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Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity


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  • Date Published: October 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107691117

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About the Authors
  • This exciting new study provides an original and provocative exposé of the crisis of global capitalism in its multiple dimensions - economic, political, social, ecological, military, and cultural. Building on his earlier works on globalization, William I. Robinson discusses the nature of the new global capitalism, the rise of a globalized production and financial system, a transnational capitalist class, and a transnational state and warns of the rise of a global police state to contain the explosive contradictions of a global capitalist system that is crisis-ridden and out of control. Robinson concludes with an exploration of how diverse social and political forces are responding to the crisis and alternative scenarios for the future.

    • Offers an original and sweeping analysis of the multidimensional crisis of global capitalism
    • Discusses the notion of 'policing the global crisis' and the rise of a global police state
    • Written for students and scholars as well as for informed members of the general public
    Read more


    • Winner, 2015 Book Award, Section on the Political Economy of the World-System, American Sociological Association

    Reviews & endorsements

    'In this thoughtful and informative study, William I. Robinson carries forward the theory of global capitalism that he has presented in earlier work, applying it to the severe crises of an unprecedented moment of human history, when decisions directly affect the prospects for decent survival. The perspective that he develops is a most valuable one, broadly researched and carefully analyzed, addressing issues of utmost importance.' Noam Chomsky, Institute Professor (retired), Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    'In this wide-ranging book, William I. Robinson offers a compelling analysis of the recent turns in global capitalism. Moving from the local to the global with grace and conviction, Robinson traces the mutations in contemporary capitalism, showing how they have led to the rise of a truly globalized capitalist class and state apparatus. He argues convincingly for the obsolescence of traditional political economic categories in the face of these changes and presents a robust alternative framework, of which he is undoubtedly one of the leading proponents. And perhaps most importantly, he urges us to realize the moral and ethical stakes in this endeavor. This is a work of profound importance for all students of contemporary political economy.' Vivek Chibber, New York University

    'William I. Robinson has written an outstanding, gripping, and comprehensive look at the reorganization of global capitalism and its implications - potential and actual - for the masses of the world's people. Not only does this book suggest a unique and provocative way of understanding today's global capitalism, with the rise of a transnational capitalist class, but it also offers insights into the challenges that must be undertaken in order to construct a strategy for a fundamental social transformation to rescue this planet and its inhabitants from the dangers derived from a very toxic capitalism. This book spoke to the questions with which I have been grappling, and it spoke in clear and direct terms. I could not more strongly recommend this book.' Bill Fletcher, Jr, writer/activist; coauthor of Solidarity Divided; and author of 'They're Bankrupting Us': And 20 Other Myths about Unions

    'This is a welcome update of William I. Robinson's theory of global capitalism. In the current debates over the deepening of inequality, the persistence of stagnation, and the slide toward oligarchy throughout the industrialized world, Robinson's perspective is essential.' Craig N. Murphy, Research Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, McCormack Graduate School and Co-Director, Center for Governance and Sustainability, University of Massachusetts, Boston

    'William I. Robinson's critique of global managerial and corporate rulers on geopolitical, economic, and ecological grounds is tightly argued, convincing, and urgently needed. Looking at it from the vantage point of BRICS debates, his contribution is a welcome corrective to those anticipating a rebalanced world or even an anti-imperialist project - for instead, he describes a deepening crisis of globalized capitalism. It is impossible not to conclude that, as does Robinson, 'only mass movements can generate counterdefinitions of the global order and its crisis'.' Patrick Bond, Senior Professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

    'Robinson is one of the most prominent thinkers about global capitalism and transnational capitalist class theory, and his new work is challenging and vitally important … In fact, the work is essential reading for all those who want to understand contemporary capitalism and are concerned with the fate of our planet. In other words, everyone should read this book.' Jerry Harris, Race and Class

    'Robinson decisively documents the fragmentation of production in the new global capitalism in which labor, design, manufacturing, assembly, and shipping-once localized processes occurring in a single factor-have been broken down into their own industries and are carried out all over the world … The index is excellent, and the book is recommended for those seeking an alternative view of the evolving, market-based, global political economy … Summing up: recommended.' I. Walter, Choice

    'Building upon decades of work, William Robinson's Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity is at once a theoretical summa and an attuned take on the bumpiness - to put it lightly - of our contemporary moment.' Christopher Taylor, American Journal of Sociology

    'Those readers who are searching for an explanation of the recent electoral results in places as dissimilar as Austria and the Philippines, not to mention the ongoing U.S. primary presidential contest, will surely find this book captivating. … Readers trying to make sense of local and national political, economic, and military developments anywhere in our planet will [also] benefit from the global capitalism framework presented in this book.' Aldo Caliari, Academic Council on the United Nations System (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107691117
    • length: 258 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 150 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.34kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Global capital and global labor
    2. Notes on transnational state apparatuses
    3. Beyond the theory of imperialism
    4. The 'Great Recession': financial speculation and militarized accumulation
    5. Policing global capitalism
    6. Interregnum: a new crisis of hegemony.

  • Author

    William I. Robinson, University of California, Santa Barbara
    William I. Robinson is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is also affiliated with the Latin American and Iberian Studies Program and with the Global and International Studies Program. He has previously published seven books, among them, the award-winning Promoting Polyarchy (Cambridge, 1996), A Theory of Global Capitalism (2004), and the award-winning Latin America and Global Capitalism (2008). He has published some fifty articles in academic journals such as Sociological Forum, Theory and Society, International Studies Review, International Sociology, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, International Relations, Global Society, Globalizations, Race and Class, New Political Economy, Third World Quarterly, and Radical Philosophy and hundreds of essays, books chapters, and articles in the popular press. He is a member of the editorial board of fifteen academic journals. In 2013 Robinson was elected chair of the Political Economy of the World-System section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). He is a member of the ASA, the Latin American Studies Association, the Global Studies Association, and the International Studies Association. He was a founding writer for and editor of Pensamiento Propio, a monthly journal of the Coordinadora Regional de Investigaciones Economicas y Sociales.


    • Winner, 2015 Book Award, Section on the Political Economy of the World-System, American Sociological Association
    • Winner, 2015 Paul Sweezy Book Award, Section on Marxist Sociology, American Sociological Association

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