The significance of the transatlantic relationship for the origins and development of the EU is a central theme of this book. In Chapter 2 we saw that the transition to Fordism in Europe was carried out through American hegemony after World War II. Traditional theories designed to make sense of EU integration originated during this period within a distinctively American intellectual milieu. The unravelling of Bretton Woods in the 1960s gave rise to debates about the nature and extent of US power, such as those animated by the publication of Servan-Shreiber’s The American Challenge. These still resonate, albeit within a very different historical conjuncture. Mandel concluded that the EU was developing greater autonomy and power in relation to the United States. Poulantzas, by contrast, contended that the penetration of US money capital in conjunction with a host of corporate practices involving deepening commodification was not leading to the establishment of an autonomous European pole of capitalism but rather to the formation of an ‘interior bourgeoisie’ still subordinated to the United States. Our analyses of the single market and the EMU in Chapters 3 and 4 confirm the enduring relevance of Poulantzas’ analysis. To the extent that Europe’s neoliberal relaunch expressed to an internal dynamic, this was ultimately subordinated to finance-led growth. At the present time, the transatlantic relationship is experiencing great turbulence as a result of not only the global financial crisis but also two related developments that are simultaneously geopolitical and economic in nature.
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