The Geopolitical Economy Research Group is thrilled to announce the release of GERG director Radhika Desai’s new book: Capitalism, Coronavirus and War: A Geopolitical Economy!
The was released on December 9th, and is available open access. The PDF can be obtained for free at the publisher’s website. Physical copies are also available for purchase on the publisher’s website, at amazon.com, at amazon.ca and at amazon.co.uk. Physical copies are also available for purchase.
The book is Desai’s analysis of the current dangerous conjuncture that threatens human and planetary annihilation. Instead of explaining it as a result of vast uncontrollable forces, she places it squarely at the door of capitalism and imperialism in an original Marxist analysis which builds on Geopolitical Economy’s clarification that nations were as material for Marx as were classes and co-equal agents of history.
Knowledge Unlatched, a pioneering venture that seeks to make important works available open access, chose this book among their offerings this year.
About the book
Capitalism, Coronavirus and War investigates the decay of neoliberal financialised capitalism as revealed in the crisis the novel coronavirus triggered, but did not cause, a crisis that has been deepened by the conflict over Ukraine and its repercussions across the globe.
Leading domestically to economic and political breakdown, the pandemic accelerated the imperial decline of the US-led capitalist world’s power, intensifying the tendency to lash out with aggression and militarism, as seen in the US-led West’s New Cold War against China and the proxy war against Russia over Ukraine. The geopolitical economy of the decay and crisis of this form of capitalism suggests that the struggle with socialism that has long shaped the fate of capitalism has reached a tipping point. The author argues that mainstream and even many progressive forces take capitalism’s longevity for granted, misunderstand its historical dynamics and deny its formative bond with imperialism. Only a theoretically and historically accurate account of capitalism’s dynamics and historical trajectory, which this book provides, can explain its current failures and predicament. It also reveals why, though the pandemic — by revealing capitalism’s obscene inequality and shocking debility — prompted the most serious critiques of capitalism to emerge in decades, hopes of ‘building back better’ were so quickly dashed. This book sheds a searching light on the dominant narratives that have normalised the neoliberal financialised capitalism and the dollar creditocracy dominating the world economy, with even critics unable to link capitalism’s neoliberal turn to its financialisation, historical decay, productive debility and international decline. It contends that only by appreciating the seriousness of the crisis and rectifying our understanding of capitalism can progressive forces thwart a future of chaos and/or authoritarianism and begin the long task of building socialism.
This book will be of great interest to students, scholars and researchers of international relations, international political economy, comparative politics and global political sociology.
Praise for Capitalism, Coronavirus and War:
“Radhika Desai’s Capitalism, Coronavirus and War explains why the dream of a neoliberal ‘end of history’ has turned out to be a dead end. Her excellent book provides a clear perspective to frame the internal contradictions of America’s neoliberal policies that are driving Western capitalism into austerity and a chronic health crisis as its New Cold War actually is a class war.
What makes Radhika’s book so important is her clear explanation of how the world’s actual history is being created by the socialist Beijing Consensus based on public infrastructure to raise living standards and productivity. This is what the West’s former socialist and labor parties have lost, she explains. Most insightful is her analysis of how the socialist policy of making money and credit a public utility saves economies from the US–British disease of financialization and debt deflation that has left its only hope for prosperity to be what it can exploit from Eurasia, Africa and South America.”
Michael Hudson, author of The Destiny of Civilization and Super Imperialism, Distinguished Professor of Economics, University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), USA
“This book discusses a wide range of theoretical issues germane to the analysis of the nature of the capitalist system at its core, and relates this analysis to the most striking economic and political developments of very recent years, namely pandemic impact, and (so far) localised war. The author writes with a style and elan which engages the reader, while providing very many insights of value. In particular her trenchant critique of what she terms ‘western Marxism’ and its failures, combined with a stout defence of Marx’s vision, will be of special interest to many readers.”
Utsa Patnaik, Professor Emerita, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India; author of The Agrarian Question in the Neoliberal Era (2011) and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007); co-author (with Prabhat Patnaik) of Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History and the Future (2021) and A Theory of Imperialism (2016).
“Through an astute, timely, and expansive analysis of our political and theoretical landscape, Radhika Desai’s latest book clears new ground on which to build a renewed left movement against the geopolitical rule of capital. Returning to Marx’s thought and rescuing it from its myriad distortions provides the conceptual clarity required to understand the structural and historical factors responsible for producing the overwhelming and indisputable failures of capitalism. By critiquing responses by both the right and left to the complex international crises we face—from Modern Monetary Theory and “pseudo-civic neoliberalism” to social democracy and anti-communist leftism—Capitalism, Coronavirus and War offers not only a compelling account of how we ended up in our current situation but, more importantly, an accessible roadmap for eliminating global inequality, oppression, and imperialist war. This provocative, intricately reasoned, and ultimately inspiring treatise is a welcome contribution to the ongoing global struggle for socialism that unequivocally demonstrates the necessity of the communist party, socialist planning, and global solidarity of working and oppressed peoples necessary for finally ridding the world of the scourges of capital. Readers will, wherever they currently stand on these topics, leave the text with a radically transformed understanding of the path that lies ahead.”
Derek R. Ford, Associate Professor of Education Studies, DePauw University, USA; author of Marxism, Pedagogy and the General Intellect; editor of LiberationSchool.org; and contributing editor to the Hampton Institute