Arab–Latin American Business Elites and the Politics of Global Imaginaries
Triumphant capitalism has in our time engendered a new global class that lives and works in a borderless world, beyond the reach of national politics or sovereign power. Or has it? In Rooted Globalism: Arab-Latin American Business Elites and the Politics of Global Imaginaries (Indiana University Press, 2022), Kevin Funk challenges the commonsensical view that today members of a global capitalist class have little or no need of national loyalty. Teasing the global apart from the transnational and de-national, Funk delineates a global capitalist ideal type, which he adopts as a heuristic for study of Arab-Latin American business elites. Through relational interviews he shows that global capitalism’s ostensible new class might be more rooted in place than either those who champion its achievements or who reluctantly take its existence for granted would have us believe. Evidence of a global capitalist class consciousness, he explains on this episode of New Books in Interpretive Political and Social Science, is hard to find.
This is happy news, for two reasons. First, if business elites are subject to national politics after all then they can be taxed and regulated. Second, if global capitalism is less hegemonic and more fragmented than both its cheerleaders and critics say it is then it is vulnerable — not only to nativism and anti-globalism, but more optimistically to a different type of globalism from the one currently represented in airport terminals and business magazines. And if global capitalism is vulnerable then another globalism is possible.
Nick Cheesman is associate professor in the Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University where he co-convenes the Interpretation, Method, Critique network; and, a committee member of the Interpretive Methodologies and Methods group of the American Political Science Association.
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