Imperialism was closely studied by Marxists in the early twentieth century. Lenin’s work had the greatest impact, but while some elements remain, important changes have occurred. The specific national character of finance capital has transformed to integrated global capital, as has production. These changes were structured by reengineering the state and rewriting the rules for trade and cross-border capital flows, while at the same time deconstructing the Keynesian social contract. The economic and political changes were led by the emergence of a transnational capitalist class. The resulting social upheavals caused by greater inequality have been accelerated by the crisis of COVID-19, which created new contradictions between and within China and the United States. Technological changes have only added to the problems of global capitalism. Massive speculation was made possible by the speed and reach of the new information and communication technologies, resulting in repeated economic crises. A planetary Green New Deal may offer the best hope to rebuild the economy around productive capital and lay the basis for greater social justice.

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