Review: The Twilight of Globalization: Property, State and Capitalism (Pluto Press, 128 pp.) by Boris Kagarlitsky

Kagarlitsky has written another book on an extremely complicated (if not confusing) topic in such a way that almost anyone not rendered unconscious by advanced study at a bourgeois think tank can understand it. As this brilliant treatment of neo-liberalism makes clear, globalisation is nothing new - nor are the myths used to justify Capital's desires. Take the old superstition that holds that the invisible hand of the market should control economic activity. Yet, it was the German government which insisted on a 3% budget deficit standard for the European Union. As the author points out, why 3%? why not 4%? or 2.5%? An arbitrary economic decision is later presented to the public as the judgement of the market gods.

Another well worn myth is that state enterprises are inherently less efficient than those of the private sector. Kagarlitsky cites numerous examples to demolish this fiction such as the case of Chile under General Pinochet. The privatisation urged on by the neo-liberal "Chicago Boys" was so disastrous that the military was forced to renationalise many businesses--so many that by the end of the dictatorship state ownership was almost back to the level of Marxist President Allende. Of course, what has happened in Russia in the last ten years speaks for itself. Further, as the evidence cited from China shows, state sector losses are often hidden subsidies for private businesses.

In addition to the discussion of globaliation, the left's often uncritical support for nationalist movements is deftly dissected as this work shows that being oppressed and being progressive are not necessarily the same thing. This "unselfish love" of nationalism has disarmed the left, particularly whenever liberals take up the cause of "the weak" without much regard for that group's real political agenda. No matter the topic, Kagarlitsky provides a penetrating analysis which should be studied by all members of the left.

The reviewer, Dr. William A. Pelz, is International Secretary of the Socialist Party USA.