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Constitution of Imperium by Ronnie D Lipschutz

Constitution of Imperium by Ronnie D Lipschutz

Author:Ronnie D Lipschutz [Lipschutz, Ronnie D]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Social Science, Sociology, Political Science, General
ISBN: 9781317262107
Google: XjseCwAAQBAJ
Goodreads: 28132893
Publisher: Routledge
Published: 2015-12-03T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER EIGHT

TWILIGHT

And what of the future? As I write in early 2008, there is some doubt that Imperium will or can be sustained in its current form, especially given the uncertain future of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the manifest failures of the global war on terror (GWOT), and growing uncertainties in global securities and credit markets. The mounting costs of the first war, the rising death toll, and widespread and growing disillusionment and disgust with the Bush administration, not to mention an impending presidential election, have generated numerous attacks on American unilateralism from commentators on both the right—which thinks the project has been botched but might yet be a success—and left—most of whom agree with the Right on the first point and some of whom believe the second, too. Others on the left (and a very few on the right) continue to think the entire project a disaster from the start. Both seem to fear that the era of U.S. hegemony may be almost over and that a resulting loss of credibility and power will expose the world to constant depredation by terrorists.1

These views, I would suggest, read too much into the excessive idealism of the neoconservative project of a “new Middle East” and too little into the historical sociology of Imperium, the foundations of which were established at the end of World War II, and which is much less dependent on the overt exercise of military force than is widely assumed. The problematic relationship among state, citizen, and Imperium will not go away simply because George W. Bush leaves the White House or U.S. troops leave Iraq. To be sure, given current uncertainties in financial markets, Imperium’s global political economy could collapse, returning the world to some doppelgänger of the 1930s, with its blocs in conflict. It is much more probable that, with a few hitches and hiccups, the next president of the United States will sustain some version of Imperium, which is neither global market nor global state, but a curious and largely unexamined hybrid of public power and private wealth.2

It is in this light that most work on empire and imperialism falls short, as a result of failures in both historical interpretation and sociological explanation. In particular, I suggest that, notwithstanding the literary and analytical force of much of their work, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri have largely ignored history in their historical materialism and have also failed to analyze the institutional aspects of their empire. Both of these points bear consideration. For the first, I maintain that the world is in a period of transition, and not only from Fordism to post-Fordism and material to intellectual production and consumption, as it is usually stylized. Contemporary globalization is also linked to a fairly radical transformation in the very nature of property rights, which are so central and fundamental to capitalism. This transformation is taking place at all levels—global, national, individual—and, although it does not represent a complete break with what came before, it might be as



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