ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On Economic Globalisation, Neo-liberalism and the Nature of the Period

For long, the term "imperialism" was popular to denote a world political order embodying systemic relations of domination with Washington at the centre. That thesis is no longer considered valid. Washington itself is victim to a global capitalist order and is mired in an apparently insoluble economic crisis. Here are some notes for discussion on an alternative approach to characterising the world order.

The charge of “imperialism” has served the Left for a very long time as a supreme accusation against the political order of the world. The term implies not that strong states invariably try to bully weaker ones, nor that “imperialism” is just a fancy name for Washington, but that there is a world political order embodying systemic relations of domination. However, while once there might have been relatively robust theoretical underpinnings to this approach (in Lenin’s popularisation of the combination of Hobson and Hilferding),1 the thesis has long since been shown to be doubtful.2 On the other hand, imperialism’s opposite, “national self-determination”, seems equally of doubtful validity in conditions of economic globalisation. Indeed, these theoretical difficulties become even sharper when it is recognised that Washington, the supposed global hegemon, is itself trapped in an apparently insoluble crisis in the global economic order – the political agenda comes apart from the economic. What follows are some notes for discussion on an alternative approach to characterising the world order.

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