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Imperialism and Financialism. A Story of a Nexus

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  • Bichler, Shimshon
  • Nitzan, Jonathan

Abstract

Over the past century, Marxism has been radically transformed in line with circumstances and fashion. Theses that once looked solid have depreciated and fallen by the sideline; concepts that once were deemed crucial have been abandoned; slogans that once sounded clear and meaningful have become fuzzy and ineffectual. But two key words seem to have survived the attrition and withstood the test of time: imperialism and financialism. Talk of imperialism and financialism – and particularly of the nexus between them – remains as catchy as ever. Marxists of different colours – from classical, to neo to post – find the two terms expedient, if not indispensable. Radical anarchists, conservative Stalinists and distinguished academics of various denominations all continue to use and debate them. The views of course differ greatly, but there is a common thread: for most Marxists, imperialism and financialism are prime causes of our worldly ills. Their nexus is said to explain capitalist development and underdevelopment; it underlies capitalist power and contradictions; and it drives capitalist globalization, its regional realignment and local dynamics. It is a fit-all logo for street demonstrators and a generic battle cry for armchair analysts. The secret behind this staying power is flexibility. Over the years, the concepts of imperialism and financialism have changed more or less beyond recognition, as a result of which the link between them nowadays connotes something totally different from what it meant a century ago. The purpose of this article is to outline this chameleon-like transformation, to assess what is left of the nexus and to ask whether this nexus is still worth keeping.

Suggested Citation

  • Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2009. "Imperialism and Financialism. A Story of a Nexus," EconStor Preprints 157827, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:esprep:157827
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nitzan, Jonathan, 2001. "Regimes of Differential Accumulation: Mergers, Stagflation and the Logic of Globalization," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 226-274.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2013. "Can Capitalists Afford Recovery? Economic Policy When Capital is Power," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2013/01, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    2. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "Manuscripts Don't Burn," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2020/03, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    3. Juan Pablo Mateo, 2017. "Capital accumulation in the center and the periphery along the neoliberal period: A comparative analysis of the United States, Spain and Brazil," Working Papers 1723, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    4. Koddenbrock, Kai & Kvangraven, Ingrid Harvold & Sylla, Ndongo Samba, 2020. "Beyond Financialisation: The Need for a Longue Durée Understanding of Finance in Imperialism," OSF Preprints pjt7x, Center for Open Science.
    5. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2014. "Can Capitalists Afford Recovery? Three Views on Economic Policy in Times of Crisis," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(1), pages 110-155.
    6. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2017. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2017/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    7. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2018. "The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(3), pages 1-39.
    8. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(5), pages 1-78.
    9. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2019. "Making America Great Again," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 2-12.
    10. Baines, Joseph, 2014. "Wal-Mart's Power Trajectory: A Contribution to the Political Economy of the Firm," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(1), pages 79-109.
    11. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "The Capital as Power Aproach: An Invited-then-Rejected Interview with Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2020/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    12. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2017. "Oil and Blood in the Orient, Redux," EconStor Preprints 172198, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

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