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by Leo Panitch & Sam Gindin

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-84467-742-9
Publisher: Verso

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.