The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire

“The most important leftist book of the year, and probably the decade.”—Charles Mudede, The Stranger
The all-encompassing embrace of world capitalism at the beginning of the twenty-first century was generally attributed to the superiority of competitive markets. Globalization had appeared to be the natural outcome of this unstoppable process. But today, with global markets roiling and increasingly reliant on state intervention to stay afloat, it has become clear that markets and states aren't straightforwardly opposing forces.

In this groundbreaking work, Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin demonstrate the intimate relationship between modern capitalism and the American state. The Making of Global Capitalism identifies the centrality of the social conflicts that occur within states rather than between them. These emerging fault lines hold out the possibility of new political movements that might transcend global markets.


  • “Lucid and indispensable guides to the history and practice of American Empire.”
  • “A must read for everyone who is concerned about where the future of capitalism might lie.”
  • “The most important leftist book of the year, and probably the decade.”
  • “One of the most important books of the last decade ... nearly overwhelming in its breadth and detail ... It is a serious work of scholarship, and in my view, deserves at least three adjectives, which should be rarely used: definitive, classic and indispensable.”
  • “It’s the best left look at the US empire I’ve seen. The picture of the US as having the long-term dynamism and coherence of the global system ‘front of mind’, as the biz types say, makes far more sense than, say, the Chomskyism that pervades much of the left. They have few rivals and no betters in analyzing the relations between politics and economics, between globalization and American power, between theory and quotidian reality, and between crisis and political possibility.”
  • “Bringing new understanding to the dominant global role of the United States from World War I onward in business and economic policymaking, The Making of Global Capitalism advances an original perspective on the forces that have created our current epoch of neoliberal globalization. This is a major work in political economy—rigorously researched, compellingly written, and bursting with fresh insights on nearly every page.”
  • “Panitch and Gindin give us a history of global capitalism that brings together what has often been represented as unconnected. The authors help us see the active making of global capitalism mostly overlooked in mainstream explanation. A great book.”
  • “A meticulous history of how the American state, in conjunction with Wall Street, developed the institutional conditions that made global capitalism possible.”
  • “Left-leaning intellectuals examine the exceptional role of the United States in the development of global capitalism....[a] densely detailed work.”
  • “Sweeping, timely, and well-researched study of global capitalism ... compelling.”
  • “Deep, profound, and rich ... a truly epoch work that deserves careful, deliberate reading. Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin have so much to offer as we deliberate about the paths to follow for empowerment and meaningful change.”
  • “A real tonic both theoretically and, especially, politically. Panitch and Gindin have a deep understanding of historical materialism—their analysis is concrete and always anchored to advancing class struggle as an epistemic as well as a political project”
  • “A masterful century-long history of US corporate activity and state economic strategy. Insofar as capitalist states are where class interests are codified, their spicy reading of dry officialdom’s milquetoast narratives is absolutely vital to our knowledge about power. Most valuable are the ways these Canadians set out anti-capitalist principles and critiques of reformism, and defend socialist aspirations. In perhaps no other site in the English-speaking academic world are such committed, principled and generous leaders so warmly received by colleagues and students, and more importantly, by workers and communities in struggle. This means taking with utmost seriousness both their analysis and strategy, for even if they do not always jump the gap perfectly, no one I know has a better working model.”
  • “Readers should avail themselves of Professors Leo Panitch and his colleague Sam Gindin’s excellent researching and insightful analysis, as well as their readable description and explanation of how the money part of the US empire works or doesn’t. Serious activists will learn: these authors teach the how and why of the world’s capitalist economic system.”
  • “Organize[d] ... Focused ... a confrontation with financial institutions that must be re-created as instruments of economic coordination and social welfare.”
  • “There is little doubt that The Making of Global Capitalism will soon establish itself as a benchmark text on the history of global capitalism during the 20th century ... Panitch and Gindin survey global capitalism from its head office so to speak, in order to follow a train of decisions and actions which they contend demonstrate precisely how global capitalism is—and indeed can only be—the logical result of the organization and operation of a new form of American empire.”
  • “A landmark study of the construction and the evolution of the American capitalist empire. To my knowledge, it is the best in existence, wide-ranging in time as well as in space, perceptive, deeply informed, and sophisticatedly nuanced in its analyses.”


  • 'Five questions that demand an answer' by Costas Lapavitsas

    Yesterday the economist, Syriza MP and author of Crisis in the Eurozone, Profiting Without Producing and our blueprint for anti-capitalist change in Greece; Against the Troika: Crisis and Austerity in the Eurozone published a stark warning to his own party in light of the concessions made by the Greek government in the Eurozone talks.

    The Eurogroup agreement has not been concluded, in part because we do not yet know what ‘reforms’ will be proposed by the Greek government today (Monday 23 February) and which ones of those will eventually be accepted. However, those of us that have been elected based on the program of Syriza, and see the announcements made at Thessaloniki [i.e. the ‘Thessaloniki Program’] as pledges that we have promised to the Greek people, we have deep concerns. It is our duty to write them down.

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  • In conversation with Leo Panitch, author of The Making of Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire

    Leo Panitch, professor of Political Science at York University, and co-author of The Making of Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire,  recently spoke to New Books Network about his work in an in-depth interview.  

    In The Making of Capitalism, Panitch and co-author Sam Gindin argue that the American state has been central to the creation and maintenance of a global capitalist economy, and that the internalization of American capital in sovereign states across the globe has placed the US at the helm of an informal empire. The book won the 2013 Deutscher Prize for the most innovative writing in or about the Marxist tradition. 

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  • Frédéric Lordon: Syriza in a bind

    Frédéric Lordon, author of Willing Slaves of Capital follows his considered analysis of Syriza's "fork in the road", focussing on the difficult choices the new government face in power.

    We knew that the Syriza experience would provide an object lesson in politics, with all the fundamental bases of power and sovereignty being laid bare as the legal and financial niceties evaporated. And here we are: even sooner than we expected.

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Other books by Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch