Combined Development and the Critique of International Political Economy

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Radhika Desai's Geopolitical Economy makes a persuasive case for a geopolitical interpretation of international finance. Her argument depends on a particular reading of international economic history in which U.S. hegemony is definitely over, which may or may not be true. The judgment that the strategies of U.S. elites have failed seems largely incorrect, though these strategies have certainly changed with the continued rise of productivity growth alongside stagnant wages and with the expansion of new centers of capitalist development in China and the United States, especially on the West Coast. The amount of surplus value produced in these networks, which is largely appropriated in the United States, has grown rapidly since the 1980s. The long-term decline in the industrial rate of profit is more a function of rising claims on that rising surplus, especially by finance. Still, Desai provides new ways to question the assumptions behind empire and to tally its costs.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Rethinking Marxism