Multipolar capitalism: still capitalism
The emerging multipolar world will allow more people outside of America's empire to enjoy the benefits of capitalism - but it will still be capitalism.
Among multiple schools of contemporary radical thought — and not just in the US, but all over the world — one can find the same implicit premise: a multipolar world would get us closer to global socialism. It’s one of those things that is usually just left implicit, though occasionally someone will say it out loud:
On one hand, I think this is a pretty understandable sentiment. For a good thirty years now, capitalism has primarily operated at the international level through a unipolar system of imperialism under the hegemony of the United States. If this is all you’ve ever known it’s easy to conclude that it is something about unipolarity that has led to so much violence and exploitation. This is particularly true if you forget that the multipolar world that came before was often preferable not because it was multipolar, but because two of the other world powers were socialist states. This is the mistake a lot of younger socialists seem to be making when they casually analogize their support for contemporary support for Russia against the US with critical support for the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
But as the old union line goes, “You don’t hate your boss — you hate bosses.” The enemy of the working class is not some particular national faction of the bourgeoisie, but the bourgeoisie as a class. We shouldn’t care if some decrepit bourgeois creep who gets rich off of the labor of others has a home address in New York City or Moscow or Beijing; we should want him gone.
And the historical socialist to this problem, which I think is still correct today, is a global socialist state. At the very least, you need a global institution with the authority to deal with basic problems like capital flight, offshoring, tax shelters, international inequality, core / periphery developmental dynamics, and so on.
So again, I ask: how do the multipolarists intend to get us there?