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Turbulent Empires

A History of Global Capitalism Since 1945
Narrated by: Kevin Moriarty
Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
5 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Summary

As Europe rebuilt after the devastation of the Second World War, the former colonies of the major imperial powers sought their independence at the same time the US extended its economic and political power globally. In Turbulent Empires, Mike Mason analyzes the struggles for postcolonial sovereignty and economic domination and how these competing forces led to conflicts and shifting alliances around the postwar world.

Turbulent Empires surveys the major polities and economies of Africa, Asia, Latin America, Russia, and the West and traces the trajectory of nationalist ruling classes bent on exercising sovereign control over economic resources. It emphasizes the convulsions that brought about unanticipated realignments and shocking reversals, such as the rise and fall of regimes, continuous interventions in the Muslim world, the sudden collapse of the commodities supercycle, and the continuing challenge of inequality. 

By the second decade of the 21st century, the global economic crisis of 2008 raised the question of a new global order while the question of American decline, captured in the slogan "Make America Great Again”, became commonplace. 

Both erudite and accessibly written, Turbulent Empires provides an insightful and sweeping analysis of world political and economic history that is an ideal introduction to postwar political science, history, and development studies.

"A gem of a book - accomplished with impressive erudition, written with panache, brimming with insight. A book like this is the result a lifetime of learning." (Jonathan Levy, University of Chicago)

©2018 McGill-Queen's University Press (P)2018 Redwood Audiobooks

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An honest critique of global capitalism

For once we weren't drowning in adulation of how apparently great empire has been. Mike Mason has done a great job of painting the history that is rarely told.... the voice might be a bit monotone for some, but even that didn't put me off from taking in this addictive, broad brush stroke of 70 years of history. He was measured and pragmatic in his critique, clearly well read and in touch with current affairs, including Trump, Brexit, the Far Right and much more. Worth persevering for informal and formal students of politics and global power. I have held back on 5 stars only because I want that chapter on climate change he should have done at the end.

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  • Philo
  • 07-01-19

Calm, thorough, factual, listenable

This survey goes around distinct regions of the globe and gives events, names, and big political and economic events over about 65 years. The story is framed around wealth creation, distribution and destruction population-wide, and a pattern of elites and kleptocrats clearing the spoils for themselves as less privileged masses fend as they will. The central trend of capitalists as depicted here is neo-liberalism, meaning privitization of formerly state-owned means of production, deregulation, and the general downsizing of the state. Here we see the rise and faltering of modern globalization, and economic reversals for broad populations across the globe including the USA middle class. (There are, of course, counter-narratives, as in China.) The author seems vaguely a couple ticks to the left of me politically, seeing a vaguely nefarious USA national-security-interventionist cabal as a source of much mischief and ruin (funny, not completely unlike the "deep state" attacks from the right, it suddenly occurs to me.) For example, he sees Mossadegh's displacement in 1950s Iran (with CIA help) as an unalloyed bad thing. There is some, but no excess, of praise for the contributions of free-trading capitalism for the global masses. But overall he retains plenty of credibility for most any listener (any listener that is, within hailing distance of sanity) through the rich factual content and meaningful observations. I am very grateful for an absence of shrillness and overselling of views, which I find off-putting in any book. I like the narrator's deep baritone voice, finding it consistently listenable during my own demanding cold-weather trail-runs.

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