The legacy of empire : economic decline and class polarization in the United States /
Berch Berberoglu.
New York : Praeger, 1992.
xiii, 130 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
0275937925 (alk. paper)
More Details
New York : Praeger, 1992.
0275937925 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [119]-124) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-07:
Data on the performance of the US economy during the last two decades provide fertile ground for the development of broad theories of change and decline, including such ambitious undertakings as Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (CH, Jun'88). This volume, a much more modest effort, takes a Marxist sociological focus on the data on output, profits, income, income distribution, composition of spending, and other indicators to develop a class-based theory of the decline of the US economy. In the Marxist tradition, capitalist economies self-destruct sooner or later, primarily because of polarization between the ruling class and the working class. Berberoglu finds this tradition fruitful in interpreting recent economic trends in the US. Some of the data he presents do not reflect more recent trends (such as the share of the population that can afford the median house, which has risen in the last few years). Nevertheless, he develops a coherent alternative explanation to current economic conventional wisdom in projecting the future course of the US economy on the basis of the experience of the last two decades. Accessible to a variety of readers and a moderately useful addition to public and academic library collections.-H. H. Ulbrich, Clemson University
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Choice, July 1992
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Long Description
In this potentially controversial book, Berch Berberoglu argues that the internationalization of U.S. capital via worldwide expansion of U.S. transnational monopolies has led to the decline of the U.S. domestic economy--bringing about class polarization between labor and capital. The process of decline and polarization was accelerated during the 1980s under the Reagan administration, when a major transfer of wealth from the working class to the wealthy owners of the transnational corporations ushered in a period of irreversible decline and decay. This incisive volume untangles the complex web of social-economic connections that are, at their base, the manifestations of relations of production, distribution, and exchange. Following a theoretical chapter which outlines the liberal, world system, and class analysis approaches--the three major positions on the rise and fall of global empires--Berberoglu provides an empirical account of the position of the United States in the world political economy in the postwar period. While the bulk of the middle chapters examines this decline and its consequences for the working people of the United States, subsequent chapters address the response of the state and of the labor movement to the social and economic crisis. This highly informative book contains the latest data presented in tables and charts that draw out the most critical elements in the economic and social trends evolving in the United States, and stands alone in its provocative treatment of the current crisis of U.S. capitalism.
Table of Contents
Tables and Figures
Introductionp. l
Theories of the World Economy and World Empirep. 5
The Postwar Rise of the U.S. Economy onto the World Scenep. 19
The Internationalization of U.S. Capital and the Resurgence of Global Rivalryp. 37
Economic Decline and Increasing Class Polarization in the United Statesp. 49
Declining Living Standards of U.S. Workersp. 71
The Response of the U.S. State to the Social and Economic Crisisp. 83
Labor's Response to Economic Decline and Decayp. 95
Conclusion: Which Way out of the Crisis?p. 109
Notesp. 113
Referencesp. 119
Indexp. 125
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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