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Capitalist Imperialism in Contemporary Theoretical Frameworks

New Theories


Filip Ilkowski

This book analyzes the controversy surrounding imperialism associated with capitalist development. The last dozen years passed under the shadow of two momentous events: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan conducted in the framework of the broader «war on terror», and the economic crisis. They occurred against the backdrop of global economic integration, but also against the contradictions in its development. Those events and processes are explained in the theory of contemporary capitalist imperialism that the author attempts to reconstruct.

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IV. David Harvey - the geography of the new imperialism


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IV. David Harvey – the geography of the new imperialism

David Harvey is - as the publishers of one of his newest books inform readers – the most frequently cited contemporary geographer336. His works on the geography of capitalism are, in many places, pioneering and ground breaking. Regardless of any doubts and questions about various aspects of Harvey’s theory, his theoretical achievements are in this respect intrinsically valuable. It is precisely his roots in geography that also make him one of the key modern theorists of imperialism grounded in the Marxist tradition. The understanding of “production of space” here is directly linked with an elucidation of geopolitical rivalry. In one of his first works concerning the issue of imperialism, he elaborated the issue of connecting this phenomenon with the theory of capital accumulation by invoking reference to spatial relations337. And in spite of all later fluctuations, this point of reference remained the key to his theory throughout successive decades.

Harvey’s interpretation is a creative linking of the theories of Rudolf Hilferding and Rosa Luxemburg, applied to contemporary capitalism. The impact of Hilferding (and, indirectly, Lenin) was expressed in the argument about the key role of banks in the capitalist economy. According to Harvey, without credit the process of capital accumulation would “stagnate and founder”. This is also why central banks are supposed to be not only the focus of the credit system, but also a key point of control within the state apparatus338. At the...

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