Imperialism and Global Political Economy
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In Imperialism and Global Political Economy Alex Callinicos intervenes in one of the main political and intellectual debates of the day. The global policies of the
Callinicos explores these questions in this wide-ranging book. In the first part, he critically assesses the classical theories of imperialism developed in the era of the First World War by Marxists such as Lenin, Luxemburg, and Bukharin and by the Liberal economist J.A. Hobson. He then outlines a theory of the relationship between capitalism as an economic system and the international state system, carving out a distinctive position compared to other contemporary theorists of empire and imperialism such as Antonio Negri, David Harvey, Giovanni Arrighi, and Ellen Wood.
In the second half of Imperialism and Global Political Economy Callinicos traces the history of capitalist imperialism from the Dutch East India Company to the specific patterns of economic and geopolitical competition in the contemporary era of American decline and Chinese expansion. Imperialism, he concludes, is far from dead.
competition leads individual capitals to invest in increasing their production and rendering it more efficient. The reproduction schemes provide a basis from which a Marxist theory of effective demand could be developed, since they follow from the premiss that the value created when a commodity is produced must be realized through the sale of that commodity on the market. The schemes thus establish that the continued expansion of capital depends not merely on the creation of value in the
and seeking to bring in the latest techniques. High levels of investment obtained which resulted in rising capital/labour ratios, rapid productivity growth, and, ultimately, high income per person more generally. 67 The final element in this pattern is, as Israel puts it, the 'specific form of the Dutch state' as a federation of urban mercantile elites: 'Despite all that has been said to disparage the Dutch Republic as cumbersome and slow-moving, the fact is that it was an exceptionally strong
state created by the Dutch and English Revolutions facilitated external expansion, bringing its exemplars into collision. Barely had the Commonwealth been proclaimed after the execution of Charles I than it passed the Navigation Act 1 6 5 1 , directed against the trade primacy of its fellow Protestant republic, and provoked the First Anglo-Dutch War ( 1 6 5 2 - 4 ) . But, more crucially, the capitalist economic base of these states gave them a selective advantage in their geopolitical struggles
entrenched that Africans, and other non-white 'races', are inherently inferior to Europeans. Though doctrines of natural inferiority pre-date modernity, they occupied less salience in pre-capitalist societies, where inequality of a visible, systematic, legally entrenched kind was the norm, reflecting their dependence on the coercive extraction of surplus-labour. In such hierarchical societies, slavery was one of a spectrum of unequal statuses, requiring no special explanation. Not so in
between a US eager to reconstruct a multilateral trading order and European states using Keynesian demand management, exchange controls and bilateral agreements to rebuild their economies. Milward goes as far as to assert: 'If the "Bretton Woods system", as conceived in 1 9 4 4 , ever existed, it ended for European countries in 1 9 4 7 . ' The intermeshing of geopolitical with economic interests was not simply driven by Washington's worries about Moscow: after all, the two world wars arose from