A Brave New World, or the Same Old Story with New Characters? Jayati Ghosh

Capitalism has always been a global system, but not in fixed ways. Different national powers have emerged and become dominant over the centuries, but the fundamental processes underlying the uneven development of global capitalism have not altered; they continue to be driven by imperialism the struggle of large capital over economic territory of various kinds. Since the late 1960s, only the East Asian region has shown notable increases in its share of global GDP, and for the last two decades this has been dominated by the rise of China. This is directly related to the ability of the Chinese state to control the economy and to implement heterodox policies with very high investment rates. However, the Chinese case is exceptional: few other developing countries have followed a trajectory anything like that of China. Meanwhile, internal inequalities have increased across the world, as the bargaining power of capital vis-`a-vis labour has increased dramatically in every country. This reflects the changed form of 21st century imperialism, which relies increasingly on the international legal and regulatory architecture as fortified by various multilateral, plurilateral and bilateral agreements that establish the hegemony of global capital in different ways

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(This article was originally published at Wiley Online Library on March 8, 2019.)