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The Roots of Contemporary Imperialism: The Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution, and 200 Years of Corporate Dictatorship Paperback – 16 Jul 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University Press Of America (16 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761846603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761846604
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,482,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Valerio Volpi was born in Naples and raised in Cagliari, Sardinia, where he earned a degree in political science. He has an M.A. in international relations from St. John's University and a Ph.D. in comparative institutions and politics from the University of Bari. He is currently living in Rome.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr Ian J Baker on 29 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Volpi sets the tone of the book by introducing the subject matter and structure of what is to follow by espousing the world view of current liberal political scientists and historians, namely that the world we inhabit is controlled by an elite, following a capitalist, economically imperialist system, in which power and wealth accumulate amongst this hegemonic group.

From here, the title of the book captures the purpose of Volpi's work, the explanation of how and why this system exists, and where it all began. The author pulls no punches, for him the roots of this system can be found in the thinking of John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and even Machiavelli and Polybious, which provided not only inspiration, but the guiding principles of the Founding Fathers' political aspirations which were sealed into the very fabric of the US Constitution.

I'd imagine for some patriotic Americans, particularly the ones who see the Founding Fathers vision for America as akin to some divine mantra, Volpi's hypothesis would be sacrilege or at least hard to swallow. For these readers, I would just ask you to read the work, take on board the meticulously undertaken research of the historical record, complete with detailed citations and quotations, and draw your own conclusions.

The early part of the book is written stylistically with an academic research approach, which is necessary in order to provide the evidence for which the hypothesis is founded. This takes us through the Founding Fathers' political philosophy and the detail of US Constitution.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kerr1 on 8 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
Volpi appears to have been influenced by "radical" authors such as Chomsky, Hardt and Negri and he too presents his own critique of US democracy. What differentiates this book from many other modern works is that the author takes a comparative approach, looking at society and governance both at the time of the Founding Fathers and today. Volpi's study pivots upon research into the economic and political interests of different prominent figures in both time periods in order to demask the long-standing illusion that US democracy (as composed by the Founding Fathers) is somehow the purest and truest form of democracy. For Volpi, US corporations are and have always been in control of the US reins of power and not the people- thus the question is whether or not there was ever a true democracy at all. Throughout his book, Volpi outlines his own concerns about the need to reform US governance and at the end he proposes amendments to the current model of US governance.

I enjoyed reading this book and found Volpi's analyses of US government interesting, although I did not agree with all of his conclusions- thus a good book, to be read with critical glasses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Margherita Muller on 10 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
This book reads like a novel - without -ever- becoming fiction, it does not get bogged down in 'academichese' jargon and yet has all the good things about academic tone: well researched, always backed up by facts, making connections that will open new perspectives. I cannot praise the style well enough and although I am not entirely familiar with some of the topics, I am used to reading academic essays on a regular basis and to be able to produce a good academic work which is NOT boring is a hard task indeed. One that Volpi achieves with a naturalness that I envy him. Great work, reads very smoothly and really informative.
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Format: Paperback
The Roots of Contemporary Imperialism: The Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution, and 200 Years of Corporate Dictatorship
by Valerio Volpi (Author)
Publisher: University Press of America
ISBN-13: 978-0761846604

The polemic within this work can be summarized as follows: the corporate conglomerate within American society has become so powerful that it dictates US government policy at all levels. The recent ascent of corporate dictatorship is a direct legacy of the political aspirations, and can be traced back to the founding fathers who began the American Imperialist tradition.

Individuals have no power against corporations who control all the important aspects of society. Taxation and accountancy, legal protectionism, political direction and medicine are all designed to ensure the corporate ideal flourishes under the pretext of the freedom of the commercial market. You can't oppose the individual's rights to freedom and at the same time oppose the rampant behavior of Big Business such is the way the two are intertwined in the American psyche. No matter how good your case, corporations will always get the nod from the Supreme Court.

What can be done to balance out this injustice that pervades the American way of life? The final chapters discuss possible mechanism to rebalance the equation. This basically includes regulation: of the banking industry; funding for political lobbying; the media... in fact all the mechanisms corporations used to get to their pre-eminent position.
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