Copied with thanks from the International Socialism Website. Callinicos appears to accept our argument on how capitalist imperialism was transformed. His entire argument in this respect appears to be founded on the claim that the economic crisis of the s has never been resolved. Callinicos misunderstands our argument when he says that we see class struggle from below as the sole cause of the crisis of the s; we make it very clear that renewed economic competition was also at the root of this.
|Published (Last):||10 December 2016|
|PDF File Size:||10.73 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||14.66 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
Copied with thanks from the International Socialism Website. Callinicos appears to accept our argument on how capitalist imperialism was transformed. His entire argument in this respect appears to be founded on the claim that the economic crisis of the s has never been resolved. Callinicos misunderstands our argument when he says that we see class struggle from below as the sole cause of the crisis of the s; we make it very clear that renewed economic competition was also at the root of this. This was so precisely because of the integration in production and finance that had already taken place and continued apace amid this revived competition.
Callinicos does not challenge this, nor does he dispute our argument that it was after the US applied neo-liberal discipline to itself under the Volcker shock that the international authority of neo-liberalism was established, emulated and generalised. It was this that resolved, for capital, the crisis of the s.
In fact, we think that uneven development and financial volatility under neo-liberal globalisation significantly reinforce those tendencies. But we argue that the capacity to manage and contain crises also needs to enter into the analysis, and we stress not only the coordinated management under the American imperial aegis, but also the difficulties involved in having to manage global capitalism through relatively autonomous states. This is rather ironic, given that he accuses us of not giving primacy to economic determinants and paying too much attention to the imperial capacities of the American state.
All he points to are certain concerns among some American elites to prevent the emergence of effective rivals to US military dominance. This is hardly surprising, and only confirms that the American state wants to develop further capacities to reinforce its dominance. And even if we granted that this preoccupation alone could explain the American invasion of Iraq, it would no more indicate the likely re-emergence of inter-imperial rivalries than the war on Yugoslavia over Kosovo did.
We explicitly argued that the latter was mainly directed at making it clear to the Europeans that NATO would remain the policeman of Europe — and Callinicos admits it was successful in this respect. There were of course greater tensions over the war on Iraq, but Callinicos makes far too much out of what transpired in this respect in the early months of , and ignores the significance of the German and French endorsement at the UN in the spring of of the American occupation of Iraq.
If America simply pulled out [of Iraq] now We are not in competition. We complement each other. Very much at play is the belief by European capitalists that neo-liberalism can remain strong in Europe only insofar as it remains strongly tied to an America-led global capitalism.
Callinicos offers nothing at all to challenge our central argument that the asymmetric power relationships that emerged out of the penetration and integration among the leading capitalist countries under the aegis of informal American empire were not dissolved in the wake of the crisis of the Golden Age or the end of the Cold War, but rather were refashioned and reconstituted through the era of neo-liberal globalisation. For unlike Hardt and Negri we reject the notion that borders are being erased and states are being bypassed in global capitalism, and we insist on the very large role of states in the making of global capitalism; we also explicitly say that the relative autonomy of states within the American informal empire allows for divergence in many policy areas.
The problem is to think that every conjunctural expression of this should be taken as proof of fundamental divergences within the imperium, and to draw the conclusion that this constitutes a geopolitical fault line that will spill over into rivalry for world dominance.
Neither of these reductions is necessary theoretically, and they are wrong empirically. The EU has, of course, backed down on this since he penned these words. The attention he pays to China as a putative new player in these patterns might seem more plausible than the attention he gives to Europe in this respect.
But the case he tries to make to counter our argument that China will remain very far from reaching the status of an inter-imperial pole for a good many decades relies again on quotations from American security elites that express their concern to prevent China from acquiring this status.
He himself provides no historical materialist analysis of the capacity of China to do this. Callinicos returns at the end of his article to the question of the underlying economic factors that are allegedly undoing the American Empire. All this makes it rather ironic that Callinicos should chastise us for not giving primacy to economic determinations. On what basis does giving primacy to economic determinants get translated into crisis tendencies alone?
It is significant in this respect that Callinicos fails to address our theoretical as well as empirical argument regarding the relationship between finance and empire in global capitalism, nor our explicit explanation of why the relationship between the US and its creditors today is so different than that between Britain and the US yesterday. Unfortunately, this proclivity all too often gives rise to a search for evidence of economic crises on the basis of an overestimation of the political fragmentation and instability that such crises must bring.
This tends to be accompanied by a type of politics that is premised on the expectation that economic crises and war among capitalist states will provide the setting for revolutionary opportunities. And the underestimation that necessarily follows from this of the strength and cohesiveness of global capitalism today unfortunately also gives rise to an underestimation of what the left needs to do politically and organisationally to develop the revolutionary capacities to challenge capitalism in the 21st century.
Notes 1. See The Geometry of Imperialism London , p. In addition to our essays in the and volumes of the Socialist Register, see also S. Panitch and S. Coates ed. Most recently, see L. Financial Times, 12 November Global Capitalism and American Empire, as above, p.
Imperialism and Global Political Economy
Copied with thanks from the International Socialism Website. The main reasons for this are, of course, the global primacy of the United States and the arrogance with which the Bush administration has flaunted this pre-eminence, above all in the military field. Marxists should be particularly well equipped to respond to this development, given the importance that their tradition has given to the concept of imperialism. Stated most rigorously by Bukharin, what I henceforth call the classical Marxist theory of imperialism affirms that capitalism in its imperialist stage is defined by two potentially conflicting tendencies: 1 the internationalisation of production, circulation and investment and 2 the interpenetration of private capital and the nation-state. In consequence, an increasingly integrated world economy becomes the arena for competition among capitals that tends now to take the form of geopolitical conflict among states. The First and Second World Wars were from this perspective inter-imperialist conflicts reflecting antagonisms at the heart of capitalism in its imperialist stage.