New Criticals

Hardt and Negri position the United States (and its history) as representative of late capitalism for a variety of reasons. Ignited by the end of and subsequent fallout from the Vietnam War, late capitalism was faced with a crisis. [18] The ability to control the social, economic and geographical movement of the working class was faltering. The war in Vietnam, one of many revolutionary struggles of the post-war decades [19] marked “a real turning point in the history of contemporary capitalism.” [20] The peasantry’s successful resistance of the United States and its accompanying “international disciplinary order” was the result of a war that was inspired by a crisis in the “international system of capitalist production.” [21] The war did not end how it was designed to end, and capitalism faced its first significant defeat on a global scale at the hands of a small, comparatively “impoverished,” un-industrialized, communist country. This loss of control, however slight, required a response.

As a result, the United States established and led a new global hegemony founded upon “a series of governmental and regulatory organizations, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and ultimately the U.S. Federal Reserve.” [22] Capital wielded “the repressive use of technology, including the automation and computerization of production” as a weapon to reverse “the social process, [separate and disaggregate] the labor market, and [reestablish] control over the entire cycle of production” on a global scale. [23] This was one prong of a two pronged approach, the other involving “a technological transformation aimed no longer at repression by rather at changing the very composition of the proletariat, and thus integrating, dominating, and profiting from its new practices and forms.” [24] To change the proletariat, one must change the very essence of labor. The first and most vital response came in the form of monetary regulation through the creation of international agencies that explicitly dealt with currency in both its material and abstract characters.