Globalization or Empire?

Globalization or Empire?

Globalization or Empire?

Globalization or Empire?

Synopsis

In this smart and concise examination of the trends driving contemporary globalization, Jan Nederveen Pieterse argues that the United States' pursuit of global primacy is based upon a complex melding of neoliberal economics and hegemonic politics. Do alternate capitalisms offer viable alternatives to the American way? Globalization or Empire?looks at globalization with acuity and thoughtfulness and uncovers its underlying dramas.

Excerpt

Through the 1990s, the leading topic of debate in social science and policy was globalization. The theme emerging in the 2000s is imperialism. The obvious question is how does globalization relate to empire? Should we consider imperialism as a phase or a modality of globalization, or as a fundamentally different dynamic? In my view globalization is a dynamic of far greater moment and historical duration than empire. Globalization refers to the long-term historical trend of greater worldwide interconnectedness; imperial episodes are part of this trend, so empire is part of globalization. Globalization also serves as a flag word for concurrent changes that unfold amid unequal relations of power, and imperialism is but one form that unequal power relations take. Empires come and go, globalization continues.

But if globalization stays, the question is what kind of globalization? American capitalism has played a large part in shaping contemporary globalization in its own image, as neoliberal globalization, and this impact may be more significant than specific imperial interventions. To understand the present we must revisit the past and to understand empire we must revisit globalization. The most recent globalization project, neoliberal globalization, is the deluxe model of Pax Americana that combined economic unilateralism with political multilateralism.

Is the recent belligerent unilateralism in American policy just an extension of past policies or a fundamental change of dynamics? It's intriguing that imperialism should make a comeback in the twenty-first century.

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