The Battle for Asia: From decolonisation to globalisation
Routledge Curzon, $69 pb, 343pp
This book, The Battle for Asia, is the most recent and ambitious contribution from the group of Australian political economists, formerly based at Murdoch University, working on East Asian political economy. This book upholds the group’s Marxian structuralist orientation and advances its critique of ‘neo-liberal’ globalisation. The book’s ambition to integrate post-World War II international political economy, Asia’s development trajectories and US hegemony widens this group’s analytical lens and deepens its links with the anti-globalisation movement. For Mark T. Berger, ‘many of the organizations and individuals involved [in the movement] are asking the right questions and pointing in the right direction’.
Berger shares with this movement the belief that the US is the single hegemonic power driving the global economy. He presents capitalism as an inherently unequal system prone to crisis and monopolisation. Global corporations, leading states, mainstream intellectuals and international bureaucrats are its shapers and main beneficiaries. All others are its excluded subjects.
The Battle for Asia explains post-World War II economic history as a set of two US hegemonic projects, and critically examines their intellectual supports. Asian examples establish the power and limits of, and challenges to, these projects. This book is a critique of US capitalist hegemony. Asia is the book’s empirical palate.