In This Review

Empire
Empire
By Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri
Harvard University Press, 2000, 512 pp

A sweeping neo-Marxist vision of the coming world order. The authors argue that globalization is not eroding sovereignty but transforming it into a system of diffuse national and supranational institutions -- in other words, a new "empire." Whereas European imperialism was built on notions of national sovereignty and geographic cohesion, this empire has no political center or territorial limits. Nor is the new order simply a creation of American hegemony. Rather, power resides in the rules and logic of the global order itself, which in turn is rooted in the transforming capitalist system of production. The new empire has a great capacity for "oppression and destruction," but its power stems from the unrelenting logic of global capitalism more than from individual states or leaders. The most interesting chapter assesses the rise of supranational juridical order and the merging of domestic and international law. Yet in their search for a political agenda that might allow the weak to resist the empire, the authors never make clear what this resistance would mean -- because their vision of the global order encompasses all of modern life.