5510 University Way NE
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Sponsored by Red May Seattle
Radhika Desai, Aaron Benanav, Paul Apostolides, Olufemi Taiwo (Moderator)
Two years before 9/11, the voice of Capital speaking through Thomas Friedman narrated a fable called Globalization. Mobile capital, telecommunication, and global supply chains had spawned a New World Order presided over by a benevolent American hegemon and destined to dissolve the borders of the nation-state. If at first it brought economic instability, in the long run, it would bring unprecedented wealth to the world’s middle classes. Twenty years later, we live amidst the ruins of that vision. Stagnant production. Jobless so-called recoveries. Volatility in the world’s stock and currency markets. Stunning levels of inequality and debt. Rising level of migration from a planet of slums and war zones. Resurgent right-wing nationalist parties preaching tariffs, border walls, and the need for a white ethno-state. An imperial power caught up in a cycle of perpetual war that it provokes but can’t control. Even Capital has the jitters now.
So where do we go from here? What’s the outlook for Capital and the movements that oppose it in the 21st century? Radhika Desai (Geopolitical Economy: After U.S. Hegemony, Globalization and Empire) gives us a geopolitical overview of world capitalism from Bretton Woods to the present moment. Aaron Benanav (Endnotes), looking at the history of global unemployment since the Long Boom, questions whether lost manufacturing jobs are ever coming back. Paul Apostolidis (The Fight for Time: Migrant Labor and the Politics of Precarity) looks at the contradictions of a world order where 1) capital is free to cross borders but labor isn’t, and: 2) capital is dependent on a migrant labor force it can’t publicly acknowledge. Olufemi Taiwo moderates.