Recent in New Left Review

Hung Ho-fung; “America’s Head Servant? The PRC’s Dilemma in the Global Crisis” Read (here)

Despite all the talk of China’s capacity to destroy the dollar’s reserve-currency status and construct a new global financial order, the PRC and its neighbours have few choices in the short term other than to sustain American economic dominance by extending more credit.

In what follows, I will trace the historical and social origins of the deepening dependence of China and East Asia on the consumer markets of the global North as the source of their growth, and on us financial vehicles as the store of value for their savings. I then assess the longer-term possibilities for ending this dependence, arguing that, to create a more autonomous economic order in Asia, China would have to transform an export-oriented growth model…into one driven by domestic consumption, through a large-scale redistribution of income to the rural-agricultural sector. This will not be possible, however, without breaking the coastal urban elite’s grip on power.

Tom Reifer; “Capital’s Cartographer: Giovanni Arrighi: 1937–2009” Read (here)

On Arrighi contributions to the study political geography Reifer writes;

Along with Immanuel Wallerstein and the late Terence Hopkins, Arrighi was one of the originators and foremost proponents of the world-systems analysis of European domination, global capitalism, world income inequalities and ‘development’. [2] The world-systems perspective itself—challenging the dominance of post-war modernization theory—came out of the movements of the 1960s and brought together a fruitful synthesis of Marxism, Third World radicalism and critical currents in social science, from the work of the French Annales geohistorians to that of the German historical school.

Reifer also suggests some obvious areas of further scholarship based on Arrighi’s work.

Though it has not been done to date, one can imagine teasing out a series of geohistorical linkages between Marx’s, Wallerstein’s, Braudel’s and Arrighi’s work on the ‘top level of world-trade’ with the work of Barrington Moore, Brenner and others on agricultural capitalism, relating these developments in an original synthesis. The idea here would be to demonstrate more fully—including through building on Wallerstein’s classic treatment of these issues in The Modern World-System and through a re-reading of both the ‘Brenner debate’ and the ‘non-debates’ of the 1970s—how capitalist agriculture, urbanization and what Arrighi calls a ‘capitalist system of statemaking and warmaking’ are all intimately entwined in the world-historical origins of capitalist development. [22]


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