Power and Ownership in Global Capitalism

In a new Review Articlestarrs available at the JCA publisher’s website, Sean Kenji Starrs of the Department of Asian and International Studies at the City University of Hong Kong, considers issues raised by his reading of Jeb Sprague’s edited volume, Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania (Routledge, 2016).

The Global Capitalism School Tested in Asia: Transnational Capitalist Class vs Taking the State Seriously (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2017.1282536) critically assesses the notion of a transnational capitalist class. He does this with the use of new empirical data that considers national locations of capitalists and corporations.

The abstract is:

Globalisation continues to stir debate. One burgeoning theoretical perspective is the “global capitalism school” (GCS), anchored around the writings of William Robinson. The GCS argues that globalisation marks a new epoch as nationally-based elites are no longer the central locus of power in world order with the rise of a “transnational capitalist class” (TCC). Jeb Sprague’s edited volume, Globalization and Transnational Capitalism in Asia and Oceania, is the first book-length study testing key tenets of the GCS in the Asia-Pacific, and therefore fills a crucial gap. In this review article, it is argued that this book does not overcome what I believe are some key theoretical and empirical problems in the GCS, from not taking the state seriously to a dearth of corporate ownership data to demonstrate the existence of a TCC. To argue this, the article draws upon chapters in the book itself that are critical of the GCS, as well as from empirical research on corporate ownership and nationality. Nevertheless, it is concluded that this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the GCS, as well as the broader theoretical implications and empirical impacts of globalisation in the Asia-Pacific region.

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