Re: [OPE-L] Labour theory of value and trade

From: Dave Zachariah (davez@KTH.SE)
Date: Mon Jan 28 2008 - 13:10:03 EST

on 2008-01-28 15:00 Jerry Levy wrote:
> The trend, I think, is towards the formation of regional trade associations (customs unions) - like the EU.  Rather than
> eliminating nation states, this is simply a different form
> in which inter-capitalist rivalry takes place. Nation states
> do not disappear in these economic alliances; on the contrary,
> the creation and perpetuation of these associations can not take
> place without agreement by individual nation states. The formation of blocs of huge capital in opposition to one another and mediated by state alliances is as far as the process will go.  A single integrated world economy/government is a fantasy which ignores the realities of different histories of class struggle and culture in different nations and regions of the world.  Rivalry and competition among capitalists can never be completely eliminated (unless/until capitalism is surpassed, of course).

You raise interesting and relevant questions. Since I lack a proper
theory of the state I can only be very speculative here.

I don't think an integrated world economy is a fantasy, but rather the
tendency of capitalism---which to date has defeated all obstacles to
this process. Moreover, pre-WWI capitalist economies had more or less a
free flow of labour across borders. (Note that I consider the free flow
of labour, commodities and money-capital on a global scale as an
integrate world economy.) However, I think a single integrated world
*government* is quite unrealistic since the power of territorial states
evolves according to different laws than the power of capital.

I still remain unconvinced that the competition between capitalist firms
today will by itself result in inter-state rivalries---in so far the
rivalries exist they do so already by virtue of territorial states being
surplus appropriators in their own right, i.e. it is the primary cause
which pre-dates capitalism. The competition between US, European and
Japanese firms since the 1960s did not translate into a military stand-off.

But perhaps you can persuade me that this is not the case.

//Dave Z

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