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New Left Review 88, July-August 2014

hung ho-fung


As the us military rolled into Afghanistan and Iraq, with the influence of neo-conservatism at its peak after the 9/11 attacks, terms like ‘empire’ and ‘imperialism’ were sprinkled liberally throughout much of the literature on international politics. But this vocabulary has fallen out of fashion since Bush gave way to Obama and us drones began to replace boots on the ground. The Wall Street crash of 2008, in tandem with China’s seemingly inexorable rise, encouraged talk of a superpower in decline and the emergence of a ‘post-American world’. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin take aim at this new orthodoxy in a bold and rigorous work, arguing that the American empire remains as potent as ever, along with the global capitalist order that it created and sustains. [1] Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin, The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire, Verso: London and New York 2013, £12.99, paperback 464 pp, 978 1 7816 8136 7 The authors see global capitalism as a us project that has gradually unfolded since the beginning of the twentieth century. The goal has been to establish a framework that will allow capital (us or otherwise) to move freely across the planet in pursuit of accumulation. It has encountered several crises along the way—from the Great Depression of the 1930s to the downturn of the 1970s and the financial meltdown of 2008—only to emerge stronger every time.

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Ho-fung Hung, ‘Canadianization’, NLR 88: £3

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