[OPE-L:6734] imperialism

From: Asfilho@aol.com
Date: Wed Mar 13 2002 - 03:06:21 EST

Many thanks to Claus for his 6728. I don't think I disagree with what Claus 
says in his message.

In response to his specific questions:

>1) would the characteristics outlined by Lenin be a part of an *economic
theory* of imperialism as an *international power structure*?

I haven't got Lenin's book with me but, as far as I can tell, it is the 
former rather than the latter. In my view Lenin (based on Hilferding, Hobson, 
etc) was trying to outline economic developments (roughly and imprecisely 
speaking "developments in the productive forces") that would, "in the last 
instance", explain political shifts, for example imperialist expansion and 
colonisation. The international power structure, in this context, follows 
from the economic developments and is ultimately explained by them.

>2) how in your opinion do the  *the pre-requisites for a theory of
imperialism ... [like - CMG] a theory of the state, of foreign trade and of
*unequal exchange** relate to the characteristics mentioned by Lenin?

I don't know! This is precisely the point. I think much has been done in 
these areas (especially the theory of the state) by marxists recently, but 
the theory of trade and the analysis of exploitation through trade, in 
particular, remains underdeveloped. With these theories plus historical 
analyses we may be able to identify certain threads running across different 
forms of imperialism.

**For example**: Ellen Meiksins Wood - if I understand her correctly - claims 
that one of the most important differences between old-style (colonial) 
imperialism and modern imperialism is that the former is based on 
non-economic forms of exploitation and compulsion, whereas the latter is 
based on economic forms of exploitation. This type of classification has 
obvious parallels with exploitation in capitalism vis-a-vis other modes of 
production. I think this is a *very valuable* insight, that has a lot to 
contribute to a theory of imperialism.


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