Financial Elites and Transnational Business

Financial Elites and Transnational Business

Who Rules the World?

Edited by Georgina Murray and John Scott

Several expert contributors focus on global issues, including the role of transnational finance, interlocking directorates, ownership and tax havens. Others examine how these issues at the global level interact with the regional or nation state level in the US, the UK, China, Australia and Mexico. The books scrutinizes globalization from a fresh, holistic perspective, examining the relationship between the national and transnational to uncover the most significant structures and agents of power. Possible policy futures are also considered.

Chapter 10: Outward Bound: Transnational Capitalism in China

Jerry Harris

Subjects: business and management, international business, economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, international politics, political economy, public policy

Extract

Jerry Harris Will China rule the world? Or more precisely will the class that rules China rule the world? It is an important distinction. The class question turns our attention to transnational capitalism, while posing the question in terms of “China” asserts the primacy of nation states in international relations. Most students of China take a nation-centric viewpoint, and Western observers constantly worry about the changing balance of power. But if we take the class approach to China’s global economic integration we find a transnational capitalist class with Chinese characteristics. In analyzing the ruling class we can identify different power networks that interconnect and often overlap. These networks divide into four nodes. The most important sector is the capitalist class: those who own and control the means of production and to a large extent determine the relations of production and the relations of power between classes. The political elite are responsible for the state and can moderate the relations of production, guide social and environmental reproduction, regulate production, and through state ownership control essential aspects of the physical and social infrastructure as well as determine the economic conditions for public workers. The governing elite also includes the political and technocratic leadership of transnational institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. The military/industrial complex (MIC) should be considered a separate network of power, a hybrid of the state and war industry with an internal culture that sets it off from other institutions. The...

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