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How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy

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A debate is taking place over what values should define the international order. For global elites, it is a debate about how to rule the world: a conflict between one vision of global order based on U.S. empire and another based on an expanding, corporate-controlled global economy. These visions are not entirely distinct. How to Rule the World explains how they overlap and A debate is taking place over what values should define the international order. For global elites, it is a debate about how to rule the world: a conflict between one vision of global order based on U.S. empire and another based on an expanding, corporate-controlled global economy. These visions are not entirely distinct. How to Rule the World explains how they overlap and also how, at critical moments, they clash with one another. The book is written, however, not from the perspective of power, but from the perspective of those who believe the world should be governed according to principles of democratic participation and self-determination. Mark Engler explains how the Bush administration has reshaped globalization in ways that will affect us for years to come. Such changes have created a setting that few protesters in Seattle or elsewhere could have foreseen: Global trade talks are collapsing. International institutions that drew protests, like the IMF and the World Bank, face uncertain futures. Moreover, U.S. unilateralism has created international divides that endanger the future progress of the type of multilateral globalization that thrived throughout the 1990s.


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A debate is taking place over what values should define the international order. For global elites, it is a debate about how to rule the world: a conflict between one vision of global order based on U.S. empire and another based on an expanding, corporate-controlled global economy. These visions are not entirely distinct. How to Rule the World explains how they overlap and A debate is taking place over what values should define the international order. For global elites, it is a debate about how to rule the world: a conflict between one vision of global order based on U.S. empire and another based on an expanding, corporate-controlled global economy. These visions are not entirely distinct. How to Rule the World explains how they overlap and also how, at critical moments, they clash with one another. The book is written, however, not from the perspective of power, but from the perspective of those who believe the world should be governed according to principles of democratic participation and self-determination. Mark Engler explains how the Bush administration has reshaped globalization in ways that will affect us for years to come. Such changes have created a setting that few protesters in Seattle or elsewhere could have foreseen: Global trade talks are collapsing. International institutions that drew protests, like the IMF and the World Bank, face uncertain futures. Moreover, U.S. unilateralism has created international divides that endanger the future progress of the type of multilateral globalization that thrived throughout the 1990s.

30 review for How to Rule the World: The Coming Battle Over the Global Economy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Fox

    According to Mark Engler, the masters of wealth have split into two camps about how to rule the world, which leaves an opening for others of us to seize the terrain for a globalization that works for humanity. In fact, as Engler is well aware and Marx pointed out long ago, the ruling groups have always been divided in many ways by their fierce competition for bigger slices of the wealth. But since World War II and Bretton Woods, they had come to accept a framework of cooperation, by which the eli According to Mark Engler, the masters of wealth have split into two camps about how to rule the world, which leaves an opening for others of us to seize the terrain for a globalization that works for humanity. In fact, as Engler is well aware and Marx pointed out long ago, the ruling groups have always been divided in many ways by their fierce competition for bigger slices of the wealth. But since World War II and Bretton Woods, they had come to accept a framework of cooperation, by which the elites of the most powerful industrialized economies protected one another from threats to their power from outsiders including any reform-minded elites in poorer nations, rebellious workers or underclass in their own countries, and of course revolutionary movements backed by the USSR or Communist China. This cooperation was effected in large part by global institutions including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank (using debt-pressure to keep poor nations' economies safe for transnational investors from the U.S., Western Europe or Japan), the World Trade Organization (to make sure the poor nations didn't protect their own industries from rich nations' exports), NATO (backing the economic rules by armed force), and other treaties and agreements. Since one country, the U.S., had the greatest wealth and greatest military force in all these institutions, it was able to assure that they and others (including the U.N.) generally acted in accord with the interests of its own national military-industrial complex. The arrangement did cause occasional inconvenience for big U.S. corporations, however, since it required them to abide by the same rules that they demanded of everyone else and for important international actions to be agreed upon by all the major players. The Bush government team changed all that. They have acted repeatedly outside the international institutions to make separate trade deals outside the WTO and IMF, and defied international law, the World Court and the UN (demanding exemptions from international law for U.S. troops abroad, invading Iraq, Guantánamo, etc.). This has split the world's elites, who no longer had much of a say in the actions of the world's biggest power. The two camps of the would-be rulers of the world are those who want to go back to something like the older international system, and the U.S. go-it-aloners and their (very few) allies abroad. But the Bush-Cheney offensive of the past 8 years has brought both systems to a crisis. The old mechanisms of global control are broken. For example, almost all of Latin America has now freed itself of the destructive control that the IMF had over their economies. And the attempted new style of control, an unabashed and undisguised Pax Americana, is proving unsustainable. The U.S. cannot fight all the wars its policies provoke, and can't even win in the big ones it has got into now, in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the country's economic might also looks precarious. Engler points out the fallacy of the slogan, "There is no alternative" to globalized capitalism as we know it. There is always the alternative of saying, as Bolivia has recently to water and gas companies seeking monopolies, "No." And there are always many alternatives within the system. What there is not is a single, unified opposition movement with a clearly defined program -- and that, Engler thinks, is just fine. And I agree with him. Our last single, unified opposition movement, very tightly unified, its cadres firmly disciplined and marching on orders, the world Communist movement, turned out to be too disciplined and rigid to adapt to ever changing, many-faceted realities. "Capitalism" is not united and never has been, that has been its strength, what has allowed aspects of it to thrive and grow even as other expressions of it became obsolete and died. Opposition to particular capitalist abuses has to be as flexible and creative as capitalism itself. "Capitalism" is not one thing but many different ways for people to seek private profit from public goods, and there are just as many ways to try to re-channel that private profit motive into public welfare. Engler is particulary good, and amusing, in his critiques of Thomas Friedman's global enthusiasms and the limitations of Joseph Stieglitz's acute denunciations of current practices (though without proposing a radical alternative). Also valuable is his chapter on how countries of Latin America -- backed in different ways by Venezuela's oil wealth and Brazil's enormous agricultural and industrial potential -- are changing the ways the game has to be played. He gives us no assurance that we can make a better world -- that wiser people with more generous, solidary motives can come to rule it -- but he shows that there is a chance. As for what we can do, I think he's pointing us in the same direction as two older researchers whose books I've mentioned here. See my notes on Alain Touraine, Penser autrement, and Ulrich Beck, Power in the Global Age.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    If you're wondering what you think about globalization: Is it good or bad? What's the alternative? this is a good book to read. Mark Engler is a clear writer, and he does impeccable research, with excellent notes for each chapter in the back. He divides the book into three areas: corporate globalization during the Clinton years that brought us NAFTA, an attempt at FTAA which failed, the WTO and others; imperial globalization during the Bush years that brought us two wars and a lot of other attemp If you're wondering what you think about globalization: Is it good or bad? What's the alternative? this is a good book to read. Mark Engler is a clear writer, and he does impeccable research, with excellent notes for each chapter in the back. He divides the book into three areas: corporate globalization during the Clinton years that brought us NAFTA, an attempt at FTAA which failed, the WTO and others; imperial globalization during the Bush years that brought us two wars and a lot of other attempts to rule militarially; and democratic globalization, which Engler hopes will come next, that will see democratic governments working together to improve the lot of their individual populations. If what they produce for their own people have leftovers, to offer those in fair trade to other nations which have other things to trade. Engler wrote this book in late 2008, but before the U.S. elections. So he had to write the third part of the book without knowing who our new president would be, a difficult crystal ball to look into. I loved the book, but want to know what he thinks, now that Barack Obama is president. He has a web site, where his past and future articles are published: democracyuprising.com.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    After having read all these books on globalization, that either find all of the benefits or drawbacks of globalization, neither of them discussing the underlying principles, Engler in this book finds the real agenda behind America's globalization effort. He does a great job of discussing why both liberals (supporting corporate imperialism) and conservatives are scrambling to spread U.S. policies throughout the globe. I appreciate Engler's criticism of Thomas Friedman's viewpoints of a "flattened After having read all these books on globalization, that either find all of the benefits or drawbacks of globalization, neither of them discussing the underlying principles, Engler in this book finds the real agenda behind America's globalization effort. He does a great job of discussing why both liberals (supporting corporate imperialism) and conservatives are scrambling to spread U.S. policies throughout the globe. I appreciate Engler's criticism of Thomas Friedman's viewpoints of a "flattened world", where Engler feels that Friedman's views are promoting elitist policies, and his argument is too simplistic for the complex policies needed to promote a global economy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    I really like this so far although some references he chooses are a little weak. I think he is painting an interesting broad history of the recent economic history and the changes the last 8 years have brought us and he makes an interesting proposal about where he thinks economic theory should go. didn't finish in as it got into too much convoluted aspects of the IMF and its influence on the world system. anyhow pretty good insight but at this point in time it is already dated. I really like this so far although some references he chooses are a little weak. I think he is painting an interesting broad history of the recent economic history and the changes the last 8 years have brought us and he makes an interesting proposal about where he thinks economic theory should go. didn't finish in as it got into too much convoluted aspects of the IMF and its influence on the world system. anyhow pretty good insight but at this point in time it is already dated.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Huang

  8. 5 out of 5

    John

  9. 4 out of 5

    Saren

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Lee

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Gude

  13. 5 out of 5

    Danny Mike Gatos

  14. 4 out of 5

    TheBedouin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eloise Milstead

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Farrell

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brent Ranalli

  19. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Elliott

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alice

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  22. 5 out of 5

    Graham Pechenik

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Jorgensen-Briggs

  24. 5 out of 5

    April Richards

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  26. 4 out of 5

    John Ciaccio

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  28. 4 out of 5

    Phil

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mark

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