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American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission [Paperback]

Stephen Gill
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

April 24 1992 Cambridge Studies in International Relations (Book 5)
American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission, first published in 1991, makes an original contribution to a subject of great interest to specialists and students of international relations and international political economy - the extent and nature of America as an international power and a hegemonic state up until the end of the 1980s. In examining the role of the USA in the post-war world order, Stephen Gill challenges arguments concerning the relative decline of American hegemony. He maintains that instead of equating hegemony with the dominance of one state over other states, one should redefine the question of hegemony in terms of the relationship between economic, military, cultural and political forces. Gill also develops a concept of transnational hegemony - the rise in the power of internationally mobile capital.

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Review of the hardback: '... a thoughtful as well as provocative study of the global political economy which effectively challenges the assumptions of mainstream realist and liberal international relations scholars. Even those who disagree with its conclusions will learn from it.' American Politics Review

Review of the hardback: 'This book is much more than a study of the Trilateral Commission or another contribution to the debate on hegemonic decline. It is a demonstration of how to write about a global political economy that is as much a relationship of classes and a process of ideological formation as it is an interstate system - an historical bloc in Gramsci's sense of the term. This is a pioneering work in the study of global structural change that goes well beyond conventional international relations theory.' Robert W. Cox, York University, Canada

Book Description

Dr Stephen Gill makes an original contribution to the extent and nature of America as a hegemonic state. He challenges arguments concerning the relative decline of American hegemony and develops a novel concept of transnational capital - the rise in the power of internationally mobile capital.

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback
The Trilateral Commission, so much clout, so little mention.
This book is a must! why you ask? well, it is one of the first and more authoritative books written on the thesis of a Global Power Elite. This book answers the burning questions as to the origin of Globalisation and the rise of the Neo-liberal ideology and more recently the mass protests organised against the IMF, World Bank and the World Economic Forum . So far sociologists and anthropologists have occupied themselves with mere micro-issues in academic circles, but Stephen Gill breaks this mould. Stephen Gill relates the through research made on the Trilateral Commission (TC) since its foundation in 1973; the origins and the rationale which was either provoked(apparently) by the two oil shocks of the 1970's along with increasing military burden and defeat in Vietnam and falling support for American foreign policy. Stephen Gill uses three modes of interpretation :Marxists, Liberal and Realist. He also provides provides ethnographies from the Trilateral members which aid in the process of understanding the background of its members with special regard to David Rockefeller. Gill's approach is not so much aimed at criticising the Trilateral Commission but to give a more objective view of this Global Power Elite. He also discusses the similarity of approach made by the Western European Bilderberg Group, the American Council on Foreign Relations (US),the Royal Institute of International Affairs (UK), the Japanase Center for International Exchange (JCIE) and as he says, its not mere question of conspiracy but more of corporativist politics and a social and economic fact.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Why and How of Globalisation Answered:The Global Elite Oct. 3 2000
By Carl Cordova - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Trilateral Commission, so much clout, so little mention.
This book is a must! why you ask? well, it is one of the first and more authoritative books written on the thesis of a Global Power Elite. This book answers the burning questions as to the origin of Globalisation and the rise of the Neo-liberal ideology and more recently the mass protests organised against the IMF, World Bank and the World Economic Forum . So far sociologists and anthropologists have occupied themselves with mere micro-issues in academic circles, but Stephen Gill breaks this mould. Stephen Gill relates the through research made on the Trilateral Commission (TC) since its foundation in 1973; the origins and the rationale which was either provoked(apparently) by the two oil shocks of the 1970's along with increasing military burden and defeat in Vietnam and falling support for American foreign policy. Stephen Gill uses three modes of interpretation :Marxists, Liberal and Realist. He also provides provides ethnographies from the Trilateral members which aid in the process of understanding the background of its members with special regard to David Rockefeller. Gill's approach is not so much aimed at criticising the Trilateral Commission but to give a more objective view of this Global Power Elite. He also discusses the similarity of approach made by the Western European Bilderberg Group, the American Council on Foreign Relations (US),the Royal Institute of International Affairs (UK), the Japanase Center for International Exchange (JCIE) and as he says, its not mere question of conspiracy but more of corporativist politics and a social and economic fact.
The Rise to Globalism The Trilateral Commissiona as Gill argues seeks not only to ancipitate threats to its authority but also to drive the Reform Agenda as its numerous members from academia and the mass press demostrate with memberships consisting of the scions from American Corporate Big Business, political scientists, Media Barons and politicians. Members like Zbiniew Brzenski, Henry Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, George Bush, Conrad Black ,Bill Clinton, David Rockefeller, James D Wolfensohn (World Bank), Stanley Fischer (deputy leader of the IMF), Western European leaders of Business and finance and heads of Japan's biggest corporations such as the Xerox-Fuji, Mitsubishi bank and Mitsui Bank. The rationale of the TC is bring together the three most powerful Western Elites together to reconcile their interests so as not to conflict in their pursuit of national interests which could lead to an eventual armed conflict as it was the case with WWI and WWI; it was Zbiniew Brzenski who is cited by S Gill as saying that if America did not share its leadership role (The Grand Area )with its counterparts in Japan (Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere) and Western Europe meaning the rising German hegemomy in Europe ( the Lebensraum), a breakdown of the current world order would occur when faced with Middle East threat over oil and commodity resources. The idea behind the Trilateral Commission is to forge a new coalition of Western Powers with aspirations to Imperialism within their spheres of influence via on-going dialogue. This book American Hegemony and the Trilateral Commission by Stephen Gill I highly recommend to academics, journalists, students, prostetors against globalisation and the public at large because of its very approachable writing and informative style.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An enigma resolved April 26 2005
By Luc REYNAERT - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Stephen Gill uses Gramsci's marxist concept of the 'historic bloc' for the analysis of the role of the Trilateral Commission (TC) in world politics.

A 'historic bloc' is based on social forces which exert conscious political actions, and not on states.

Any 'historic bloc' requires organic intellectuals who are the concrete articulation of the hegemonic ideology.

One organisation of organic intellectuals is the TC which is defined as an organic alliance between major capitalist states with the aim of promoting a stable form of world order congenial to their dominant interests (a liberal economic order).

The goal of its formation was to counter the Nixon/Kissinger doctrine of US isolationism and mercantilism.

The author analyzes extensively all reports of the TC as well as its membership.

The Carter Admistration seems to be the peak of its direct political intervention possibilities.

Te author's conclusion however is 'that no simple cause-and-effect relationship between the US policy and TC positions can be detected'.

So, the TC is only an important think tank, among others.

Marxist analysis has two very important flaws. On the macro level, it excludes demographic and nationalist tendencies; on the micro level, it doesn't take into consideration the real nature of the individual.

People defend their class if there is a possibility of personal gain. All proletarians want their children to become bourgeois (lawyers, doctors, engineers ...)

Gramsci is indeed among marxists a special case because the kernel of his theory is an illusion: a 'new man' (without genes).

This book is only for those interested in the TC. Its general scope is flawed.
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