The Liberal Virus

Permanent War and the Americanization of the World

Samir Amin

9788187879480

Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2005

124 pages

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Samir Amin\'s ambitious new book argues that the ongoing American project to dominate the world through military force has its roots in European liberalism, but has developed certain features of liberal ideology in a new and uniquely dangerous way. Where European political culture since the French Revolution has given a central place to values of equality, the American state has developed to serve the interests of capital alone, and is now exporting this model throughout the world. American Imperialism, Amin argues, will be far more barbaric than earlier forms of imperialism, pillaging natural resources and destroying the lives of the poor. The Liberal Virus examines the ways in which the American model is being imposed on the world, and outlines its economic and political consequences. It shows how both citizenship and class consciousness are diluted in \'low-intensity democracy\' and argues instead for democratisation as an ongoing process - of fundamental importance for human progress - rather than a fixed constitutional formula designed to support the logic of capital accumulation. In a panoramic overview, Amin examines the objectives and outcomes of American policy in the different regions of the world. He concludes by outlining the challenges faced by those resisting the American project today: redefining European liberalism on the basis of a new compromise between capital and labour, re-establishing solidarity among the people of the South, and reconstructing an internationalism that serves the interests of regions that are currently divided against each other.

Samir Amin

Samir Amin was born in Cairo, the son of an Egyptian father and a French mother (both medical doctors). He spent his childhood and youth in Port Said; there he attended a French High School, leaving in 1947 with a Baccalauréat. From 1947 to 1957 he studied in Paris, gaining a diploma in political science (1952) before graduating in statistics (1956) and economics (1957). In his autobiography Itinéraire Intellectuel (1990) he wrote that in order to spend a substantial amount of time in "militant action" he could devote only a minimum of time to preparing for his university exams.