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Palgrave Macmillan

Corporate Capitalism and the Integral State

General Electric and a Century of American Power

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Makes an original contribution to state theory, introducing the concept of the “integral state”
  • Provides an in-depth historical analysis of the development, evolution, and restructuring of the US state institutions
  • Examines the evolution of the organization of the General Electric company

Part of the book series: Marx, Engels, and Marxisms (MAENMA)

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About this book

This book advances an original conception of the relationship between state and corporate power in the United States. Using what he terms an Institutional Marxist framework, Maher argues that, far from passively responding to interest group pressures, the state has been a key agent in politically mobilizing business, and has played an active role in the organization of lobbying groups. Such business associations do not merely express the pre-existing interests of their corporate members, but are also mechanisms through which the state organizes the political power of the capitalist class. They form part of what the author refers to as an integral state—a wider network of state power which traverses and interpenetrates the state bureaucracy, the legislature, the industrial policy apparatus, and corporate governance. Based on extensive archival research, this book tracks the role of the General Electric Company as a pillar of the integral state in the United States from the finance capital period (1880 to 1930), through the managerial period (1930-1979), to the restructuring leading up to the age of neoliberalism (1979-present).

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Table of contents (9 chapters)


“This book offers a ground-breaking interpretation of class, corporate and state power, through the all-important case study of GE and the US state. It shows why and how the class of capitalists can overcome their political fragmentation only through the actions of the (capitalist) state. The ‘integral state’—or the institutional networks through which corporate power is transformed into class power—is examined in detail in this extraordinarily valuable work of scholarship. This book will transform the field of political economy.”

—Alfredo Saad-Filho, Professor of Political Economy and International Development and Chair of International Development, King’s College London, UK

“Stephen Maher’s impressive book draws on political economy, critical state theory, and historical institutionalism to elaborate a theory of the integral state. Maher argues that business associations do not merely express the pre-existing interests of members but are mechanisms used bythe state to organize the political power of the capitalist class in pursuing the state’s own objectives. It is a major contribution to critical state theory and American political development.”

—Clyde W. Barrow, Professor and Chair of Political Science, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA

“Stephen Maher's excavation of GE provides a corporate history valuable in its own right, but along the way also delivers an ambitious theoretical treatise offering insights ranging across political economy, finance, the theory of the corporation, the understanding of the American state and the corporate-state nexus.”

—Sam Gindin, former Research Director of the Canadian Auto Workers Union  and author of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire (2012, with Leo Panitch)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Political Science, Ontario Tech University, Oshawa, Canada

    Stephen Maher

About the author

Stephen Maher is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Ontario Tech University, Canada.

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