[OPE-L:6587] Imperialism -- Then and Now

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri Feb 15 2002 - 09:23:40 EST

Re Paul C's [6576]:

> 1. There are substantial empirical inaccuracies with regard to the export
> of  capital in the standard Leninist theory as applied to British
> imperialism in the first half of the 20th century in that the UK
> was not a net capital exporter.

How have you measured net capital export (or 'capital invested abroad')
by the UK?  Of course, as we know 'capital'  takes many different forms.
In _Imperialism_ Lenin  refers to the export of capital particularly with
reference to money capital (as measured, for example, in billions of francs
invested abroad from G.B., France, and Germany).   What statistics have
you looked at regarding capital export?

If the statistics show a decline in net capital export from the UK might
this simply mean that the UK has been in decline as an imperialist power
in relation to other imperialist nations (e.g. the US)?  If so, how would
this be a problem for the theory?   Indeed, isn't the decline and growth
of _individual_ imperialist powers part of Lenin's theory and  _emphasized_
 by him when writing about the uneven development of different capitalist 

> 3. Imperialism effectively ceased to exist as a force by about
> 1970 due to the suceess of the anti-imerialist revolutionary movements,
> the internal weakening of imperialism by two world wars, and the
> immense military strength of the socialist camp at that period.

Even if I grant you that anti-imperialist movements etc. have weakened
imperialism, haven't there been other trends related to the expansion of
capital which *strengthened* imperialism during the same time period?

> 4. In the period since the counter revolution in the USSR, the
> processes which allowed imperialism to develop are again partially
> active. This expresses itself most clearly in the effective
> of Arabia by the USA and a lesser extent the UK, the gross violation
> of the post WWII international legality in the attack on the Federal
> Republic of Jugoslavia, and in the recent drive by the USA to
> establish military hegemony over central asia. It is also apparent
> in the partial re-colonisation of Sierra Leone by the UK.

Even if I grant the above, isn't it *also* the case that in the preceding
period (say, post WWI period)  the 'division of the world among capitalist
combines' and 'the division of the world among the Great Powers' has
persisted?  Of course, depending on your position on the USSR, etc.
which parts of the world continued to be capitalist or were something else
(socialist, transitional economies, workers' states, etc.) varied. But,
for *the capitalist world*  haven't these divisions (and struggles among
advanced capitalist nations and capitalist 'combines'  that those
divisions have given rise to) continued throughout?

While cartelization and monopolies in the strict sense may not have grown
as anticipated by Lenin, hasn't the concentration of  production by
oligopolies progressed in a similar manner?  Hasn't the international
banking industry also become more concentrated  since WWI
as anticipated by Lenin?  Hasn't finance capital also grown throughout 
the period?

Perhaps you are simply recognizing a point that Lenin emphasized
in his pamphlet -- the unevenness of capitalism in this (and other)
phase(s)?   To recognize these changes that have occurred in recent decades
seems to me to reaffirm Lenin's perspective on imperialism and
uneven development.

> 5. The level of capitalist development is much higher than a
> century ago, this limits the scope of potential imperialist development.
> The most significant factor here is that both China and India are
> now major economic and military powers rather than colonies or
> potential colonies. The scope of imperialism thus tends
> to be concentrated on Africa and on relatively small and
> weak countries in central asia and the middle east.

There is a tremendous amount of investment by corporations from
imperialist nations in China and to a lesser extent in India. While
it is true that both India and China are significant military powers (but
not comparable to the US in terms of military strength) they are not
such major 'economic powers' when compared to the US, Japan,
the European Union, etc. I also disagree with you in terms of
the 'scope of imperialism': e.g. that scope has been extended in recent
years in Russia and the former republics of the USSR.   Imperialist
nations can *also* invest in other imperialist nations, can't they?
Indeed, the trade among imperialist nations may be of greater volume
than the trade from advanced capitalist nations to 'oppressed nations'
(but I don't have the statistics in front of me now).

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Mar 02 2002 - 00:00:05 EST