The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class
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With The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class, Kees van der Pijl put class formation at the heart of our understanding of world politics and the global economy. This landmark study dissects one of the most decisive phenomena of the twentieth century—the rise of an Atlantic ruling class of multinational banks and corporations. A new preface by the author evaluates the book’s significance in the light of recent political and economic developments.
productive capital were tendentially integrated /V* Y * Y * 4/V 4/V 4/V Introduction xxxi at the Atlantic level, the spread of American multinational firms and banks opened a third, synthetic stage of the internationalization of capital. In each stage, specific trans-Atlantic configurations of interests crystallized, which were acted upon by a segment of the ruling class formulating its concept of control in terms of the requirements of the capital fraction specifically engaged in the
Atlantic rivalry, leaving the terrain to the state monopolists, the growth of Atlantic integration worked both to enhance American expansion and break down classical European imperialism. As Lerner and Gorden emphasize, Atlantic integration for the United States had a universalist aspect from the outset, whereas for Europe, on the contrary, it meant a liquidation of earlier global aspirations. ‘On the American side, the regionalist trend coexists with partial and incomplete trends toward
(formalised in the Preface to the 2012 Edition * Benno Teschke has demonstrated in The M yth of 1648: Class, Geopolitics and the Making of Modern International Relations (London: Verso, 2003) that the claim that the W estphalian treaties established the modern state system was premature to the extent it really only formalised sovereign equality among princes. f W .R. Brubaker quoted in Angus Stewart, ‘Two Conceptions of Citizenship’, The British Journal of Sociology, vol. 46, no. 1 (March 1995),
movement in the years that followed.62 This course of events demonstrated the inability of merely syndi calist movements, no matter how revolutionary, to provide a viable alternative to a vision of reformed capitalism, which by its own workings, and Henry Ford’s in particular, seemed to hold out the promise of fulfilling the workers’ material needs. In Germany, this reformist ideal was elaborated out along the lines of the Keynesian critique of money capital, but due to its origins in the
adviser to Wendell Willkie in the 1940 presiden tial campaign, selected because of his supposed expertise in foreign policy. Like Streit he was an inveterate geopolitician. ‘I began in terms of some “organic union” ’, Catlin wrote in retrospect, ‘and of the Anglo-American-Canadian “triangle of power” . . . In sub sequent revisions, I expanded this nucleus to include much of Europe — impracticable in 1940 — and Australasia. Streit began at the reverse end with specific stress on “federal union”