Globalization Unmasked

Imperialism in the 21st Century

By James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer  

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In this book, the authors contend that “globalization” is little more than imperialism in a new form. They argue that the “inevitability” of globalization and the adjustment or submission of peoples all over the world to free market capitalism depends on the capacity of the dominant and ruling classes to bend people to their will and convince people that their interests are the people’s interests. A key element in theorizing about globalization and in organizing to resist it is an understanding that globalization is propagated not to bring a better and more just world to the masses of the people but, as has always been the case with imperialism, to advance the interests of those who already enjoy power and privilege.

“This impressive study lives up to the promise of its title. With careful conceptual analysis and rich empirical evidence, the authors present a powerful and persuasive argument that the anodyne rhetoric of ‘globalization,’ ‘markets,’ ‘democracy,’ and other pleasant and apparently neutral terms, conceals realities that are far better understood within the framework of imperialism and class conflict. Their wide-ranging and penetrating inquiry yields much insight into the core structural features of the evolving forms of domination and control, their severe human costs, and the popular resistance engendered. It is a contribution of unusual value for those who hope not only to understand the world, but also to change it, drastically, for the better.”

— Noam Chomsky

“A rich, revealing, and powerful exploration of the ideology of ‘globalization’ and the free-market imperialism behind it. A vital in-depth education for both advanced students and laypersons.”

— Michael Parenti, author of History as Mystery and To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia Winner of the Robert S. Kenny Award, 2002

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  • Introduction
  • “Globalization” or “Imperialism”?
  • Globalization: A Critical Analysis-Globalization as Ideology
  • Capitalism at the Beginning of a New Millennium: Latin America and Euro-American Imperialism
  • The Labyrinth of Privatization
  • Democracy and Capitalism: An Uneasy Relationship
  • Cooperation for Development
  • NGOs in the Service of Imperialism
  • The U.S. Empire and Narco-Capitalism
  • The Practice of U.S. Hegemony: Right-Wing Strategy in Latin America
  • Socialism in an Age of Imperialism
  • Bibliography
  • Index


  • James Petras

    State University of New York

    James Petras is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the State University of New York. He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet. He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.

  • Henry Veltmeyer

    Research Professor, Development Studies Program, Autonomous University of Zacatecas, México

    Dr. Veltmeyer lived and worked for six years in south America before coming to Canada to pursue a doctoral program in Political Science and subsequently (in 1976) beginning his academic career in the Sociology Department at St. Mary’s University. He has participated in the university’s Atlantic Canada Studies program and founded the program in International development in 1985. He also served for eight years as Coordinator of this program in addition to eight years as chair of the Sociology Department. Currently he has an academic appointment in the PhD program of Development Studies at the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, Mexico and annually engages in an extended program of research and public lectures across Latin America. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of International Development Studies and serves on the editorial board of Studies in Political Economy and a number of international journals in his major field of research-the political economy of international development. Dr. Veltmeyer conducts research, writes and teaches about diverse issues related to the political economy and sociology of development, with a particular focus on issues of Latin American development, globalization processes, government policies, alternative models and approaches and social movements. Since 2000 he has authored/co-authored and edited 13 books and 25 scholarly refereed articles that have been published in Canada, the US, the UK, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador. Several of these books, written in English or Spanish, have received awards and have been translated into other languages - among them Portuguese, Italian, Tugalese and German. In addition to these scholarly books, several of which have achieved international recog-nition and/or special awards and distinctions, 25 of Dr. Veltmeyer’s scholarly articles since 2000 have been published in some of the most prestigious academic journals in his field or by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Places of publication include Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, Argentina, Mexico, the Netherlands and Switzerland

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