American Empire and the Political Economy of Global Finance by Leo Panitch, Martijn Konings

By Leo Panitch, Martijn Konings

In a full of life critique of the way foreign and comparative political economic climate misjudge the connection among worldwide markets and states, this booklet demonstrates the relevant position of the yankee kingdom in modern-day international of globalized finance. The individuals put aside conventional emphases on army intervention, taking a look in its place to economics.

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No less a practitioner of financial capital and American power than Paul Volcker has stressed the continuity: ‘I take it almost as an article of faith (a faith that in this case can be backed by facts) that the United States, as the dominant power after World War II and for decades afterwards, was the driving force toward a liberal trading order and the freedom of international investment’ (Volcker and Gyohten 1992: 288). Concentrating on what distinguishes the two eras leads to the neglect of the processes at work that led from the first era to the second, and the extent to which neoliberalism’s spread in the 1980s and 1990s depended on the structures previously established.

But when this suit failed in the courts a few years later, it was a ‘watershed in the history of Wall Street’ that ‘finally freed the Street of its image as the home of monopoly capitalists . . the investment bankers finally proved they were vital to the economy’ (Chernow 1990: 402; Geisst 1997: 272). The post-war economic boom and the financial bull market through the 1950s provided the space for American finance, even while still operating within the framework of the New Deal regulations, to further deepen its 24 Contours and Sources of Imperial Finance markets at home and expand abroad.

This proved pivotal to the reconstitution of the American empire by unleashing the new form of social rule subsequently labelled ‘neoliberalism’ – promoting the expansion of markets and using their discipline to remove the barriers to accumulation that earlier democratic gains had achieved. As vehicles for the most mobile form of capital, the new financial markets contributed strongly to the universalization of neoliberalism in the 1980s and 1990s. The deepening and extension of financial markets that had already occurred by this time – their domestic and international growth, their increasingly multidimensional and innovative ties to business, and their penetration of consumer savings – were central to this new form of social rule.

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