In Praise of Empires: Globalization and Order / Edition 1

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In this timely and controversial book, economist Deepak Lal explores the twin themes of empires and globalization and discusses the place of the US in the current world order. Lal argues that not since the fall of the Roman empire has there been a potential imperial power like the United States today, and asks the question: Is a US imperium needed for the globalization which breeds prosperity? What form should this empire take? Would US domestic politics support this? Would the US tendency to see itself as a moral nation pursuing "universal values" such as democracy, equality and rights run into resistance from other non-western Christian societies? The US has already faced hostile coalitions. What is the history and nature of resistance to US hegemony? Lal explores the Islamic threat to the position of the US and the current "war on terror."

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fascinating study that addresses some of the most important economic and geopolitical issues of the day. Deepak Lal's thought-provoking analysis, which displays his customary erudition, forces us to look afresh at questions of governance in the contemporary world. He does so by examining the contribution that empires have made to the structure of governance over the centuries."—Anne O Krueger, First Deputy Managing

Director, IMF

"Penetrating, engaging, well argued, and decidedly unconventional"- John Mueller, Department of Political Science, Ohio State University

"Perhaps only someone with a background as cosmopolitan as Deepak Lal's and a willingness to trespass across disciplinary boundaries could have written such an insightful, forceful, and iconoclastic defence of imperialism which underlines the close relationship between globalization, prosperity, peace, and empire. Any social scientist working in the United States who is willing to write that the United Nations 'is of little use and in a rational world would be wound up' should not be ignored."—Stephen D. Krasner, Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Relations, Stanford University.

"A brilliant and provocative scourge of pious thinking on international politics"—Paul Collier, University of Oxford.

Foreign Affairs
The thesis of Lal's provocative contribution to the debate on empire, globalization, and U.S. power is that empire, despite its current reputation, has tended to be a progressive historical force, providing order and the conditions for prosperity. In a breathtaking, quick survey of ancient and modern empire, Lal argues that empire has served as a governance mechanism for disparate peoples who otherwise would have been trapped in the conflicts and inefficiencies of anarchy. Echoing Niall Ferguson's Colossus, Lal also contends that the United States, following in the footsteps of the British, is the last surviving empire; its global rule has been mostly informal and indirect, but it has been crucial in the creation of an open world economy. The book's most interesting argument regards the dangers facing the U.S. order: Washington advances the interests of itself and the global order by spreading material values but endangers this order by spreading Western moral values. In other words, empire put in the service of capitalist modernization is sustainable, but empire used to spread Western beliefs generates backlash.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781403936394
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 11/20/2004
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Deepak Lal is James S. Coleman Professor of International Development Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and Professor Emeritus of Political Economy, University College of London, and co-director of the Trade and Development Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, London.

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Table of Contents


Part I: Peace

• War and Peace

• Empires

• From a British to American Imperium

• Challenges

Part II: Prosperity

• Liberal International Economic Orders

• Free Trade and Laissez Faire

• Money and Finance

• Poverty and Growth

Part III: Morality

• Morality and Capitalism

• Nationalism and Democracy

• NGOs and International Civil Society

• Towards an International Moral Order?

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