The Making of Global Capitalism

Overview

The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren’t straightforwardly opposing forces.

In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam ...

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The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire

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Overview

The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren’t straightforwardly opposing forces.

In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state, including its role as an “informal empire” promoting free trade and capital movements. Through a powerful historical survey, they show how the US has superintended the restructuring of other states in favor of competitive markets and coordinated the management of increasingly frequent financial crises.

The Making of Global Capitalism, through its highly original analysis of the first great economic crisis of the twenty-first century, identifies the centrality of the social conflicts that occur within states rather than between them. These emerging fault lines hold out the possibility of new political movements transforming nation states and transcending global markets.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this sweeping, timely, and well-researched study of global capitalism, York University political scientist Panitch and York University visiting social justice scholar Gindin (coauthors, with Greg Albo, of In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives) trace economic developments from the 1944 Bretton Woods conference to the present. Panitch and Gindin maintain that after WWII, U.S. officials did not pursue a narrow conventional concept of national self-interest; rather, in pushing for nondiscriminatory international access for capital, “European capitalists forged ties with American capitalists both within Europe and within the US,” strengthening cross-border capitalist powers. If this argument stretches the concept of class unity to a perhaps untenable solidity, it also underscores the evolution of “a truly global financial system based on the internationalization of the U.S. financial system.” However, decades later, global capital mobility led to 72 financial crises in the 1990s among low- and middle-income nations. The authors conclude that “turning the financial institutions that are the life-blood of global capitalism into public utilities” is a “necessary prerequisite for social justice and democracy”; whether this is a desirable, or even plausible, action need not vitiate the merits of the authors’ compelling arguments. (Oct.)
Naomi Klein
“Lucid and indispensable guides to the history and practice of American Empire.”
Robert Pollin
“This is a major work in political economy—rigorously researched, compellingly written, and bursting with fresh insights on nearly every page.”
David Harvey
“Combining the ferocity of investigative reporters, sophisticated skills in interpreting the historical archive, and a profound grasp of theory, Panitch and Gindin provide an astonishingly illuminating account of the making of global capitalism through the organization of a global financial system under US hegemony since World War II. A must read for everyone who is concerned about where the future of capitalism might lie.”
Saskia Sassen
“Panitch and Gindin give us a history of global capitalism that brings together what has often been represented as unconnected. The authors help us see the active making of global capitalism mostly overlooked in mainstream explanation. A great book.”
Doug Henwood
“They have few rivals and no betters in analyzing the relations between politics and economics, between globalization and American power, between theory and quotidian reality, and between crisis and political possibility.”
From the Publisher
“Lucid and indispensable guides to the history and practice of American Empire.”—Naomi Klein, award-winning journalist and author of The Shock Doctrine

“It’s the best left look at the U.S. empire I’ve seen. The picture of the U.S. as having the long-term dynamism and coherence of the global system ‘front of mind’, as the biz types say, makes far more sense than, say, the Chomskyism that pervades much of the left. They have few rivals and no betters in analyzing the relations between politics and economics, between globalization and American power, between theory and quotidian reality, and between crisis and political possibility.”—Doug Henwood, editor and publisher of Left Business Observer

“Combining the ferocity of investigative reporters, sophisticated skills in interpreting the historical archive, and a profound grasp of theory, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin provide an astonishingly illuminating account of the making of global capitalism through the organization of a global financial system under US hegemony since World War II. If we are, as it seems, destined to live under the dictatorship of the world’s central bankers then it is vital for everyone to know how this came about and what the current fault lines might be that hold out prospects for strong anti-capitalist struggles to emerge. A must read for everyone who is concerned about where the future of capitalism might lie.”—David Harvey, CUNY Graduate Center, author of A Brief History of Neoliberalism

“Bringing new understanding to the dominant global role of the United States from World War I onward in business and economic policymaking, The Making of Global Capitalism advances an original perspective on the forces that have created our current epoch of neoliberal globalization. This is a major work in political economy—rigorously researched, compellingly written, and bursting with fresh insights on nearly every page.”—Robert Pollin, Professor of Economics and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI), University of Massachusetts-Amherst

“Panitch and Gindin give us a history of global capitalism that brings together what has often been represented as unconnected. The authors help us see the active making of global capitalism mostly overlooked in mainstream explanation. A great book.”—Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and author of Territory, Authority, Rights

“Left-leaning intellectuals examine the exceptional role of the United States in the development of global capitalism ... .[a] densely detailed work.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Sweeping, timely, and well-researched study of global capitalism ... compelling.”—Publishers Weekly

“Deep, profound, and rich ... a truly epoch work that deserves careful, deliberate reading. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin have so much to offer as we deliberate about the paths to follow for empowerment and meaningful change.”—Mimi Rosenberg, host of Building Bridges on WBAI

“A real tonic both theoretically and, especially, politically. Panitch and Gindin have a deep understanding of historical materialism—their analysis is concrete and always anchored to advancing class struggle as an epistemic as well as a political project”—Adolph Reed, professor of political science, University of Pennsylvania

“[G]ives an excellent history of capitalism and compares how modern capitalism in America has set the stage for the acceptance of global capitalism ... one of the best books I’ve read on the topic.”—David H., Book Bargains and Previews

“A meticulous history of how the American state, in conjunction with Wall Street, developed the institutional conditions that made global capitalism possible.”—Jake Olzen, Infoshop News

“A masterful century-long history of US corporate activity and state economic strategy. Insofar as capitalist states are where class interests are codified, their spicy reading of dry officialdom’s milquetoast narratives is absolutely vital to our knowledge about power. Most valuable are the ways these Canadians set out anti-capitalist principles and critiques of reformism, and defend socialist aspirations. In perhaps no other site in the English-speaking academic world are such committed, principled and generous leaders so warmly received by colleagues and students, and more importantly, by workers and communities in struggle. This means taking with utmost seriousness both their analysis and strategy, for even if they do not always jump the gap perfectly, no one I know has a better working model.”—Patrick Bond, Red Pepper

“Readers should avail themselves of Professors Leo Panitch and his colleague Sam Gindin’s excellent researching and insightful analysis, as well as their readable description and explanation of how the money part of the US empire works or doesn’t. Serious activists will learn: these authors teach the how and why of the world’s capitalist economic system.”—Saul Landau, Counterpunch

“Organize[d] .. Focused ... a confrontation with financial institutions that must be re-created as instruments of economic coordination and social welfare.”—Book News

“There is little doubt that The Making of Global Capitalism will soon establish itself as a benchmark text on the history of global capitalism during the 20th century ... Panitch and Gindin survey global capitalism from its head office so to speak, in order to follow a train of decisions and actions which they contend demonstrate precisely how global capitalism is—and indeed can only be—the logical result of the organization and operation of a new form of American empire.”—Canadian Journal of Political Science

Library Journal
Panitch and Gindin (both political science, York Univ., Toronto; coauthors, In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives) here explore how the United States has, over nearly a century, promoted the spread of capitalism and helped establish it as the prevailing global economic system. Their book makes the case that by using its financial and military might, America created a loose empire that eventually pushed aside competing economic systems and quieted populist resistance. Even by the 1990s, when capitalist globalization seemed inevitable, they argue, the movement was still dependent on the continued promulgation of favorable laws and treaties. They conclude that meaningful progressive social reform in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis will depend on whether policymakers can understand and overcome the political and legal underpinnings of the capitalist system. VERDICT Written in formal academic language and featuring comprehensive coverage of historic economic developments, this work is not an easy read. To fully appreciate the authors' nuanced arguments and conclusions, readers need a basic knowledge of economics and political science. Recommended to scholars and advanced students of economics or political science.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Left-leaning intellectuals examine the exceptional role of the United States in the development of global capitalism. In this densely detailed work, Panitch (Political Science/York Univ.; Renewing Socialism: Transforming Democracy, Strategy, and Imagination, 2009, etc.) and Gindin (The Canadian Auto Workers: The Birth and Transformation of a Union, 1995, etc.) offer "not another book on U.S. military interventions" but rather an account of "the political economy of American empire," in which the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve are far more important players than the Pentagon and CIA. As early as World War I, during which American finance and industry were critically important to the war's outcome, it was clear that the U.S. would eventually take the lead in creating global capitalism. That likelihood was realized at the end of World War II, when America emerged as the strongest single postwar power and sought to promote free enterprise in every nation. Changes in the Treasury, Federal Reserve and State Department made possible a postwar economic policy aimed at securing adequate natural resources to sustain domestic capital accumulation; creating conditions abroad to attract foreign investment; and integrating other states into an American-managed global capitalism. The authors show how both Europe and Japan became part of the "informal" American empire and how the postwar growth of American finance--including the externalization of American practices and institutions--led to the creation of the integrated system of expanding financial markets that characterizes capitalist globalization. By the end of the 20th century, write the authors, "capitalists, literally almost everywhere, generally acknowledged a dependence on the U.S. for establishing, guaranteeing, and managing the global framework within which they could all accumulate." Will be appreciated most by specialists in economics and globalism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781844677429
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 10/9/2012
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 798,166
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sam Gindin is the former Research Director of the Canadian Autoworkers Union and Packer Visiting Chair in Social Justice at York University. Among his many publications, he is the author (with Greg Albo and Leo Panitch) of In and Out of Crisis: The Global Financial Meltdown and Left Alternatives.

Leo Panitch is Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University. Editor of The Socialist Register for 25 years, his many books include Working Class Politics in Crisis, A Different Kind of State, The End of Parliamentary Socialism, and American Empire and The Political Economy of Global Finance.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction 1

Part I Prelude to the New American Empire

1 The DNA of American Capitalism 25

The Dynamic Economy 26

The Active State 31

Internationalizing the American State 35

2 American State Capacities: From Great War to New Deal 45

From Wilson to Hoover: Isolationism Not 46

The Great Depression and the New Deal State 53

From New Deal to Grand Truce with Capital 59

Part II The Project for a Global Capitalism

3 Planning the New American Empire 67

Internationalizing the New Deal 69

The Path to Bretton Woods 72

Laying the Domestic Foundations 80

4 Launching Global Capitalism 89

Evolving the Marshall Plan 91

The American Rescue of European Capitalism 96

"The Rest of the World" 102

Part III The Transition to Global Capitalism

5 The Contradictions of Success 111

Internationalizing Production 112

Internationalizing Finance 117

Detaching from Bretton Woods 122

6 Structural Power Through Crisis 133

Class, Profits, and Crisis 135

Transition through Crisis 144

Facing the Crisis Together 152

Part IV The Realization of Global Capitalism

7 Renewing Imperial Capacity 163

The Path to Discipline 164

The New Age of Finance 172

The Material Base of Empire 183

8 Integrating Global Capitalism 195

Integrating Europe 196

Japan's Contradictions of Success 203

The Rest of the World (Literally) 211

Part V The Rule of Global Capitalism

9 Rules of Law: Governing Globalization 223

The Laws of Free Trade 224

Global Investment, American Rules 230

Disciplinary Internationalism 234

10 The New Imperial Challenge: Managing Crises 247

Firefighter in Chief 248

The Asian Contagion 254

Failure Containment 261

Part VI The Global Capitalist Millennium

11 A World After Its Own Image 275

Chief Financial Architect 277

The US and the Globalized Economy 283

The Integration of China 292

12 American Crisis/Global Crisis 301

Smoldering Bushfires 303

"The Worst Financial Crisis in Global History" 310

The Empire's Not So New Clothes 318

Conclusion 331

Notes 341

Index 447

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