regulated exchange of the international-economy model is progressively subordinated tothe world-economy model.
Integrated global production has, since the 1970s, beenreinforced by the increased power of transnational finance capital, the two combining toexercize considerable leverage over state policy.Cox recognizes that the transcendence of the international-economy model is incomplete,but nevertheless argues that transnationalization has produced ‘a “new capitalism” whichopposes any form of state or interstate control or intervention’.
As national economicregulation and planning have declined, he argues that the contemporary global economyis best conceptualized as a ‘
’, which ‘expresses the consensus of forcespromoting global capitalism’ and neo-liberalism.
For Robinson, the new liberal worldorder dismantles national barriers to the free movement and operation of capital as itcreates an integrated world market along lines similar to the earlier establishment of national economies, including ‘a single set of laws, taxes, currency, and politicalconsolidation around a common state’.
Criticism of this view does not entail denying either the reality of economictransnationalization as an important contemporary tendency or the expansionarydynamic of capital highlighted by Marx and Engels. As they argued in the
, capitalism ‘batters down all Chinese Walls’ as it is driven to spread across theglobe by the imperative of competitive accumulation.
Nevertheless, a degree of cautionshould be exercized over what Michael Löwy refers to as ‘a certain economism and asurprising amount of Free Tradist optimism’ in Marx and Engels.
For, the economic logicof capital has never been separable from politics, and the global expansion of capitalismhas both dismantled and re-erected state-built walls around national economies. In thecontext of contemporary debates about transnationalism, over-emphasis on capital’sexpansionary dynamic risks presenting a theory of global integration driven primarily byan economic logic, abstracted from what Philip McMichael refers to as the ‘residuals’ of earlier phases in the development of capitalism as an historical living reality. Theseresiduals, he argues, ‘have a way of asserting themselves and conditioning the processunder examination’.
We can think of the national economy as one such residual. The transnationalistscorrectly problematize the idea of a national economy, for there are, as Robinson argues,