READ THE ARTICLE >>


INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND THE GLOBAL RULING CLASS

Globalization is a new epoch in the history of world capitalism. The integration of finance, production and markets, and the speed at which they operate, has never been as deep and transformative as today. From its birth capitalism developed as a world system and throughout its history has introduced innovative technologies. It’s need for growth and profits has not changed. But the manner and structure in which this unfolds has. As colonialism reflected mercantile capitalism and imperialism was an extension of industrial capitalism, globalization has emerged from the foundations of information capitalism. Information technology (IT) is different from other historically new innovations like the blast furnace or automobile because of its ability to revolutionized other technologies. This is IT’s qualitative difference, the ability to transform the means of production and profoundly reshape capital/labor relations. Leading this process is the transnational capitalist class as they build a new social structure of  global accumulation. READ THE ARTICLE >>


ON THE DEMOCRATIC RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STATE, MARKETS AND CIVIL SOCIETY: BOLIVIA AND VENEZUELA

ABSTRACT: The beginning of the twenty-first century has witness the rise of exciting new revolutionary movements against capitalist globalization. These new movements, particularly in Latin America, are characterized by qualitatively different strategies from the socialist movements of the last century. Rather than vanguard parties leading a Leninist insurrection or Maoist people’s war, these movements are building broad social blocs in a Gramscian war of position and maneuver. In an effort to develop a further theoretical context I suggest we view these movements from the standpoint of the democratic dialectic that links the role of the state, markets and civil society together. This recognizes the need to build institutional power in each sector as well as the play of contradictions within and between each aspect of society. The attempt here is to develop theory that can explain and contain the actual social practice of the new revolutionary struggles. READ THE ARTICLE >>


STATIST GLOBALIZATION IN CHINA, RUSSIA AND THE GULF STATES

Abstract: Over the last few years a number of  developing countries have emerged as global economic powers. This resulted from a rise in oil and commodity prices, foreign direct investments and a global shift in production. Much of this growth has been guided by governments and under the control of state corporations leading to the phenomenon of statist globalization. The rebalancing of power is an unpleasant surprise for many with Western politicians raising protectionist slogans against the new centers of competition. Most observers see the emergence of developing countries in the context of nation centric power struggles. But statist globalizers are part of the transnational capitalist class integrated at levels of production and finance. The result is a deepening of globalization, not a return to nation centric competition. READ THE ARTICLE > >


US IMPERIALISM AND GLOBALIZATION AFTER IRAQ

What is the future direction of US imperialism? The strategic choices being debated by ruling elites are framed by the disaster in Iraq. While the exact outcome remains unclear, one thing is obvious, the US has been defeated in its Middle East invasion.

To properly judge the US war we must remember its original goals – a compliant pro-US government, a privatized economy run mainly by  US capital, 14 permanent US military bases, and a Middle East ready for regime change in Iran, Syria and wherever else the US deemed necessary. None of this has been achieved.

Shelby Steele from Stanford’s Hoover Institution articulates the original vision in unambiguous terms; “victory in foreign war has always meant hegemony: You win, you take over…A complete American victory in Iraq would put that nation…entirely under American power and sovereignty. We would in fact ‘own’ the society as a colony.” READ THE ARTICLE >>


THE WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS AND TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS

Abstract: Although the world economic crisis has slowed the flow of global investments and production, transnational capitalism has become more centralized through greater monopolization. We can trace this development in the auto industry with  an examination of state intervention, transnational alliances and global competition. Far from developing a nation-centric recovery plan the Obama bail-out  deepens the auto industry’s global character. This example shows how the transnational capitalist class works through the State to strengthen its dominant  position over national capital. READ THE ARTICLE >>


George Liodakis

THE NEW STAGE OF CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT AND THE PROSPECTS OF GLOBALIZATION

A historical assessment of the Leninist conception of imperialism is the necessary foundation for a theoretical periodization of capitalism, in which the current developments and rising globalization have led to a dialectical supersession of imperialism. The emerging new stage of capitalism is characterized as transnational or totalitarian capitalism. The structural characteristics and basic trends of this new stage of capitalism stand in interesting contrast to the theoretical conception of Empire, proposed by Hardt and Negri. The former approach offers a more adequate framework for understanding the current restructuring of capitalism and a safer political guide for the emancipating working-class struggle towards a socialist supersession of capitalism. READ THE ARTICLE >>


Joshua Murray

EVIDENCE OF A TRANSNATIONAL CAPITALIST CLASS-FOR-ITSELF: THE DETERMINANTS OF PAC ACTIVITY AMONG FOREIGN FIRMS IN THE GLOBAL FORTUNE 500, 2000–2006

Abstract: Transnational capitalist class (TCC) theory is rooted in the claim that the globalization of the economy has led to a globalization of economic interests and of class formation. However, systematic evidence linking the indicators of transnational class formation with political behaviour is largely missing. In this article, I combine data on board of director interlocks among the 500 largest business firms in the world between 2000 and 2006 with data on the political donations to US elections of foreign corporations via the corporate political action committees (PACs) of their subsidiaries, divisions or affiliates. Controlling for the various interests of individual firms, I find that foreign firms that are highly central in the transnational intercorporate network contribute more money to US elections than do the less central foreign firms. Given prior research on board of director interlocks, this finding suggests that a segment of the transnational business community has emerged as a class-for-itself. READ THE PAPER >>


William I. Robinson

BEYOND THE THEORY OF IMPERIALISM: GLOBAL CAPITALISM AND THE TRANSNATIONAL STATE

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 eff orts 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 >>


THE CRISIS OF GLOBAL CAPITALISM: CYCLICAL, STRUCTURAL, OR SYSTEMIC?

The crisis that exploded in 2008 with the collapse of the global financial system has been in the making since at least the late 1990s. How we understand it is not just an academic but a burning political question. I want to suggest in this essay that the global capitalism perspective I have put forth in recent years offers a powerful explanatory framework for making sense of this crisis. Following Marx, we should focus on the internal dynamics of capitalism to understand the Crisis; and following the global capitalism perspective, we should look for how capitalism has qualitatively evolved in recent decades. This system-wide crisis will not be a repeat of earlier such episodes in the 1930s or the 1970s precisely because world capitalism is fundamentally different in the early twenty-first century. READ THE ARTICLE >>


THE FETISHISM OF EMPIRE: A CRITICAL REVIEW OF PANITCH AND GINDIN’S THE MAKING OF GLOBAL CAPITALISM

Perhaps the fundamental contradiction of the global capitalist system is the disjuncture between a globalizing economy and a nation-state-based system of political authority. This disjuncture raises great challenges for how we conceptualize and analyze the relationship between the US state1 and global capitalism. Indeed, this has been the subject of great debates over the past two decades and is the core object of inquiry of Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin’s new study, The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire. READ THE ARTICLE >>


THE GLOBAL CAPITAL LEVIATHAN

The money mandarins of global capitalism and their political agents are utilizing the global crisis to impose brutal austerity and attempting to dismantle what is left of welfare systems and social states in Europe, North America and elsewhere. The budgetary and fiscal crises that supposedly justify spending cuts and austerity are contrived. They are a consequence of the unwillingness or inability of states to challenge capital and their disposition to transfer the burden of the crisis to working and popular classes. Global mobility has given capital enhanced class power over nationally based working classes and extraordinary structural influence over state managers who seek economic reactivation and macroeconomic stability. READ THE ARTICLE >>


GLOBAL CAPITAL AND IMMIGRANT RIGHTS

Abstract: The recent mass demonstrations by millions of Latino immigrant workers in the US, against planned legislation that could lead to the criminalisation and deportation of, literally, millions of workers shook the Bush administration and took commentators by surprise. The upsurge has been dubbed the new civil rights movement. It marks a new stage in globalisation and the phenomenon of mass, transnational migration that such globalisation has engendered. Unprecedented in size and scope, the movement challenges the structural changes bound up with capitalist globalisation and points to the necessity of transnational popular and democratic struggles against it. READ THE ARTICLE >>


RESPONSE TO CAMMACK’S “FORGET THE TRANSNATIONAL STATE”

ABSTRACT: The theory of global capitalism that I have advanced over the past decade suggests that it is necessary to rethink the spatiality of capital in the new epoch, including the changing relations between transnationalizing capital, national territories, class relations and political authority. The continued existence of the nation-state and the inter-state system appear to be a central condition for the class power of transnational capital and for the reproduction of global capitalism. National state apparatuses, however, are themselves experiencing transformation and integration into emergent supranational institutional networks. The notion of a transnational state is an analytical abstraction that allows us to make sense of evident transnational social and institutional practices that are central to shaping global capitalism and to the exercise of class power by the TCC. READ THE ARTICLE >>

Click here to read this and Paul Cammack’s article in Geopolitics, History, and International Relations.


William I. Robinson and Fabrice Andréani

L’AMÉRIQUE LATINE FACE AU NOUVEAU CAPITALISME MONDIALISÉ

Si la « vague rose » latino-américaine a traduit une crise à grande échelle des politiques néolibérales imposées depuis les années 1970, et bien que les pays gouvernés à gauche aient mieux résisté que d’autres aux effets sociaux la crise mondiale, il n’en reste pas moins, comme le montre William I. Robinson, que le capitalisme poursuit dans l’ensemble de la région son processus de transnationalisation, bouleversant le paysage économique et social de fond en comble. LISEZ L’ARTICLE >>


William I. Robinson and Jerry Harris

TOWARDS A GLOBAL RULING CLASS? GLOBALIZATION AND THE TRANSNATIONAL CAPITALIST CLASS

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


William I. Robinson and Mario Barrera

GLOBAL CAPITALISM AND TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY FASCISM: A US CASE STUDY

Abstract: This seminal article analyses the current structural crisis and instability in an ever more polarised world in relation to earlier systemic crises that were resolved through fascism or through Fordist-Keynesian ‘class compromise’ (the 1930s) and the emergence of capitalist globalisation (the 1970s). The authors identify three basic responses to the crisis: popular insurgency from below; reformist stabilisation from above; and, a twenty-first century neo-fascism. Looking specifically at the US, they analyse political and economic developments that demonstrate fascistic characteristics. While no simple replication of the past, the emergence of a Christian Right since the mid-1980s, the growth of certain currents within the Tea Party movement, the sharp increase in violent hate groups, the spread of a vicious anti-immigrant movement, the psychopathology of white decline, sharp militarisation and pervasive policing give some indications of the rise of fascist tendencies. But what is crucial today is the sophistication of such a project, made possible by the ideological domination of media together with new surveillance and social control technologies that allow it to rely more on selective than generalised repression. In calling for a co-ordinated fightback, both in the US and beyond, the authors see the only viable solution to the crisis of global capitalism as a massive redistribution of wealth and power downward towards the poor majority of humanity, along the lines of a twenty-first century democratic socialism. READ THE ARTICLE >>


Ingo Schmidt

ROSA LUXEMBURG’S ‘ACCUMULATION OF CAPITAL’: NEW PERSPECTIVES ON CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT AND US HEGEMONY

Abstract: The article begins with a critique of a variety of Marxist theories on capitalist development and US hegemony. These theories either see capitalism in stagnation and US hegemony in decline since the 1970s or understand neoliberalism as the American way to permanent hegemony. The former fail to explain accumulation during the era of neoliberalism, the latter can’t explain the current crisis of neoliberal capitalism. As an alternative a Luxemburgian approach is suggested, which proceeds in two steps. One, core concepts of Rosa Luxemburgs’ ‘Accumulation of Capital’ will be introduced and the Marxist debate about her work reviewed. This is necessary because of the absence of any tradition of Luxemburgian political economy. Second, from a Luxemburgian perspective post‐war capitalism developed in two phases, each of which was possible because class‐struggles and international conflicts had opened non‐capitalist environments for capitalist penetration. The first phase gave rise to consumer capitalism and neo‐colonialism; the second was characterized by accumulation by dispossession that rolled back welfare states in the North and developmental states in the South, it also integrated formerly statesocialist countries, notably China, into the capitalist world‐system. READ THE ARTICLE >>


EUROPEAN CAPITALISM: VARIETIES OF CRISIS

Abstract: The article rejects the notion that countries of the EU periphery, some of which were recently labelled as PIIGS, are prone to fiscal and sovereign debt crises because of spend-thrifty governments and their negative impact on private investments. As an alternative to such views, the article argues that the EU periphery is prone to crisis because its economies can’t successfully compete with exports from core countries, especially Germany. It will also be argued that world market integration in a time of economic stagnation, combined with an explosion of debt, speculation and recurrent financial crisis, is no way to overcome a country’s peripheral position. These arguments will be developed on the basis of some mini case studies on core and peripheral EU member states. READ THE ARTICLE >>


Chen Shuoying

About the Author: Chen Shuoying is Associate Professor from Marxism Institute, Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) and Academic Editor of International Critical Thought, an English quarterly hosted by CASS and published by Routledge. She got her Ph.d degree in Economics from School of Economics, Renmin University of China in 2009. She is the author of the book New Mode of Capitalist Production Organization: Research on Modularity Production Network [In Chinese], “Book Review on Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance” published on World Review of Political Economy and more than 30 articles published on Chinese journals. Her research areas include: Political Economics and Socialism Movement. Her email address is csyjackie@163.com.

Abstract of New Book: New Mode of Capitalist Production Organization–Research on Modularity Production Network

After two hundred years’ development, the capitalist production mode evolves into a new shape–network economy. The traditional mode of production features the vertical control of final product producers, while the new global production network allocates resource effectively around product standards on a global scale, forming modular production and composition under the control of standards. READ THE ENTIRE ABSTRACT >>


Book Review on Michael Hudson’s “Super Imperialism

First published in 1972 – one year after gold was demonetized – and updated thirty years later, in 2002, Michael Hudson’s Super Imperialism is the first book to recognize the policy of monetary imperialism consciously pursued by the U.S government for exploiting the world. Together with Henry C.K. Liu, well known for his book “The Financial War Between China and the U.S.,” they have published a series of works on dollar hegemony in opposition to the Chicago School’s monetarist ideas. READ THE BOOK REVIEW  >>


Jeb Sprague

CRUISE SHIPS AND GLOBAL CAPITALISM: THE INDUSTRY’S SHIFTING POLITICAL ECONOMY

Millions of people have come to connect in different ways with the globalizing cruise industry, from passengers to employees, from locals at its various destinations to managers and owners. The industry has grown tremendously in recent decades, earning massive profits for its major stockholders. Yet whereas some social groups have benefited, others have been disadvantaged or sidelined by the industry’s changing structures. Like many other sectors of global tourism, the cruise ship images (1)industry has become adept at repatriating more and more value from passenger spending, while at the same time maintaining a web of local and regional alliances and relations that benefit from the industry. READ THE ARTICLE >>


EMPIRE, GLOBAL CAPITALISM, AND THEORY: RECONSIDERING HARDT AND NEGRI

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

Kanishka Jayasuriya, Professor of Political Science at the University of Adelaide, 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

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

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 EDN BY PETER DICKEN

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

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 >>


Jeb Sprague and Grazia Ietto-Gillies

TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS IN TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY CAPITALISM

The purpose of this paper is to discuss economic and social issues of contemporary capitalism through the views and works of Grazia Ietto-Gillies who has a long experience of research in these fields. The issues relate to strategies of TNCs, to globalization and transnationalization, to internationalization indices, to linkages between innovation and internationalization, to uneven development, and, finally, to issues related to the economics profession and the dissemination of research in the twenty-first century. READ THE ARTICLE >>


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