Re: [OPE-L] Imperialism in our century

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Mon Dec 31 2007 - 06:52:07 EST

I have reservations about Lenins analysis myself and have not read Bukharin, but I think that in terms of getting the main thrust of political and economic development for the first half of the century he was right.
I would agree that there needs to be a proper anlysis of foreign trade and capital movements , which lenins work lacked, but that did not stop it being accurate in its analysis of the aims of the main imperial powers.

In the current conjucture, the article by Cerni raises isssues as to whether there is likely to be conflict between the USA as a declining power and China. It is unfair to say that you knew all this 20 years ago. 20 years ago the USA had not seen the sharp fall in manufacturing and the sharp rise in Chinese imports that it now has. Paula Cerni rightly lays emphasis on the unproductive character of much of the US economy and it dependence on productive labor perfomed overseas. This is much more marked than it was 20 years ago.

Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 3125

-----Original Message-----
From: OPE-L on behalf of Jurriaan Bendien
Sent: Mon 31/12/2007 11:23 AM
Subject: [OPE-L] Imperialism in our century
I'm sorry but this does not add much to the knowledge I obtained twenty years ago. Contrary to the Left, I take the view that the theories of Hilferding, Lenin, Bukharin and Luxemburg about imperialism were in large part mistaken, 

- partly because of simple faults in interpreting business activity, 
- partly because of a faulty reading of the real history of capitalism, and 
- partly because they extrapolated from Marx's unfinished work, without completing what he said out to do.

This has the effect that short-term trends and surface phenomena are mistaken for structural, durable phenomena. Presumably a valid theory of economic imperialism would need to begin with a critique of the theory of foreign trade and the political economy of colonialism, and it would need to show how the international expansion of capitalism conforms to the logics of capital accumulation. It would also need to pay attention to the international labour market and migration. I think the 1970s Anglo-Saxon discussions in the New Left about imperialism were also set back, because important works such as by Palloix, Neussus and Busch were never translated. 


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