Can Arendt's Discussion of Imperialism Help Us Understand the Current Financial Crisis?

Tracy B. Strong

in The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780823249602
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823250752 | DOI:
Can Arendt's Discussion of Imperialism Help Us Understand the Current Financial Crisis?

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Imperialism—the political doctrine of world domination and infinite expansion—is actually the intellectual origin of the global financial crisis. Building upon Arendt's analysis of imperialism as one of the elements underlying the rise of totalitarianism in the 20th century, this chapter argues that modern age has seen a shift from localized and limited goals of national interest to the limitless pursuit of power after power with no certain nationally and territorially prescribed purpose and hence with no predictable direction. Limitless power entails the growth of the invisible government, which in turn leads to an erosion of the space in which human beings belong and live as citizens. One result is that nations are increasingly governed on principles of economic growth freed from political limits. The rise of such unlimited economic thinking is one underlying cause of the extraordinary economic imbalances of our age.

Keywords: Hannah Arendt; Imperialism; Totalitarianism; Nation-State; Global Corporations; Globalization; Mondialisation; refugees; Cecil Rhodes; Political Community

Chapter.  3128 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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