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[Cross-posted from New Books in World Affairs] Two Canadian socialist thinkers have published a new book on the successes and failures, the crises, contradictions and conflicts in present-day capitalism. In The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (Verso, 2013) , Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin trace the evolution of the international capitalist system over the last century. (Panitch is a professor of political science at Toronto’s York University while Gindin holds the Packer Chair in Social Justice at York.)

They argue that today’s global capitalism would not have been possible without American leadership especially after the two World Wars and that the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve were more crucial in extending and maintaining American power than the Pentagon or the CIA.

The U.S. capitalist empire is an “informal” one, they write, in which Americans set the terms for international trade and investment in partnership with other sovereign, but less powerful states. Panitch and Gindin also disagree with those who contend that China is set to replace the U.S. as the world’s economic superpower. They write that China does not have the institutional capacity to manage the crisis-prone, global capitalist system — a burden that, for the foreseeable future, will continue to be carried by the American empire.

The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire won the 2013 Deutscher Prize awarded for books which exemplify “the best and most innovative new writing in or about the Marxist tradition.”

The New Books Network spoke with co-author Leo Panitch during his recent visit to Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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