The impact today and tomorrow of Chalmers Johnson

Steve Clemons writes:

Next week, Foreign Policy magazine and its editor-in-chief Susan Glasser will be releasing its 2nd annual roster of the world’s greatest thinkers and doers in foreign policy. I have seen the list — and it’s impressively creative and eclectic.

There is one name that is not on the FP100 who should be — and that is Chalmers Johnson, who from my perspective rivals Henry Kissinger as the most significant intellectual force who has shaped and defined the fundamental boundaries and goal posts of US foreign policy in the modern era.

Johnson, who passed away Saturday afternoon at 79 years, invented and was the acknowledged godfather of the conceptualization of the “developmental state”. For the uninitiated, this means that Chalmers Johnson led the way in understanding the dynamics of how states manipulated their policy conditions and environments to speed up economic growth. In the neoliberal hive at the University of Chicago, Chalmers Johnson was an apostate and heretic in the field of political economy. Johnson challenged conventional wisdom with he and his many star students — including E.B. Keehn, David Arase, Marie Anchordoguy, Mark Tilton and others — writing the significant treatises documenting the growing prevalence of state-led industrial and trade and finance policy abroad, particularly in Asia.

Today, the notion of “State Capitalism” has become practically commonplace in discussing the newest and most significant features of the global economy. Chalmers Johnson invented this field and planted the intellectual roots of understanding that other nation states were not trying to converge with and follow the so-called American model.

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3 thoughts on “The impact today and tomorrow of Chalmers Johnson

  1. Enzo

    Sorry to hear of the passing of Chalmers. Another of that generation’s heavy hitters moves on.

    If his work isn’t well enough appreciated now, it soon will be.

  2. Vince J

    It is so sad to learn that Chalmers Johnson has passed away.
    Very sad news! The US had lost a great voice of reason.

  3. DE Tedooru

    As we age we should make extra efforts to get off our duffs and meet with all those we admired since our youth for they disappear on us sooner than we would ever imagine. After arguing with Prof. Johnson in my year at Berkeley and after, I had always wanted after 9/11 to tell him how right he really is. Alas, I never had the chance as we both never met again. I feel like a big part of my brain has been lost for he so filled it with his writings and interviews.

    Them that God gives us He gives us for only a short time so if we love them we would do well to repeatedly make the pilgrimage to sit at their feet as often as possible. Above all else that tells us that no matter how aged of mind and body we can still learn and can still acquire more of the critical judgment of those who so brilliantly sparked before us. His death is yet another opportunity missed and for that I will long weep.

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