American Empire and the Political Economy of Global Finance by Leo Panitch, Martijn Konings (eds.)

By Leo Panitch, Martijn Konings (eds.)

In a full of life critique of the way foreign and comparative political financial system misjudge the connection among international markets and states, this publication demonstrates the principal position of the yank kingdom in present day international of globalized finance. The participants put aside conventional emphases on army intervention, taking a look as a substitute to economics.

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Indeed, Volcker would later say that ‘the most important single action of the administration in helping the anti-inflation fight was defeating the air traffic controllers strike’ (quoted in Taylor 1995: 778). It was on this basis that the American state regained the confidence of Wall Street and financial markets more generally. This proved pivotal to the reconstitution of the American empire by unleashing the new form of social rule subsequently labelled ‘neoliberalism’ – promoting the expansion of markets and using their discipline to remove the barriers to accumulation that earlier democratic gains had achieved.

10 Robert Rubin, the future Secretary of the US Treasury who joined Goldman Sachs in 1965, recalls one of the old guard telling him in the early 1970s ‘that we junior partners would be unlikely to ever do as well financially as the older partners had because there would never be another period as good as the one that had just passed’ (Rubin 2003: 81). In the new dollar-centred international financial system the relationship of the rest of the world, and especially of Europe, to American finance could not be limited for very long to borrowing through financial services located in New York.

Thus when the Federal Reserve acted as it did in 1979–82 to show the imperium’s own determination to win the confidence of the financial markets through the radical use of monetary policy, it was endorsing the inclination of European governments. They had been trying to cope with inflation in their own economies by shifting away from Keynesianism and the commitment to full employment, since holding on to these seemed bound to take them in a much more socialist direction than they wanted to go. With global capitalism structured around the dollar as the international currency, and instability of the dollar creating instability everywhere else, the focus was on whether the American state could in fact maintain the value of the dollar in the face of domestic pressures, and thus meet its imperial responsibilities.

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