THE SWORD AND THE DOLLAR by Michael Parenti

THE SWORD AND THE DOLLAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here, Parenti continues his assault on conventional American foreign policy that started with The Anti-Communist Impulse (1969) and last saw light in Inventing Reality (1986). Parenti is the left-wing equivalent of the right-winger who sees a commie under every bed. Show him an official American government policy, and he sees red. Basically, he argues (and the argument is shop-worn) that US multinational corporations control most of the wealth, labor, and markets of the Third World--whose class structures, he says, are protected by imperialism from popular uprisings. This absentee neocolonialists Parenti terms ""the condominium empire"" (""As any banker knows, under capitalism the trick is net to own the asset, but to hold the note on it""). Parenti argues that American policy is ""brutally powerful and coercive, and usually effective in its undertakings."" He begs off the label ""extremist"" for his views, stating that ""the extremists are already in power. They have turned much of the world into a military garrison and an economic purgatory."" Parenti peppers his one-sided commentary with characterizations of Western capitalist nations as ""plunderers"" who contribute nothing to Third World economies. (One wonders, then, why some Third World nations compete fiercely for Western industries to set up shop.) In the end, the author is reduced to such crude arguments as that ""U.S. policymakers use fascism to protect capitalism, while claiming they are saving democracy from communism."" Unconvincing, if fierce, polemic.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's