August 10, 2017, 6:30-8:30pm, Centre for Social Innovation (Annex).
This presentation focuses on the role of the US State in organizing the American corporate managerial stratum to take part in managing global capitalism in the post-WWII period. Central to these efforts was General Electric executive Philip Reed, who was deeply embedded within the US State Department and participated in the Committee for Economic Development and the Advisory Commission on Information. Central as well was former top GE executive Charles Wilson, who as head of the Office of Defense Mobilization in this period was given unprecedented power over procurements and the formation of a new “military-industrial complex” overseen by the state, and integrating the military, universities, national laboratories, and industrial corporations. As these examples and others illustrate, the global expansion of American imperial power took place not as a result of corporate political pressure, but rather resulted from the initiative of those within burgeoning—and often Kafkaesque—state institutions, who saw that given the balance of world power and increasing economic interpenetration, stability required that it take on this new, and costly, set of imperial responsibilities.
Stephen Maher is a PhD candidate at York University in Toronto, Canada. His work focuses on the relationship between the US state and corporate power, with an emphasis on the General Electric Company. He is published widely in academic journals and popular political venues like The Jacobin. Some of his publications include: “The Capitalist State, Corporate Political Mobilization, and the Origins of Neoliberalism” (Critical Sociology), “Escaping Structuralism’s Legacy: Renewing Theory and History in Historical Materialism” (Science & Society), and “A World After Its Own Image, Or In Its Own Interest? The Logic of American Empire and the Nature of World Order” (Studies in Political Economy).