On Saturday, May 3rd, 2003 Monthly Review and the University of Vermont co-sponsored “Imperialism Today,” a one-day conference in honor of Harry Magdoff. Invited speakers were asked to discuss the context and workings of the current U.S. global hegemony, the means by which control is exercised over resources and the global periphery, the maintenance of (and challenges to) ideological hegemony, and the prospects for anti-imperialism.
In early July 2002, I asked Harry Magdoff if he would be interviewed for the Statesman, a Kolkata, India newspaper for which I write political commentary. Our first interview was so satisfying that we continued for several sessions. What follows is a discussion of something Harry has considered, what we can learn from the experience of the Soviet Union. It is, characteristically, concerned with learning from history. Harry is methodologically committed to the actual world from which all theory springs, to which it must speak, and to meet whose specific particularities it must continually be reshaped.
For a long time now, the U.S. economy and the economies of the advanced capitalist world as a whole have been experiencing a slowdown in economic growth relative to the quarter-century following the Second World War. It is true that there have been cyclical upswings and long expansions that have been touted as full-fledged economic booms in this period, but the slowdown in the rate of growth of the economy has continued over the decades. Grasping this fact is crucial if one is to understand the continual economic restructuring over the last three decades, the rapidly worsening conditions in much of the underdeveloped world to which the crisis has been exported, and the larger significance of the present cyclical downturn of world capitalism
The twentieth anniversary issue of Monthly Review in May 1969 carried the announcement that Harry Magdoff—the independent economist-had officially joined Paul Sweezy as co-editor, replacing Leo Huberman, who had died in 1968
In the decades after 1945, as colonial possessions became independent states, it was widely-believed that imperialism as a historical phenomenon was coming to an end. The six essays collected in this volume demonstrate that a new form of imperialism was, in fact, taking shape—an imperialism defined not by colonial rule but by the global capitalist market. From the outset, the dominant power in this imperialism without colonies was the United States.
Probably the passage in the Communist Manifesto most frequently cited these days is a portrayal of the global spread of capitalism:
As mentioned over the phone, we like your article very much. It needs to be shortened, and we will be suggesting some editorial changes. Meanwhile, I would like to get your thinking about my disagreement with this statement in your conclusion: “Today’s neo-liberal state is a different kind of capitalist class than the social-democratic, Keynesian interventionist state of the previous period.” I can’t see any significant difference in either the state or its relation to the ruling class, even though clearly there is a considerable difference between the functioning of the capitalist economy during the so-called golden age and the subsequent long stretch of stagnation. I do not mean the absence of any change at all in the capitalist class. Thus, the growing influence of the financial sector (not necessarily a separate sector) is noteworthy. But that is hardly a measure of a major change in the state
Magdoff’s analysis is the foundation upon which the work of an entire tradition of Monthly Review authors rests.
The economies of the capitalist world-individually and as part of a closely knit global system-have been in an ongoing state of crisis since the early 1970s when the long post World War II boom finally came to an end. This crisis has gone through several phases but has not at any time shown signs of giving way to a renewed long wave of prosperity.
This is the fourth in the magisterial series of essays by the former editors of Monthly Review on the state of the U.S. economy and its relation to the global system. Like its predecessors, this volume focuses on the development of U.S. capitalism as it takes place, and covers the 1980s. The authors stress the profound contradictions of the underlying processes of capital accumulation and identify, before any other economic commentators, the immense implications of the use of the explosion of debt to attempt to solve the problems presented by the underlying stagnation in the real economy.
This volume contains a series of essays aimed at illuminating the theory, history, and roots of imperialism, which extend the analysis developed in Madgoff’s The Age of Imperialism 1978. See The Age of Imperialism
This is the third book of essays on the United States and the world economy produced by the fruitful collaboration of Monthly Review editors Paul M. Sweezy and Harry Magdoff. In these essays, written between 1977 and 1981, the authors assess the results of efforts taken to stabilize the economy after the epochal changes of the early 1970s, the end of capitalism’s “golden age,” by attempts to counteract the effects of inflation, debt dependence, speculation, and financial instability.
This is the second in the series of four collections of essays in which Paul M. Sweezy and Harry Magdoff, the editors of Monthly Review, set out as it took place the development of U.S. and global capitalism from the late 1960s to the “financial explosion” age of the early 1990s and after.
This is the first of the series of four collections of essays in which Paul M. Sweezy and Harry Magdoff, the editors of Monthly Review, chronicled, as it was taking place, the development of U.S. and global capitalism from the end of its “golden age” in the late 1960s to the full onset of the financial explosion of the early 1990s and after.