The Political Economy of Hyper-Modernity

A Tale of America’s Hegemonic Exigencies Recounted through the Undulations of the U.S. Balance of Payments (1946-2015) 

From New Directions in Catholic Social and Political Research.

Volcker Finance

ABSTRACT: This piece was chiefly conceived to offer a long-term account of the main dynamics of international political economy. Accordingly, the intent is to allow one to locate intelligibly, in an orderly sequence, all the major economic events of the past seventy years.  And to acquire, as a result, a crisp vista of the fundamental economic dilemmas and controversies of our time.

In sum, the article attempts this grand synthesis through the statistical and graphical projection of a single economic variable, the U.S. Balance of Payments (BoP). The BoP is an  especially relevant  variable. It indeed indicates the commercial and financial position of the leading economy, America’s, vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Traced over time, this measure yields a peculiar narration of events from the system’s post-WWII infancy to this day. And the picture that emerges from this collection of data, policies, crises, and serial cycles of transformation suggests our finding. Namely, that everything seems to be revolving around two U.S. imperatives. First, to maintain and promote international trade exclusively as a means to binding allies closer to Washington. And to manage financial strategy so as to obtain foreign direct investment and the upkeep of U.S. military bases abroad for free.

With Domenico D’Amico & Evelyn Ysais

Full Essay

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