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Super Imperialism: The Origin and Fundamentals of U.S. World Dominance Paperback – March 20, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0745319896 ISBN-10: 0745319890 Edition: New Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; New Edition edition (March 20, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745319890
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745319896
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Michael Hudson's brilliant shattering book will leave orthodox economists spluttering." -- Alvin Toffler, best-selling author of 'Future Shock' and 'The Third Wave'

"One of the most important books of this century." -- Terence McCarthy, Columbia University

"Michael Hudson's brilliant shattering book will leave orthodox economists spluttering."Alvin Toffler -- Alvin Toffler

From the Publisher

"Michael Hudson's brilliant shattering book will leave orthodox economists spluttering. Classical economists don't like to be reminded of the ugly realities of Imperialism. Hudson is one of the tiny handful of economic thinkers in today's world who are forcing us to look at old questions in startling new ways". Alvin Toffler, best-selling author of Future Shock and The Third Wave

Customer Reviews

The book is difficult to read and poorly edited, but well worth the effort.
Bruce K. Alexander
Super Imperialism provides critical insight into the understanding of the economic history of the 20th century.
J. Montz
And this is the time period where Michael Hudson begins with his book, Super Imperialism.
John Mugge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Malle on May 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Super-Imperialism is better viewed as a radical alternative to common undergraduate textbooks such as Joan Edelman Spero's, "The Politics of International Economic Relations" than as an update to the theories of Lenin or Hobson. (His background and prose style are similar to Spero's and his book covers similar ground.)

It has three sections, each which could have been a separate book.

Chapters 1-6 are a history of U.S. international economic relations from World War I through Bretton Woods.

Chapters 7-10 are a critique of the "The Institutions of the American Empire" (GATT, the World Bank, the IMF and U.S. foreign aid mechanisms). If you have ever wondered what all of the huge protests of the World Bank and IMF were all about these chapters are for you.

Chapters 11-15 are about the U.S. economic transition in the late 1960s and early 1970s from running consistent balance of payments surpluses to running consistent deficits. (We used to export more than we imported; Now we import more than we export.) At the same time the U.S. stopped backing dollars with gold, which forced other countries to lend the surplus dollars created by our trade deficit back to the U.S. government (i.e. to buy treasury notes), thereby also subsidizing our chronic budget deficits. This is the "super-imperialism" of the book's title. This situation was still new and strange when the first edition was published in 1972, and the book's reputation rests on the light Hudson was able to shed on it.

The 2003 Edition has a new introduction and two new chapters at the end. The rest of the book has occasional new material, but does not appear to have been extensively re-written.

It's a difficult and rewarding book.
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109 of 114 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on April 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Hudson is a Wall Street economist who used to work at the Chase Manhattan Bank. In Part One, he describes the rise of the American empire. Part Two describes its institutions: the US-controlled World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund, which all benefit the USA. The US has the sole veto power in all three. Part Three describes what Herman Kahn called `the greatest rip-off ever achieved', the way the US's ruling class levies us all to pay for its aggressive wars, just as the Roman Empire levied tribute to pay for its constant wars. Similarly Britain, Germany and Japan all pay for the US's military bases in their countries.
In 1945, as in 1918, Britain led Europe's capitulation to the USA's debt demands. The British ruling class chose dependency on the US ruling class. The USA insisted that Britain ended the sterling bloc, accepted IMF controls, did not impose exchange controls, and did not devalue. As Hudson writes, "The Anglo-American Loan Agreement spelled the end of Britain as a Great Power."
The 1945-51 Labour government's huge spending on unnecessary imperial, counter-revolutionary wars robbed our industry of investment. This excessive military spending meant that we had constantly to borrow from the IMF, increasing our dependence on the USA. Now Britain is the USA's Trojan horse in Europe, against Britain's interests.
Hudson immodestly claims that his analysis supersedes Lenin. He says that the US national government's interests, not the private interests of the capitalist class, drive the system. He claims that the US government subordinates `the interests of its national bourgeoisie to the autonomous interests of the national government'. But is the US government really independent of the capitalist class? How `autonomous' are these interests?...
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Salty Saltillo on November 3, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Hudson's historical argument in this book is both brilliant and sometimes a bit rough.

Hudson has always had a great talent for interpreting and sketching out for weaker minds like us what the US government's abandonment of the gold-standard really means. When Hudson came forward with his thesis in the mid 1970's, his thesis was outrageous among orthodox economists: to suggest that the US should be worried about the long-term consequences of running balance of payments deficits year after year, decade after decade was crazy leftist nonsense in the 1970s. As long as people continue to need the US markets more than the US needs any other one country's markets (and people still have faith in the good credit of the US government) there is no reason US could not run balance of payment deficits forever, according to the conventional wisdom.

What amazes me is that now, after having done exactly what Hudson warned the US government not to do in the 1970s, many otherwise relatively orthodox economists are beginning to worry about this. Hudson may be on the more "sky-is-falling" end of things, but his analysis was right on the nail in 1972 and is still there today: worst case scenario - massive recession and massive devaluation of the dollar (by massive I mean, unprecedented). Former US Treasury Secretary, Robert Rubin was quoted in March 16, 2006 WSJ as saying that "The probabilities are extremely high that if we don't address these imbalances, then at some point, and it could be years down the road, we'll pay a very big price." We are in a limbo world where no one really knows how this problem is going to play out, but Hudson should be credited for being one of the first, and longest-running, advocates for addressing this problem.
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