THE AGE OF IMPERIALISM: The Economics of U.S. Foreign Policy by Harry Magdoff

THE AGE OF IMPERIALISM: The Economics of U.S. Foreign Policy

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Magdoff is one of the most serious economists on the Left, and these five controversial essays will be taken seriously. They maintain that the American economy is expansionist, not by mistake or malice but by necessity; and that foreign policy is profoundly conditioned by domestic requirements for foreign industrial and financial activity. Magdoff tries to show that, though foreign exports and direct foreign investment per year constitute a small fraction of total U.S. assets, they represent a crucial cumulative stake abroad and a large proportion of the giant corporations' profits. Transcending conventional lamentations about the ""underdeveloped"" countries' trade predicament on the one hand, and crude deterministic concepts of imperialism on the other hand, Magdoff stresses the policymakers' concern with preserving future options for investment and control (as in Southeast Asia) as well as protecting current interests; and he analyzes foreign aid in relation to both goals. The discussion of the financial network, the emphasis on relations between capitalist nations, and his view of exports and military spending as props of the capital-goods sector are particularly important. His sensitivity to historical development is as welcome in an economist as it is rare. The statistical analyses and methodological comments are sometimes demanding, but the book seems suitable for the politically-minded general readers at whom it was aimed.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1969
ISBN: 085345101X
Publisher: Monthly Review