Category: political economy

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.


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)



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%’.

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.

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.

Reframing Media and Cultural Studies in the Age of Global Crisis-  new WPCC issue

Reframing Media and Cultural Studies in the Age of Global Crisis- new WPCC issue

Exciting times for WESTMINSTER PAPERS IN COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE as a new audio commentary issue on the topic of Reframing Media and Cultural Studies in the Age of Global Crisis for a new era of is to be published in 2017 as January turns to February.

In the words of Dr Tarik Sabry in the edition’s editorial:

‘In an age of ongoing economic and political crisis, military conflict displacing millions of people and systems of governance and democracy in question, a reassessment of the questions posed by the disciplines of media and cultural studies is called for. Traditional paradigms for conceptualising the media are further challenged by shifts in the media environment resulting from the growth of digital and mobile media. This is a defining moment for the field and a time for reflection and re-evaluation.’

The contributors will be: Paddy Scannell, David Morley, Annabelle Sreberny, David Gauntlett, Paolo Gerbaudo, Anastasia Kavada, Jeremy Gilbert, Colin Sparks, Daya Thussu, Fernando Resende, Jaeoho Kang, Viola Milton, Wenshan Jia, Joanna Zylinska, Christian Fuchs and Kaarle Nordenstreng. Further details are available from WPCC’s home page.


Critical Digital and Social Media Studies is a new book series edited by Prof Christian Fuchs on behalf of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies and published by the University of Westminster Press (UWP). We invite submissions of book proposals that fall into the scope of the series.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE Monday 30 January 2017 23:00 BST, per e-mail to Andrew Lockett (University of Westminster Press Manager),

CALL DETAILS After the publication of the first title in the series we invite submission of book proposals (adhering to the guidelines set out below) accompanied by one full chapter for books in the range of 35,000-80,000 words. The books in the series are published online in an open access format available online without payment using a Creative Commons licence (CC-BY-NC-ND) and simultaneously as affordable paperbacks. We are able to publish a number of books in the call without any book processing charges thanks to generous support by the University of Westminster Library that covers these fees. Potential authors are welcome to contact the series editor outside of the initial time frame of this call for book proposals but should note that priority for funding support for suitable projects will be given to those proposals meeting the deadline. There is a preference for the submission of proposals for books whose writing can be finished and that can be submitted to UWP within the next 6-9 months.

Outside these time frames authors are welcome to submit to the publisher (, but will be notified if funding has already been allocated and the prospective date for the next call for publication. Authors who have access to open access fee-funding (e.g. covered by research project funding, universities or other institutions) that can cover the fees for layout and production are welcome to contact the publisher outside of the submission dates, but should note selection is based only on grounds of quality and suitability for the series notwithstanding that the series wishes to welcome as many suitable titles as possible. We welcome submissions of a book outline proposal with (exactly one) sample chapter. We can only accept suggestions for books written in English. For further details see the Proposal Guidelines below or if you have questions about the publishing process email

The book series “Critical Digital and Social Media Studies” publishes books that critically study the role of the Internet, digital and social media in society and make critical interventions. Its publications analyse how power structures, digital capitalism, ideology, domination, social struggles shape and are shaped by digital and social media. They use and develop critical theories, are profoundly theoretical, and discuss the political relevance and implications of the studied topics. The book series understands itself as a critical theory forum for Internet and social media research that makes critical interventions into contemporary political topics in the context of digital and social media. It is also interested in publishing works that based on critical theory foundations develop and apply critical social media research methods that challenge digital positivism. It furthermore is interested in digital media ethics that are grounded in critical social theories and critical philosophy. The book series’ understanding of critical theory and critique is grounded in approaches such as critical political economy and Frankfurt School critical theory.

Example topics that the book series is interested in include: the political economy of digital and social media; digital and informational capitalism; digital labour; ideology critique in the age of social media; new developments of critical theory in the age of digital and social media; critical studies of advertising and consumer culture online; critical social media research methods; critical digital and social media ethics; working class struggles in the age of social media; the relationship of class, gender and race in the context of digital and social media; the critical analysis of the implications of big data, cloud computing, digital positivism, the Internet of things, predictive online analytics, the sharing economy, location- based data and mobile media, etc.; the role of classical critical theories for studying digital and social media; alternative social media and Internet platforms; the public sphere in the age of digital media; the critical study of the Internet economy; critical perspectives on digital democracy; critical case studies of online prosumption; public service digital and social media; commons-based digital and social media; subjectivity, consciousness, affects, worldviews and moral values in the age of digital and social media; digital art and culture in the context of critical theory; environmental and ecological aspects of digital capitalism and digital consumer culture.

For books to be considered for the series please follow the guidelines below including the following:

UWP proposals to be presented under headings rather than as a questionnaire the following being suggested as a framework.
• 1. Case for the book, its scope (short 150 word summary)
• 2. Author details and biography.
• 3. Context for the book (relation to the wider academic field/s) and relation to CDSMS series aims.
• 4. Summary of the book’s aims (longer summary)
• 5. Chapter plan.
• 6. Readership and how to reach it.
• 7. Competing and related books.
• 8. Delivery date, length and any other publishing specifics.
• 9. Sample Chapter (attach exactly one sample chapter).

The following material should be incorporated.

1) Name of book and a description in 150-200 words; why a book is needed in the area and what is distinctive and unique about the book in terms of intellectual contribution and subject matter.
2) In addition a longer summary of the book’s distinctive intellectual contribution both in terms of the wider intellectual field but also in terms of the author’s own publications history. (This should preface the chapter plan mentioned in 5).
3) Details of author or principal editor/editor’s contact details and one paragraph detailing institutional affiliations, relevant previous publications and relevant history of research underlying the book.
4) If a single or dual authored book, the length of the book, the proposed delivery date.
5) A chapter plan would be required with a paragraph of content about the coverage of each chapter and brief details of bibliography, appendices and other apparatus proposed.
6) Any presentation or production preferences or typesetting or production requirements for the book including use of illustration, data, specialist typography or colour printing.
7) Core readership and subject areas the book would appeal to and cover, and any tertiary audiences either in terms of general interest or other academic fields.
8) An account of competing titles and books closest resembling that in your proposal; what is the books unique intellectual contribution?
9) How should the readership for the book in your opinion be best identified and reached? What factors do you think are most relevant in terms of ensuring the book is successfully published and makes an impact? Are there other things you think it important to stress about the readership for the book and how they might be reached?

Series proposals are peer-reviewed in accordance with standard university press practice via the series editor, editorial board members and additional external referees where appropriate.

For Download and Purchase.

Introductory video from the book launch.

FORTHCOMING 2017 AND ONWARDS (all titles provisional)
Mariano Zukerfeld (CONICET), Argentina.

A RADICAL POLITICS FOR THE INTERNET: Digitizing the Political Theories of Arendt and Rancière
Trevor Smith (from 2017), Carleton University Ottowa.

Scott Timcke, University of the West Indies, at St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago.

Edited by Marco Briziarelli, University of New Mexico and Emiliana Armano, the State University of Milan.

Kane Xavier Faucher, Western University, Ontario, Canada.

Dr Annika Richterich, Maastricht University

Dr Thomas Allmer, University of Stirling, UK
Dr Mark Andrejevic, Pomona College, USA,
Dr Miriyam Aouragh, University of Westminster, UK
Charles Brown, University of Westminster, UK
Dr Eran Fisher, Open University of Israel,
Dr Peter Goodwin, University of Westminster, UK
Prof Jonathan Hardy, University of East London, UK
Dr Kylie Jarrett, Maynooth University, Ireland
Dr Anastasia Kavada, University of Westminster, UK,
Dr Maria Michalis, University of Westminster, UK,
Dr Stefania Milan, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands,
Dr Vincent Mosco, Queens University, Canada,
Dr Jack L Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Dr Jernej Amon Prodnik, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia,
Dr Marisol Sandoval, City University London, UK
Dr Sebastian Sevignani, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany
Dr Pieter Verdegem, University of Westminster. 

Critical Digital and Social Media Studies