NLR 52

Emir SaderThe Weakest Link? Neoliberalism in Latin America

The continent that once served as laboratory for the Washington Consensus now represents the most substantial challenge to its prescriptions. A survey of left strategies, from Buenos Aires to Mexico City, and prospects for counter-hegemonic regional integration.

Walter Benn MichaelsAgainst Diversity

Tears and triumphs for race and gender have dominated discussion of the 2008 US election. Walter Benn Michaels argues that the Obama and Clinton campaigns are victories for neoliberalism, not over it—serving only to camouflage inequality.

Norman DombeyThe Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Repeatedly invoked to choke off emergent nuclear powers in East Asia and the Middle East, the NPT’s actual content has remained largely undiscussed. Norman Dombey itemizes the Treaty’s provisions, and the asymmetrical burdens imposed on signatories, the better to gauge its successes and limitations.

Peter GowanTwilight of the NPT?

Responding to Dombey, Peter Gowan asks why such an unequal treaty has attracted so many adherents—and why its superpower beneficiary has sought to undermine it. Do impasses around the NPT signal failures for US dominance?

Mark ElvinThe Historian as Haruspex

Giovanni Arrighi’s Adam Smith in Beijing proposes a bold new political-economic patterning of China’s rise, America’s decline. Mark Elvin examines the assumptions behind narratives of divergent West and East, and the parameters that will define a reconfigured world order.

Franco MorettiThe Novel: History and Theory

Moretti’s 5-volume Il romanzo recast the field of the novel—historically deeper, geographically wider, morphologically broader. What are the implications for its theory? Prose, adventure and xiaoshuo as explanatory vectors; and prevalence of older power relations in the bourgeoisie’s hegemonic literary form.

The Philosopher and his Blacks

Robin Blackburn on Louis Sala-Molins, Dark Side of the Light. Polemical assault on the French Enlightenment’s record on slavery—Condorcet’s contradictions, Diderot’s compromises, Montesquieu’s motivations.

Among the Unbelievers

Gregor McLennan on Charles Taylor, A Secular Age. A dialectical account of God’s role under conditions of modernity, with otherworldly intimations of ‘fullness’ compensating for materialism’s spiritual void.

Year One in Petrograd

Steve Smith on Alexander Rabinowitch, The Bolsheviks in Power. The tumultuous first year of Soviet rule in Petrograd, meticulously rendered by a major revisionist historian.