THE DISINTEGRATING WEST by Mary Kaldor
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THE DISINTEGRATING WEST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Are there economic forces at work which will inevitably de-stabilize relations between Europe, the U.S., and Japan? Could another war between Western powers be a real possibility? If Kaldor (University of Sussex) has the temerity to think the unthinkable and answer yes to these questions, her apparent rashness does not come from a penchant for forecasting doom, but from a cogently reasoned analysis of international affairs. Focusing on the workings of the international economy rather than on the articulated political policies of states, Kaldor, like many others, stresses the impact of multinational corporations. Where she goes beyond the standard analyses is in her sensitivity to the role of traditional market sectors, arguing that the Western economy is divided between multinationals seeking to burst the bonds of the nation-state and traditional agricultural and goods-exporting sectors that still require state protection and national markets. This conflict is particularly intense in the U.S., resulting in Washington's zigzagging policies, with the parochial sector currently ascendant. Kaldor employs a theory of uneven development to explain the rise and fall of various geographic regions and economic sectors, and contends that both the current stagnation of the U.S. and British economies, and the growth of Japan and Germany, illustrate this effect; multinational capital flows to the technologically innovative productive centers at the expense of antiquated domestic industry. Although she thinks war unlikely, by refusing to rule it out she emphasizes the severity of the structural conflicts at work. Kaldor has no cure to offer, but her diagnosis is profound and truly radical.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1978
Publisher: Hill & Wang/Farrar, Straus & Giroux