Postmodern hyperspace

"Managers of the global corporations are seeking to put into practice a theory of human organization that will profoundly alter the nation-state system around which society has been organized for over 400 years. What they are demanding in essence is the right to transcend the nation-state, and in the process, to transform it." - Richard Barnet and Ronald Miller
I read this quote in Giovanni Arrighi's The Long Twentieth Century (Verso, 2010). The term postmodern hyperspace is from Frederic Jameson. As Arrighi explains, it refers to the parallel systems that global capitalism creates in the midst of nation-states. This isn't new, he notes, citing the trade fairs of the Middle Ages, which undermined Medieval institutions, and Genoa's control of commerce at the zenith of Spanish imperial power. It made me think of Google's dispute with China. This is being discussed in terms of the freedom of access implied by the Internet, but it may actually be the latest example of "friction" between parallel systems. (The quote appears on page 82.)


  1. Can you elaborate? I'm doing a review on Gupta and Ferguson's article "Beyond Culture: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference" and I would like to use this example between China and Google. Hyperspace seems to almost be a way of describing a sort of imperialism of business culture, since business is a rather hefty reason for the drive to expand cultures beyond the man made and geographical boundaries that previously separated said cultures. Thoughts?

  2. I just found this comment, so I apologize for not replying. Arrighi's point is that capitalism typically rides roughshod over national boundaries, laws, sensibilities, etc., in its search for profits.


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