The main thesis of this book is that contemporary globalization is bringing about a type of imperialism that differs fundamentally from those of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
The most significant difference is that the great capitalist firms, by becoming multinationals, have broken out of the confines within which they operated and that they exploited in the era of colonial empires. Nowadays capital accumulates in a global market. One of its dominant interests is therefore to dismantle all the barriers, obstacles, and political pressures that states can place in its way. Whereas in the past every nation’s monopoly capital took advantage of its state’s drive to imperialist expansion, because it could use this as a way to enlarge the domestic market, today the boundaries of national empires are seen as obstacles to commercial expansion and accumulation. And whereas monopoly capital previously had an interest in raising trade barriers and implementing mercantilist policies, which it saw as defenses against the competition of foreign firms, nowadays multinational capital votes for free trade and financial globalization. I call this new form of capitalist domination of the world global imperialism.