The ‘Global’ Level and the Concept of Imperialist Chain

  • John Milios
  • Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos


We mentioned in Chapter 1 that in their stress on the concept of a ‘global capitalism’, classical imperialist theories foreshadowed the recent discussions on globalization. The national/international dichotomy was seen as subordinate to the global dynamics of ‘imperial’ capital. One extreme consequence of this train of thought is the notion that national state formation is but a fragile moment in a wider autonomous global dynamics of capital accumulation. Prior to any attempt to engage with the form of today’s imperialist order and with its evolution, it would therefore be appropriate to come back to a question that is of direct relevance to the present conjuncture and has been posed above all (but not exclusively) by exponents of the historicist neo-Gramscian approach. This is what Cox has to say in his synopsis of the basic argument:

The global economy has become something distinct from international economic relations, i.e., from transborder economic flows assumed to be subject to state control and regulation. Global production and global finance now constitute distinct spheres of power relations which constrain the state system at least as much as they are influenced by it. They are bringing about a new social structure of production relations superseding the nation-centered labor-capital relations of the past [Cox 1999: 515]. Through this process the nation state becomes part of a larger and more complex political structure that is the counterpart to international production.

(Cox 1987: 253)


Social Capital Social Formation Capitalist Production Capitalist Relation Class Struggle 
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© John Milios and Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos 2009

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  • John Milios
  • Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos

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