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Monthly Review Volume 68, Number 10 (March 2017)

March 2017 (Volume 68, Number 10)

U.S. economic, military, and financial dominance have been ebbing for decades, leaving the United States in the position of a wounded mastodon within the world at large, a threat to all around it. Washington has repeatedly tried with very limited success to reverse this slide in its hegemonic role by means of geopolitical expansion, aimed at increasing its “strategic assets” across the globe. The result has been a constantly expanding theatre of global conflict.… | more…

Monthly Review Volume 68, Number 9 (February 2017)

February 2017 (Volume 68, Number 9)

Notes from the Editors

For those attuned to the most fashionable trends in mainstream discourse on climate change, it is clear that “resilience” is now in, and “sustainability” is out.… The concept of resilience, while adopted by some progressive thinkers and organizations, is nonetheless being rapidly incorporated into a survival-of-the-most-resilient philosophy in which poor nations, and indeed exploited and dispossessed people everywhere, are told they must simply become more “resilient” in order to survive—but in a world in which such dynamic adaptability is available mainly to the rich, who enjoy monopolies of capital, resources, and technology.… | more…

Trump Digs Coal

Trump and Climate Catastrophe

It would be wrong…to see the new administration as simply a cabal of ignoramuses, beginning with the climate-change-denier-in-chief himself. Rather, their efforts to undermine even modest regulations and to discredit sound science are necessary parts of an attempt by carbon capital to proceed undeterred with burning of fossil fuels, as if this did not constitute a dire threat to the human species.… Today virulent anti-environmentalism, tied to a broader neo-fascist politics linked to white supremacy, is the backfire being ignited against both efforts to combat climate change and the larger movement for social and environmental justice.… | more…

Barclays Forex Scandal

The Tyranny of Monopoly-Finance Capital

A Chinese Perspective

Since the 1980s, economic growth in the core capitalist countries has been driven by an enormous expansion of financial capital, accompanied by steady deindustrialization. In recent years, the monopoly power of this financial capital has displayed increasingly tyrannical characteristics: it depends for its continued growth on ever-increasing indebtedness and dependence in developing nations, widening the divide between rich and poor and ultimately fostering state violence that serves to suppress popular resistance.… [Today,] military and monetary strength work together to profit from inequality and instability in emerging economies.… | more…

PT Party Protest Against Rousseff's Impeachment

The Brazilian Crisis

Corruption, Neoliberalism, and the Primary Sector

In discussing the Brazilian situation, it is easy to focus on the dramas of individual politicians and institutions. But to look only at this level of the crisis is to ignore the deeper economic conditions that have driven the country’s politics to the edge.… The deeper contradiction, however, lies with the natural-resource economy, in which government revenue and social spending require royalties that are controlled by a small, unaccountable elite…. The left’s only viable response…is to demand a radical restructuring of the primary sector and a reinvigorated opposition to neoliberalism.… | more…

A Foodie's Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat

A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism: Understanding the Political Economy of What We Eat

Forthcoming in October 2017

Capitalism drives our global food system. Everyone who wants to end hunger, who wants to eat good, clean, healthy food, needs to understand capitalism. This book will help do that. In his latest book, Eric Holt-Giménez takes on the social, environmental, and economic crises of the capitalist mode of food production. Drawing from classical and modern analyses, A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism introduces the reader to the history of our food system and to the basics of capitalism. In straightforward prose, Holt-Giménez explains the political economics of why—even as local, organic, and gourmet food have spread around the world—billions go hungry in the midst of abundance; why obesity is a global epidemic; and why land-grabbing, global warming, and environmental pollution are increasing.… | more…

One Belt, One Road Map

One Belt, One Road

China's Strategy for a New Global Financial Order

In late 2013, Chinese premier Xi Jinping announced a pair of new development and trade initiatives for China and the surrounding region: the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “Twenty-First-Century Maritime Silk Road,” together known as One Belt, One Road (OBOR). Along with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the OBOR policies represent an ambitious spatial expansion of Chinese state capitalism, driven by an excess of industrial production capacity, as well as by emerging financial capital interests. The Chinese government has publicly stressed the lessons of the 1930s overcapacity crisis in the West that precipitated the Second World War, and promoted these new initiatives in the name of “peaceful development.” Nevertheless, the turn to OBOR suggests a regional scenario broadly similar to that in Europe between the end of the nineteenth century and the years before the First World War, when strong nations jostled one another for industrial and military dominance.… | more…

Chinase Marxism

A Theory of China’s ‘Miracle’

Eight Principles of Contemporary Chinese Political Economy

China’s rapid economic development in recent years is often characterized as “miraculous.” Talk of a “Beijing Consensus” or “China model” has become commonplace in academic debates. But as we have written elsewhere, “theoretical problems have started to emerge with regards to the very existence, content, and prospects of the China model.” The key question, then, is what kind of economic theory and strategy underpin this “miracle.”… [W]e hold that the country’s major recent developmental gains are the achievements of theoretical advances in political economy, originating in China itself, while the main problems that have accompanied China’s development reflect the damaging influence of Western neoliberalism.… We hope to clarify the official theoretical model behind China’s economic “miracle,” using the terms and concepts prevalent in China today.… | more…

Monthly Review Volume 68, Number 7 (December 2016)

December 2016 (Volume 68, Number 7)

In October 2016, the Sveriges Riksbank (Swedish Central Bank) Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel—commonly but incorrectly called the Nobel Prize in Economics—was awarded to two European-born, U.S.-based economists, Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström, for their work on contracts related to executive pay. Hart and Holmström were lauded for having theorized what was thought to be the optimal mix of risk and incentives in pay packages for corporate executives, thereby determining the appropriate combination of basic salary, bonuses, and share options. In other words, they received the Riksbank Nobel Memorial Prize for their efforts to rationalize the exorbitant paychecks of CEOs and other corporate leaders—a direct service to big business.… | more…

What is the TPP?

The Rhetoric and Reality of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

A View from China

Since announcing its foreign policy “pivot to Asia” shortly after the election of Barack Obama, the United States has made extensive use of its institutional and discursive power to encourage denationalization among developing countries whose economies chiefly rely on manufacturing and trade—part of its global strategic goal of expanding the hegemony of finance capital at the lowest possible cost. The development of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) is a case in point. This article analyzes the TPP’s strategy in targeting China, pointing out that the TPP is a battle for the terms of economic development and discourse in the twenty-first century, as well as an illustration of the ideology of technocracy and soft power. Lastly, we criticize the TPP’s erosion of economic sovereignty, which would effectively relegate the economies of developing countries to a form of semi-colonial extraterritoriality.… | more…

The American War in Vietnam: Crime or Commemoration?

Lessons from the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War was an example of imperial aggression.… Imperialism ultimately enriches the home country’s dominant class. The process involves “unspeakable repression and state terror,” and must rely repeatedly “upon armed coercion and repression.” The ultimate aim of modern U.S. imperialism is “to make the world safe” for multinational corporations.… U.S. imperial actions in Vietnam and elsewhere are often described as reflecting “national interests,” “national security,” or “national defense.” Endless U.S. wars and regime changes, however, actually represent the class interests of the powerful who own and govern the country. Noam Chomsky argues that if one wishes to understand imperial wars, therefore, “it is a good idea to begin by investigating the domestic social structure. Who sets foreign policy? What interest do these people represent? What is the domestic source of their power?”… | more…