The Global Political Economy of Israel

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Over the past century, Israel has been transformed from an agricultural colony, to a welfare-warfare state, to a globally integrated 'market economy' characterised by great income disparities. What lies behind this transformation? Why the shift in emphasis from 'war profits' to 'peace dividends' -- and back to conflict? How did egalitarianism give rise to inequality? Who are the big winners here, and how have they shaped their world?

Never before have these questions been answered as they are in this highly original book. In order to understand capitalist development, argue Bichler and Nitzan, we need to break the artificial separation between 'economics' and 'politics', and think of accumulation itself as 'capitalisation of power'. Applying this concept to Israel, and drawing on seemingly unrelated phenomena, the authors reveal the big picture that never makes it to the news. Diverse processes -- such as global accumulation cycles, regional conflicts and energy crises, ruling class formation and dominant ideology, militarism and dependency, inflation and recession, the politics of high-technology and the transnationalisation of ownership -- are all woven into a single story. The result is a fascinating account of one of the world's most volatile regions, and a new way of understanding the global political economy.

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Editorial Reviews

Haim Baram
‘The Global Political Economy of Israel’ is hard to review without superlatives...I read it as a desert traveler who has finally reached an oasis. It is full of details, flatters the reader, but demands an intellectual effort. In return, it explains not only the ‘how’ but also the ‘why.’ Bichler and Nitzan have put aside the justifications, the misleading terminology, the dis-information, the speculation in blood. They came to the party with their cameras, only that instead of conventional film, they used x-rays.
Dror Burstein
The reader will find in this book a whole world, Kafkaesque in nature and scope...Naturally, it deserves attention from economists...but it could also be read as a first-class cultural document. Above all, it is a grand, perpetual deconstruction of Israel's material reality, a penetrating, sarcastic and well-written study of ‘where we live.’ Rarely does a single book transform the entire worldview of a reader. This book does it. Eye opening. Depressing.
You could agree or disagree with ‘The Global Political Economy of Israel, ’ but it is undoubtedly the most riveting and outstanding economics book you would have read this year.
Jeffrey Harrod
An arresting and creative book. Moving beyond standard explanations, the authors reveal the underpinnings of Israeli's history and politics, and in doing so provide a new framework to examine other such societies in global politics.
Aryeh Kofsky
I devoured it in few days. It is a great, impressive and illuminating book, as well as a fascinating read. The enemies of Bichler and Nitzan, but also their admirers, will now be a thousand-fold.
Itzhak Laor
I read the hundreds of pages of this book like a thriller...There is a great deal of anger in this book and a great deal of humor. Reading economic literature is usually very boring. This book is fascinating. Marxists and socialists of all kinds, if they don't want to give answers from the day before yesterday to yesterday's questions, should definitely read it.
Ronen Palan
Bichler and Nitzan are without doubt two of the more innovative political economists in the world right now. Relying primarily on data gathered by themselves, with brutal precision and unwavering logic they dispense with the thick layer of ideologies and mystification to lay bare the innermost structures of power of Israeli society. This accessible but deeply disturbing book is not only the most authoritative study of the Israeli State to date, but also a significant contribution to state theory and globalization. I would place it on par with Poulantzas' work in the seventies. It is a masterpiece.
Mary Ann Tetreault
This innovative and thoroughly researched examination of Israel in the global political economy is a brilliant addition to the growing ‘new political economy’ literature. The volume is distinguished by its engaging style. Theories are laid out clearly and evaluated empirically with reference to a rich descriptive and quantitative database that includes economic and political variables. Indeed, among the greatest strengths of this work is the way that economics and politics are fully integrated throughout; another is how well the authors site Israel's domestic political economy in a larger web of external strategic and economic relationships. I recommend it highly and look forward to sharing it with my students.
Joseph H.H. Weiler
Professional academics will, of course, hate it. They will say it is not ‘science’ and they will say it is not scholarship, it will be called ‘journalism’ and all that. But you guys knew of course what you were doing. And I am glad you did it this way, because I would have never even opened the book if it were classical scholarship. Life is too short. I found it a good read, a very good read, illuminating, very funny at times, and even when I did not agree (because my views on life, social justice, political organization, are very different than yours, I found it challenging and engaging. I also loved, just loved, all the gossipy snippets. A ‘Must’ read for anyone interested in the debate about globalization and its discontents, this book pricks and deflates all hot air balloons in sight.
Noam Chomsky
This fine and careful study provides an enlightening account of the development of the Israeli economy within the context of the contemporary version of economic international integration ("globalization", regional planning and developments, and internal conflicts and confrontations. It is rich in insights and far-reaching in its broader implications.
Moshe Machover
A must-read for anyone interested in global and Middle-East economics and politics.
Terisa E. Turner
Nitzan and Bichler brilliantly excavate the direct link between Israeli aggression and oil companies' drive to boost their profits through war-induced higher oil prices. The popular responses to this 'blood for oil' dynamic include democratic internationalism and its terrorist antithesis.
From the Publisher
'This accessible but deeply disturbing book is not only the most authoritative study of the Israeli State to date, but also a significant contribution to state theory and globalisation ... A masterpiece.' —Ronen Palan, Professor of International Political Economy, University of Sussex.

'A ‘Must’ read for anyone interested in the debate about globalization and its discontents.' —Joseph H.H. Weiler, Jean Monnet Professor of Law, NYU School of Law

'Undoubtedly the most riveting and outstanding political-economy book you would have read this year.' —Globe

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745316765
  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • Publication date: 8/20/2002
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 5.91 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Douglas Dowd is a widely respected academic and political activist. He has taught at Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, University of California, Berkeley, and San Jose State University and is currently teaching at the University of Modena in Italy. He is the author of Capitalism and its Economics (Pluto, 2004).

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
1 Introduction 1
2 Capital and Power: Breaking the Dualism of 'Economics' and 'Politics' 31
3 The History of Israel's Power Structure 84
4 The Making of Stagflation 137
5 The Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition 198
6 From Foreign Investors to Transnational Owernship 274
References 358
Index 372
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