This is the second in a series of three texts retracing the historical roots of present-day economic institutions and class relations. The previous post examined the institutional crisis of American society in the Thirties. It characterized the New Deal as an arrested transformation of monopoly capitalism, in which attempts at egalitarian reform were blocked by interest groups operating through both major parties.
This text explores the rise of state capitalism during WWII. It shows how the redoubled technological and organizational capacity of the corporate state was able to generate a global political economy maintained by force of both money and arms, but also based on the new social compact that emerged from the depression and the war. To analyze this global political economy I’m going to use the concept of hegemony, as developed by Antonio Gramsci. I’ll extend that concept to international relations, following the lead of Robert Cox in his book Production, Power and World Order.