D/developments after the Meltdown

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Part of what makes the current conjuncture so extraordinary is the coincidence of the massive economic meltdown with the implosion of the neoconservative Project for a New American Century, and the reappearance of US liberal internationalism in the guise of “smart power” defined in terms of Diplomacy, Development, and Defence. This essay engages these challenges through a framework that distinguishes between “Development” as a post-war international project that emerged in the context of decolonization and the Cold War, and capitalist development as a dynamic and highly uneven process of creation and destruction. Closely attentive to what Gramsci calls “the relations of force at various levels”, my task in this essay is to suggest how the instabilities and constant redefinitions of official discourses and practices of Development since the 1940s shed light on the conditions in which we now find ourselves.

Keywords: Gramsci; Polanyi; US hegemony; capitalist crisis; development; militarism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2009.00719.x

Affiliations: University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa;, Email: hart@berkeley.edu

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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