Marx and East Asian Globalization


My abstract has been accepted for a special issue of the International Journal ( with the first draft due in May.


Although Marx’s concept of the Asiatic Mode of Production is of very limited value in understanding the rapid industrialization of East and Southeast Asia, his analysis of the processes of globalization and the dissolution of all bonds other than those constituted by money are of great use. Capital, the Communist Manifesto and the various political writings contain passages that describe the imperialism of capitalist production in overseas lands and the processes this sets in motion. The history of modern East and Southeast Asia is replete with examples of the arrival of capitalist investment an introduction of accumulation by alienation  and dispossession, with the transformation of societies and social relations as a result. From Japan and the Newly Industrializing Economies of the 1950s and 60s to China, Cambodia and Vietnam today, capitalist investment has unleashed the creative destruction of capitalism and brought about crises and resolutions with the pre-existing political settlements and the elites who protect them. Further, subsequent writers working in the Marxist tradition, from Gramsci to Harvey, have extended the original analysis to provide greater understanding of areas such as the relationships between states in the region to the spatial allocation of particular activities and the management of otherwise unstable situations. This paper first outlines Marx’s work in the area of the globalization of capitalist investment and production, then indicates the ways it has been extended in various important areas, before seeking to show the relevance of these analyses to modern East and Southeast Asian history.

(So, starting a new project before finishing all existing ones – scratch that New Year’s Resolution then.)


Review of Balibar’s The Philosophy of Marx

There are a number of difficulties in trying first to understand the thought of Marx and, second, in trying to convey or teach this to other people. The most obvious of these problems is the form and content of Marx’s own writings, which demand a degree of imagination and perseverance that not everyone is willing to provide.

Read the full review here:

What Is Economic History?

Economic history is a branch of history that focuses specifically on the ways in which economic activities have been organized within a particular territory over a specified period of time, together with the ways in which people have sought to make a living and the management of government finances, trade, investment and debt.

Read the full article here.

Review of Hobsbawm’s How to Change the World

 Despite the increased interest in critiquing capitalism as a whole inspired by the 2008 banker-inspired economic crisis, it has still been something of a surprise to see a new collection of essays about the history of Marxism by a venerable, veteran historian topping at least some best-selling charts. And yet this is exactly what happened with Eric Hobsbawm’s characteristically wise and considered How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism. This is a book that charts the progress of Marxism through the publication of the works themselves, the reception of those works and, in the third section, the rise and fall and possible rise again of the influence of Marxism on the political thought of the world.

Read the full review here.

Marx: Ireland’s Revenge

From the end of 1854, Marx was persuaded by Max Friedlander to become London correspondent for the newspaper to which he himself contributed – that newspaper, the Neue Oder-Zeitung was perhaps the most radical of its time and, as a result, was often persecuted by the repressive quasi-militaristic regime in force in Germany (which was to become a familiar occurrence for Marx and his comrades).

Read the full article here.

Marx: The English Revolution

In his essay The English Revolution, Marx was responding to the work of a certain M Guizot, who in 1850 published “Why the English Revolution Was Successful. A Lecture on the History of the English Revolution, Paris, 1850.” Guizot had been a minister in the French monarchist government that had taken the place of the 1789 revolution and suppressed the 1848 uprising.

Read the full article here.