BOOK REVIEW/Seth Sandronsky
Martin Hart-Landsberg thinks big. His book Capitalist Globalization: Consequences, Resistance, and Alternatives (Monthly Review Press, 2013) is proof of that.
A world economy of, by, and for transnational corporations (TNCs) is a problem. So what?
The author’s answer is clear. TNC-led production flows from the imperatives of businesses to produce goods and services at lower prices than rivals do. A theme throughout his book documents the interests of TNCs to the detriment of working majorities experiencing declines in their living standards.
China and the US are the nation-states that economically anchor the global system. The author illuminates this situation well.
To this end, he follows the money. This method casts light where smoke obscures sight.
Hart-Landsberg clarifies the capitalist integration of China and East Asia, especially South Korea, into the world system of TNC investment and trade. He outlines the origins, and picks up where elites and some progressive critics stateside end.
Spoiler alert: an elite class that spans borders in partnership with TNCs gain from export-led hi-tech growth. He documents the different and dreary outcomes for the vast bulk of the workers.
The fallacy of markets free from the hand of government melts under the author’s critical focus. He takes to task, for instance, the language of globalization, so-called “free-trade.”
This language drips inaccuracy. In fact, Hart-Landsberg shows the basic lack of freedom in flows of capital and labor.
His powerful analysis of the US-Korea free trade agreement helps readers to answer a simple query. Why do pro-capitalist governments shroud such pacts in secrecy?
The answer makes sense. The public loses its power over TNC accountability when secrecy rules their dealings.
Labor in both nations lacks mobility. Capital in Korea and the US is abundantly mobile…