Category: Media Studies

US Military Power and Financial Liquidity

US Military Power and Financial Liquidity

On the last day of the World Economic Forum in Davos an extract from Scott Timcke’s Capital, State, Empire offers a reminder of the interconnected worlds of the US military and international finance. From a section entitled ‘The Military Response to a ‘Global Power Shift’ this extract emphasises the role of the US navy as guarantor of the dominant incarnation of the ‘international order’. 

The purpose of the US Navy is not to expunge rivals, but to use the prospect of force to consolidate control over economic activity, and the standards and norms that govern that activity. David Graeber’s observations about military force and contemporary international political economy complement this view. He argues that a state can use their military power to control financial liquidity.

‘The essence of U.S. military predominance in the world is, ultimately, the fact that it can, at will, drop bombs, with only a few hours’ notice, at absolutely any point on the surface of the planet. No other government has ever had anything remotely like this sort of capability. In fact, a case could well be made that it is this very power that holds the entire world military system, organized around the dollar, together’. (Graeber 2011, 365)

To elaborate, the US uses their money supply to act as an international reserve currency. Much like how once Britain established the gold standard, the network externalities and path dependency of British imperial rule meant that other states had to consider the benefits of monetary convergence, so too do states have to weigh the incentives of monetary convergence on the US dollar. This technique is particularly effective when there is ‘gunboat’ issuing of US treasury bonds as a form of tribute together with the aggressive deployment of financial instruments and institutions in rolling out and maintaining US hegemony.

Considered from this vantage, what appears as the loss of centralized US control of capital is rather a strategy of indirect extraction that involves demanding that other states pay tribute to the US. Within this order, transnational enterprises are enabled by US policy to further entrench indirect rule. In return, the US, through the Navy and other agencies, provides security to corporations to do business. This is accomplished through either rigging international treaties, capturing international organizations, or lobbying and bullying for favourable business relations in host countries. In short, the US security state seeks to create global governing structures to maintain a rule in which other countries must abide, and in which labour is suppressed, and surpluses are channelled to the US.

REFERENCE

Graeber, David. 2011. Debt: The First 5000 Years. New York, NY: Melville House.

Capital, State, Empire: The New American Way of Digital Warfare is published open access, free to read and download by the University of Westminster Press. (July 2017)

Radio and Revolution from WPCC

Radio and Revolution from WPCC


A varied set of articles make up Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture’s latest issue featuring Gretchen King’s survey of the global history of community radio practices and Tiziano Bonini’s analysis of Açık Radyo in Turkey’s Gezi Park protests. Was Twitter or radio more important in the protests, he asks, and how did they reinforce each other’s impact? More contributions are to follow very shortly.

Radio’s role in the liberation movement in Zimbabwe is the subject of Everette Ndlovu’s commentary whereas the motivations of free radio practitioners in Barcelona are hailed in Lola Costa Gálvez’s commentary. She discovers a commitment to the value of non-profit radio as a space for articulating a plethora of views’ supported by music which is shared by an even longer and arguably even more politically charged history of Basque Country community radio analysed in the research article of Jason Diaux, Ion Andoni del Amo and Arkaitz Letamendia of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU.

www.westminsterpapers.org
www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk

THE AMERICAN WAY OF DIGITAL WARFARE EXPLAINED

THE AMERICAN WAY OF DIGITAL WARFARE EXPLAINED


Just released from UWP is a new title in the Critical Digital and Social Media Studies series that offers an analysis of the USA’s historical impulse to weaponize communication technologies. Scott Timcke explores the foundations of this impulse and how the militarization of digital society creates structural injustices and social inequalities. He analyses how new digital communication technologies support American paramountcy and conditions for worldwide capital accumulation. Identifying selected features of contemporary American society, Capital, State, Empire undertakes a materialist critique of this digital society and of the New American Way of War. At the same time it demonstrates how the American security state represses activists—such as Black Lives Matter—who resist this emerging security leviathan. The book also critiques the digital positivism behind the algorithmic regulation used to control labour and further diminish prospects for human flourishing for the ‘99%’.

www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk

CAN POLITICS BE REINVIGORATED USING THE INTERNET?

CAN POLITICS BE REINVIGORATED USING THE INTERNET?

Rejecting both cyberutopian and cyberskeptic approaches UWP’s latest title POLITICIZING DIGITAL SPACE published in the Critical Digital and Social Media series argues that online space is a function of people and how they use it, thus opening up possibilities for politicization while also creating pitfalls. Available to read and download now for free author Trevor Garrison Smith argues that politics in its proper sense can be distinguished from anti-politics by analysing the configuration of public space, subjectivity, participation, and conflict. Interpreting contemporary theories of the political in terms of the internet the author develops theoretical work by Arendt,Rancière,Žižek and Mouffe to present a clear and coherent view of how in theory, politics can be digitized and how the internet can be deployed in the service of truly democratic politics.

All about COLLABORATIVE PRODUCTION, a new title from UWP

All about COLLABORATIVE PRODUCTION, a new title from UWP

How the impact of collaborative production has played out in creative industries is the topic of the fourth UWP book title. COLLABORATIVE PRODUCTION IN THE CREATIVE INDUSTRIES edited by James Graham of Middlesex University and Alessandro Gandini of Kings College, London picks up the baton from such titles as Production Studies, The Sequel and Be Creative by Angela McRobbie and a variety of other titles discussing digital labour. The book focuses on the sociotechnical and aesthetic dimensions of collaborative creative work that have been somewhat overlooked and was developed out of work instigated by the Promotional Cultures Research Cluster at the University of Middlesex, UK. It looks at particular examples in film, television, publishing, art and social media collection in order to further a critical understanding of the integral role collaboration plays in contemporary media and culture. The book – itself a collaborative production from scholars based in the UK, Canada, Italy, Hong Kong and France is available to read and download for free.

www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk

FREE KNOWLEDGE! Critical Digital and Social Media Studies new title and event

FREE KNOWLEDGE! Critical Digital and Social Media Studies new title and event

KNOWLEDGE IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL CAPITALISM will be the second title in the CDSMS series available from May 26th for download here and purchase in print At a preview book launch event held at the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies on Friday May the 26th, Dr Zukerfeld will discuss ‘Capitalist Piracy? Creative Industries, “Free” Knowledge and Cognitive Exploitation. Drawing upon insights from his new book KNOWLEDGE IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL CAPITALISM: AN INTRODUCTION TO COGNITIVE MATERIALISM, Mariano Zukerfeld will discuss how the creative industries took off, how they were propelled by unremunerated knowledge, and how they continue to be so today. Conclusions are offered for discussion in respect to alternative approaches. The aim is to foster a fresh understanding of capitalist exploitation and of how the processes surrounding knowledge might inform future thought. Full details from WIAS.

www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk