To the Editor:
Ian Bremmer's observation that the world is currently experiencing a new wave of state capitalism ("State Capitalism Comes of Age," May/June 2009) is significant and timely. But the notion that state capitalism only began to take shape in 1973 as a result of OPEC's decision to cut oil production is an odd reading of history. Just within the oil sector, Mexico's nationalization of its oil industry in 1938 and Iran's nationalization in 1951 would appear to be important antecedents. One might also point to the economic role of the Japanese state during the Meiji Restoration as an early model for several of today's state capitalist systems.
Associate Professor, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University