The Empire of Capital




vi+153 pages

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In this era of \'globalization\', we hear a great deal about a \'new imperialism\', the hegemony of global capital and its chief enforcer, the US. Today, with the US promising an endless \'war against terrorism\' and a policy of \'preemptive defence\', this notion seems more plausible than ever. But what does imperialism mean in the absence of colonial conquest and direct imperial rule?

In this lucid and lively book, Ellen Meiksins Wood explores the new imperialism, against the contrasting background of older forms, from ancient Rome, through medieval Europe, the Arab Muslim world, the Spanish conquests, and the Dutch commercial empire. Tracing the birth of a capitalist imperialism back to the English domination of Ireland, Wood follows its development through the British Empire in America and India.

The book brings into sharp relief the nature of today\'s new capitalist empire, in which the political reach of imperial power cannot match its economic hegemony. The global economy is administered not by a global economy but by a system of multiple local states, policed by the most disproportionately powerful military force the world has ever known and enforced according to a new military doctrine of war without end, in purpose or time.

Ellen Meiksins Wood

Ellen Meiksins Wood, for many years Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto, Canada, was an editor of the New Left Review from 1984 to 1992, and, co-editor of Monthly Review from 1997 to 2000. She is the author of numerous books, including The Retreat from Class (1986; reissued in 1998, with a new introduction by the author), which won the Deutscher Prize; The Pristine Culture of Capitalism: A Historical Essay on Old Regimes and Modern States (1992); Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism (1995), andThe Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View (2002), as well as several others on the history of Western political though and ancient Greek democracy. Her work has been translated into many languages, European and non-European.