Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Global Giants: American Empire and Transnational Capital — Maximilian C. Forte

Review of Giants: The Global Power Elite by Peter Phillips (Introduction by William I. Robinson). New York: Seven Stories Press, 2018. LCCN 2018017493; ISBN 9781609808716 (pbk.); ISBN 9781609808723 (ebook); 353 pps.
Giants: The Global Power Elite, by Peter M. Phillips, Professor of Political Sociology at Sonoma State University, opens with a stated intention of following in the tradition C. Wright Mills’ The Power Elite. This book is clearly meant to be a contemporary update and expansion of Mills’ work, such that the “power elite” now becomes the global power elite (GPE) in Phillips’ volume—and central to the idea of a global power elite is the transnational capitalist class that was at the core of the theorization of Leslie Sklair. One of the most important features of this book, in my view, is that it overcomes the unproductive dichotomy that continues to silently inform many academic and political debates on this question: is the contemporary world order one dominated by US imperialism or transnational capital? Phillips’ answer is productive (even if I do not entirely agree): transnational capital has acquired US power and uses the power of the US state to further its aims, protect its interests, and enforce its agenda. Where I differ, the difference is a relatively slight matter of emphasis: Phillips’ model is largely correct, but it is also important to remember that the wealthiest, most numerous, and most powerful membership of the “transnational” capitalist class is in fact American.
This is the basis of neoliberalism, as neo-imperialism and neo-colonialism regarding the periphery and neo-feudalism in relation to the core, as a socio-political theory that is grounded in the dominance of economic liberalism understood as contemporary capitalism over social liberalism (equality before the law) and political liberalism (democracy as governance of, by and for the people.
The centrepiece of this work is its detailed exposition of the 389 individuals who constitute the core of “the policy planning nongovernmental networks that manage, facilitate, and protect the continued concentration of global capital” (p. 10).
Putting names and faces on the abstractions.

Zero Anthropology
Global Giants: American Empire and Transnational Capital
Maximilian C. Forte

1 comment:

Bob said...

Time to bring these 389 criminals to justice!