Marxist views

• The expected requirement for this assignment is as follows: a brilliant piece of work outstanding quality and innovation. Has total control of all relevant material. Shows outstanding insight and an ability to structure the synthesis material. Work of the highest order, the candidate can expect to achieve no more. Expression/style/ grammar outstanding. Clear evidence of critical thinking and evaluation

Globalisation and the state. Discuss
Email correspondence with lecturer
‘Globalisation and the state. Discuss’

In other words: ‘What is the relationship between globalisation and the state?’

Sub-questions might be as follows: What is globalisation/how can we understand globalisation? What is the state/how can we understand the state? And, having answered those questions, what is the relationship between globalisation and the state? (i.e., the essay question)

On the second question, how can we understand the state, recall Vass’ slide 4 from the lecture this week titled ‘Definition of the state’. This answers this second question from different theoretical perspectives.

For the Marxist ‘internationalisation of the state’ perspective:

The shift from international trade to integrated transnational production patterns and “finance capital” has led to a convergence of interests among transnationally oriented capitals, creating a “transnational business class” that transcends national boundaries. It simultaneously renders national states responsive to transnational class interests as “transmission belts” (Cox 1992; van der Pijl 1998), coordinating and integrating inter-state policies.

This is describing the relationship between globalisation and the state (states as responsive to transnational (capitalist) class interests as “transmission belts”, coordinating and integrating inter-state policies).

From another Marxist ‘global state’ perspective:

“Economic globalisation has its counterpart in transnational class formation and in the emergence of a transnational state … which has been brought into existence to function as the collective authority for a global ruling class” (Robinson 2002, 210).

Again this is describing the relationship between globalisation and the state (i.e., the emergence of a transnational (or global) state).

From another Marxist perspective (Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin). Vass mentioned their latest book ‘The Making of Global Capitalism’. I have attached the book. The preface states:

This book is about globalisation and the state. It shows that the spread of capitalist markets, values and social relationships around the world, far from being an inevitable outcome of inherently expansionist economic tendencies, has depended on the agency of states – and of one state in particular: America… This book is devoted to understanding how it came to be that the US state developed the interest and capacity to superintend the making of global capitalism… In this imperial state, the Pentagon and CIA have been much less important to the process of capitalist globalisation that the US Treasury and Federal Reserve. This is so not just in terms of sponsoring the penetration and emulation of US economic practices abroad, but much more generally in terms of promoting free capital movements and free trade (on the one hand), while (on the other) trying to contain the international economic crises a global capitalism spawns.

This describes the relationship between the US state and (capitalist) globalisation (or global capitalism).

So here are three different Marxist perspectives on the relationship between globalisation and the state. Read the two page thing I gave you carefully and you will discover other Marxist perspectives. So perhaps the easist way to write the essay is to base your argument on one of these Marxist perspectives (one of the perspectives in the two page thing) based on the readings and to make your argument in part in contra-distinction to the other Marxist perspectives (in the two-pager).

Lecture notes on assignment

• Rule No 1: Formulate the research question
• Rule No 2: Find the relevant literature (it’s massive, so you need to be selective. Who wrote on state and globalization? Do a bit of research….Here I have one example: http://ec.europa.eu/education/jean-monnet/doc/confglobal06/contribution_sassen.pdf)
• Rule No 3 (after reading at least 5-6 articles and book chapters relevant to your subject): Make up your mind! Which school of thought are you going to follow? The liberal, the realist or the critical/Marxisant ?
• Rule No 4: you concentrate on your “favourite” literature and you now are in a position to have a “thesis”, and you read as many sources as you can.
• Rule No 5: Once you finish reading/researching, you begin writing up
• You NEVER start from writing the Introduction! Just start writing and analysing critically what you’ve read aiming at demonstrating your thesis. This is the main body of your essay (about 1,500 words)

 

 

• Rule No 6: Once you finish writing, then you write Introduction & Conclusion
• Rule No 6: Make sure that your Introduction says what you’re going to do, how you’re going to do it and what your thesis is. Make sure that your Conclusion summarises what you did and repeats the main thesis/argument developed in your analysis. Introduction and Conclusion must converge.
Essay help handout

Teschke, Benno (2008) Marxism. In: The Oxford Handbook of International Relations. The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science . Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 163-187. Docklands Library Main Collection 327 OXF

6 Globalization, Empire, and Neoimperialism

Widespread agreement among Marxists and non-Marxists on the intensifying reality of “globalization” since the late 1970s, compounded by the post-11 September US—American “unilateralist turn,” have thrown into sharp relief the inadequacy of notions of classical sovereignty and the “Westphalian system” to capture the contemporary reconfiguration between the national and the international/global. The relative decline, if not the very end, of the politically autonomous nation state has generated a proliferation of alternative but competing concepts on a scale from the internationalization of the state, via the global state, to empire and neoimperialism (for a Marxist critique of mainstream globalization theory, see Rosenberg 2000; 2005).

A dominant tendency assumes a transition from the national—international to the global, first conceptualized as “the internationalisation of the state” (Palloix 1977). The shift from international trade to integrated transnational production patterns and “finance capital” has led to a convergence of interests among transnationally oriented capitals, creating a “transnational business class” that transcends national boundaries. It simultaneously renders national states responsive to transnational class interests as “transmission belts” (Cox 1992; van der Pijl 1998), coordinating and integrating inter-state policies. This line of argument is reinforced and developed by William Robinson’s concept (2002; 2004) of “global state formation.” Locating the internationalization of the state in the postwar period, post-Bretton Woods economic globalization has brought about the subordination of the nation state to international institutions, as national bourgeoisies are metamorphosing into local (national) contingents of an emergent transnational bourgeoisie, eclipsing national rivalries. “Economic globalisation has its counterpart in transnational class formation and in the emergence of a transnational state … which has been brought into existence to function as the collective authority for a global ruling class” (Robinson 2002, 210). This argument is further radicalized by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s notion of “empire.” “Along with the global market and global circuits of production has emerged a global order, a new logic and structure of rule—in short, a new form of sovereignty.” Drawing on Michel Foucault’s desubjectified notion of power, empire is conceived as a “decenteredand deterritorializingapparatus of rule” that “realize[s] … a properly capitalist order” in which even “the United States does not … form the center of an imperialist project ” (Hardt and Negri 2000 xi, xii, 9, xiii–xiv, emphasis in original; for critiques, see Balakrishnan 2003; Bromley 2003).

Underlying these strong globalization theses is a profound economic functionalism and instrumentalism, couched into a teleological narrative, which imputes that global structures of political rule, while previously territorially segmented, have now been restructured, aligned, and rescaled—irresistibly and irreversibly, it is often argued—to complement the universalistic potentials inherent in the unfolding of capital. Yet, the instrumentalist reduction of state orientations to transnational elites or transnationally oriented class fractions (rather than to diverse balances of class forces) glosses over regional specificities in state/class articulations and their often competing foreign-policy projects. These disparities continue to reproduce contradictions and countervailing forces in capitalist interstate relations that any totalizing notion of “empire” or “global state” obliterates. A coherent aggregation of class interests and political authority at the global level, comparable to the institutional capacities of the nation state, is hard to detect.

More specifically, the directive role—in fact, the overwhelming organizing agency—of the United States has been underspecified in these accounts. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin argue that, instead of a multilateral system of global governance or a global state, the current geopolitical moment is marked by a specifically American informal empire that, while formally maintaining plural sovereignties, has suspended the balance of power and moved beyond inter-imperialist rivalries to organize capitalism on a global scale (Panitch and Gindin 2003). Similarly, Peter Gowan (1999; 2006) and Perry Anderson (2002, 20–1) reject the argument that post- cold war US national interests can be straightforwardly equated with or extended to encompass the interests of transnational capital—a merger of capitalists of all countries that would herald a universal capitalist empire or, alternatively, a benign US hegemony. According to Gowan (2006, 216), the United States is a “sui generis hegemon,” incomparably more powerful than its predecessors and possessing economic and politico-military strengths (unipolar core, unchallenged US predominance in intra-core relations, overwhelming regime-making capacities, and feedback mechanisms for cycle-breaking) that transcend the vocabulary of hegemony and “universal capitalist empire,” calling for its appellation as an “American world empire.” Gowan and Anderson emphasize the neo-mercantilist dimension of US- led global restructuring that combines consensual claims to universality with the promotion of specific coercion-backed national economic and strategic interests. In this sense, while the United States is less than a global state, it has effectively resolved the coordination problem of inter-state anarchy among multiple capitalist centers of power—not by fabricating consent, but by sheer geopolitical weight. American “exceptionalism” transcends the original dichotomous conceptions of either Lenin’s inter-imperialist rivalry or Kautsky’s ultra-imperialism.

In contrast to strong “globalists,” the counter-claim regarding the persistence of the states system runs the opposite danger of overinvesting the national form with a durability that leaves the real changes in the restructuring of political territoriality unaccounted for. Ellen Wood suggests that globalization and the states system have entered into a mutually reinforcing relationship, since global capital accumulation requires a reliable system of states as the adequate form for protecting and policing capitalist social property relations. “The political form of globalization is not a global state but a global system of multiple states” (Wood 2003, 6). US imperial hegemony is therefore primarily defined as economic imperialism, working through a reliable system of plural capitalist states. The American interstate empire is, paradoxically, “the empire of capital.” Since coercion is necessary only at the point of implanting capitalist property relations and state structures in pre-capitalist locales and for the policing of market-sustaining institutions once capitalist markets and sovereignty are established, inter-imperial rivalry is eclipsed. In this sense, the US imperial turn, is objectless—“surplus imperialism.” This position is premised on her understanding of capitalism as a social relation in which all economic actors are market dependent, so that economic power is detached from political power, allowing for capitalist expansion across borders without the political subjugation of the penetrated state—economic imperialism. This conception defines, similar to world-systems theory, the multi-state system in terms functional to the global reproduction of capitalism, attributes to unevenness a politico-territorial blocking character, which implies a fixed multi-territorial landscape as the adequate geopolitical carapace of capitalism, and fails to offer either a theoretical derivation or a historical specification of the conditions under which capitalist class relations took shape, politically, in the form of multiple and competing sovereign states. Because of this depoliticized reading of the nature of “economic imperialism,” the current US military—political imperial turn is not theorized as a positive manifestation of specific sociopolitical dynamics within the United States, but, given the “systemic imperatives” of economic capitalist accumulation, is somehow surplus to requirement.

David Harvey, finally, suggests a reading of the neoliberal “new imperialism” grounded in the fall of profitability due to overaccumulation and the ensuing problems of capital accumulation since the 1960s. Before the onset of the long downturn, the United States followed a hegemonic project that through the international framework established at Bretton Woods was designed “to coordinate growth between the advanced capitalist powers” and “to bring capitalist-style economic development to the rest of the non-communist world” (Harvey 2003, 54 –5). Consent prevailed over coercion. Post-1973, American hegemony was restructured around a much more aggressive neoliberalization project that had run its course by the turn of the millennium, leaving coercion as the only viable exit option to maintain US primacy, especially through direct territorial control of the oil spigot. Inter-imperial rivalries are optional again. Theoretically, this account draws on two distinct, competing, and separate logics—a “territorial logic of power,” pursued by state managers, and a transnational “capitalist logic of power,” pursued by firms, that are irreducible to each other but intersect in variable ways (Harvey 2003, 26–30). There are, however, two conflicting readings of the “two logics” in Harvey. One, drawing on Hannah Arendt’s definition of imperialism, suggests that unlimited capital accumulation functionally requires a geographically coextensive sphere of direct politico-territorial control, assuming compatibility if not identity of interests between state and capital; the other suggests two separate and conflicting logics between state managers and capitalists that might contradict each other. The implication is that, if the first reading holds, much of US postwar foreign policy cannot be accounted for; if the second reading holds, then the current Afghanistan—Iraq fiasco—the “territorial logic”—is beyond an explanation in terms of capitalist interests. In any case, the theoretical ascription of one generic rationality of permanent politico-territorial (imperial) accumulation to state managers is as historically unwarranted and fraught with dangers of reification (constituting also an unnecessary relapse into realist verities), as the ascription of one generic rationality of transnational capital accumulation to capitalists. The dualistic conception of power stands in stark tension with the dialectical approach that Harvey also champions.

ANDERSON, P. 2002. Force and consent. New Left Review , 17: 5–30. e-journal
BALAKRISHNAN, G. (ed.) 2003. Debating Empire. London: Verso. Docklands Library Main Collection 335 DEB
BROMLEY , S. 2003. Reflections on Empire, Imperialism and US Hegemony. Historical Materialism, 11: 17–68. e-journal
COX, R. 1992.Global perestroika. Pp. 26–43 in Socialist Register 1992 , ed. R. Miliband and L. Panitch. London: Merlin Press. http://socialistregister.com/index.php/srv/article/view/5606/2504#.Ulpx0tu-ZWN or Docklands Library Main Collection 320.531 SOC
GOWAN, P. 1999. The Global Gamble: Washington’s Faustian Bid for World Dominance . London: Verso. http://www.marxsite.com/Gowan_DollarWallStreetRegime.pdf
GOWAN, P. 2006. Contemporary intracore relations and world-systems theory.http://www.jwsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/jwsr-v10n2gs-gowan.pdf
HARDT, M. and NEGRI, A. 2000.Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Docklands Library Main Collection 325.320904 HAR or Stratford Library Main Collection 325.320904 HAR
HARVEY , D. 2003. The New Imperialism . Oxford: OUP. e-book or Docklands Library Main Collection 320.97309 HAR
or HARVEY , D. 2004. The ‘New’ Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession. pp.63-87 in Socialist Register 2004 , ed. L. Panitch and C. Leys. London: Merlin Press. Docklands Library Main Collection 325.32 THE
PALLOIX, C. 1977. The self-expansion of capital on a world scale. Review of Radical Political Economics , 9: 3–17. e-journal
PANITCH, L. and GINDIN, S. 2003. Global capitalism and American empire. pp. 1–42 in Socialist Register 2004 , ed. L. Panitch and C. Leys. London: Merlin Press. Docklands Library Main Collection 325.32 THE
ROBINSON, W. I. 2002.Capitalist globalization and the transnationalization of the state.pp. 210–29 in Historical Materialism and Globalization, ed. M. Rupert and H. Smith. London: Routledge. Docklands Library Main Collection 335.4119 HIS
ROBINSON, W. I. 2004. A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
or ROBINSON, W. I. 2001. Social theory and globalisation: The rise of a transnational state. Theory and Society, 3(2): 157-200. e-journal
ROSENBERG, J. 2000. The Follies of Globalisation Theory: Polemical Essays. London: Verso. Docklands Library Main Collection 327.101 ROS
ROSENBERG, J. 2005. Globalization theory: a post mortem. International Politics , 42: 2–74. http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ip/journal/v42/n1/pdf/8800098a.pdf
VAN DER PIJL , K. 1998. Transnational Classes and International Relations . London: Routledge. Docklands Library Main Collection 337 PIJ
WOOD, E. M. 2003. Empire of Capital . London: Verso. Docklands Library Main Collection 330.122 WOO

 
Five Marxist answers to the essay question (based on BennoTeschke 2008)

‘Globalisation and the state. Discuss.’ In other words: What is the relationship between globalisation and the state?

Marxist answer 1: The ‘internationalisation of the state’:
“The shift from international trade to integrated transnational production patterns and ‘finance capital’ has led to a convergence of interests among transnationally oriented capitals, creating a ‘transnational business class’ that transcends national boundaries. It simultaneously renders national states responsive to transnational class interests as ‘transmission belts’ (Cox 1992; van der Pijl 1998), coordinating and integrating inter-state policies” (Teschke 2008: 281).

Marxist answer 2: William Robinson’s concept (2002; 2004) of ‘global state formation’:
“Post-Bretton Woods economic globalization has brought about the subordination of the nation state to international institutions, as national bourgeoisies are metamorphosing into local (national) contingents of an emergent transnational bourgeoisie, eclipsing national rivalries. ‘Economic globalisation has its counterpart in transnational class formation and in the emergence of a transnational state … which has been brought into existence to function as the collective authority for a global ruling class’ (Robinson 2002, 210)” (Teschke 2008: 281).

Marxist answer 3: Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s notion of ‘empire’:
“‘Along with the global market and global circuits of production has emerged a global order, a new logic and structure of rule—in short, a new form of sovereignty’… [E]mpire is conceived as a ‘decenteredand deterritorializingapparatus of rule’ that ‘realize[s] … a properly capitalist order’ in which even ‘the United States does not … form the center of an imperialist project ‘ (Hardt and Negri 2000 xi, xii, 9, xiii–xiv, emphasis in original)” (Teschke 2008: 281).

Marxist answer 4: Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin’s American empire:
“This book is about globalisation and the state. It shows that the spread of capitalist markets, values and social relationships around the world, far from being an inevitable outcome of inherently expansionist economic tendencies, has depended on the agency of states – and of one state in particular: America… This book is devoted to understanding how it came to be that the US state developed the interest and capacity to superintend the making of global capitalism… In this imperial state, the Pentagon and CIA have been much less important to the process of capitalist globalisation that the US Treasury and Federal Reserve. This is so not just in terms of sponsoring the penetration and emulation of US economic practices abroad, but much more generally in terms of promoting free capital movements and free trade (on the one hand), while (on the other) trying to contain the international economic crises a global capitalism spawns” (Panitch and Gindin 2012: Preface).

Marxist answer 5: Ellen Meiksins Wood’s ‘Empire of Capital’:
“Ellen Wood suggests that globalization and the states system have entered into a mutually reinforcing relationship, since global capital accumulation requires a reliable system of states as the adequate form for protecting and policing capitalist social property relations. ‘The political form of globalization is not a global state but a global system of multiple states’ (Wood 2003, 6)” (Teschke 2008: 282-3).
Readings
COX, R. 1992.Global perestroika. Pp. 26–43 in Socialist Register 1992 , ed. R. Miliband and L. Panitch. London: Merlin Press. http://socialistregister.com/index.php/srv/article/view/5606/2504#.Ulpx0tu-ZWN or Docklands Library Main Collection 320.531 SOC
HARDT, M. and NEGRI, A. 2000.Empire. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Docklands Library Main Collection 325.320904 HAR or Stratford Library Main Collection 325.320904 HAR
PALLOIX, C. 1977. The self-expansion of capital on a world scale. Review of Radical Political Economics , 9: 3–17. e-journal
PANITCH, L. and GINDIN, S. 2003. Global capitalism and American empire. pp. 1–42 in Socialist Register 2004 , ed. L. Panitch and C. Leys. London: Merlin Press. Docklands Library Main Collection 325.32 THE
PANITCH, L. and GINDIN, S. 2012. The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire. London: Verso. Docklands Library Main Collection 330.122097 PAN, or a short article on the book: http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/the_state_and_the_making_of_global_capitalism
ROBINSON, W. I. 2001. Social theory and globalisation: The rise of a transnational state. Theory and Society, 3(2): 157-200. e-journal
ROBINSON, W. I. 2002.Capitalist globalization and the transnationalization of the state.pp. 210–29 in Historical Materialism and Globalization, ed. M. Rupert and H. Smith. London: Routledge. Docklands Library Main Collection 335.4119 HIS
ROBINSON, W. I. 2004. A Theory of Global Capitalism: Production, Class, and State in a Transnational World . Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
VAN DER PIJL , K. 1998. Transnational Classes and International Relations . London: Routledge. Docklands Library Main Collection 337 PIJ
WOOD, E. M. 2003. Empire of Capital . London: Verso. Docklands Library Main Collection 330.122 WOO

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