Latin America and Global Capitalism


Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective
William I. Robinson
2008, Johns Hopkins University Press
412 pages, hardback

TRADITIONAL Marxists suggest that imperialism consists in the economic exploitation of one region or group by another, attributing a “super-imperialist” role to the US as the world’s most powerful capitalist economy. By contrast, William Robinson contributes to a range of positions that take globalisation as their context, describing imperialism as the result of a new, decentred supranational capitalist order that may draw upon US power but in which the US is only one player alongside transnational capital. By this argument, US interventions are not a departure from capitalist globalization, but a response to its crisis. Robinson’s influential model bears some similarity to dependency theory by highlighting internal changes in the balance of power between factions in society and the emergence of new transnational factions and new classes as a result of economic restructuring. It is an attractive argument, given declining US power alongside the rise of the trans-Latins. At the end of the day, his work suggests, what we are witnessing is merely the contemporary face of an age-old struggle between capital and the rest that has long held sway. – GO’T

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