Re: [OPE] The Crisis of the Euro

From: <>
Date: Sat Jan 24 2009 - 10:49:14 EST

Paul B

Sorry about that mistake - it was Jerry who made the point re parasitism.
Looking at later contributions after yours on the point of parasitism I
simply do not understand what is taking place. There seems to be a
reluctance to refer to Imperialism or Lenin. In my article on the British
economy and British imperialism there is a clear definition of parasitism.
It is related to the export of capital: FDI, portfolio investment and loan
capital to most of the world outside the main imperialist countries. A
fourth factor is the exploitation of immigrant labour.

Do people deny the existence of parasitism because it is the source of the
privileges of the better off sections of the working class and middle
classes (strictly speaking the new petty bourgeoisie)?

David Yaffe

At 21:37 23/01/2009 +0000, you wrote:
>Jerry said that all capitalist exploitation is parasitic not me.....I
>don't disagree with him in a general loose / slangy way, although you
>and I prefer to use the term specifically in relation to imperialism,
>where such states could not possibly sustain their own accumulation
>without systematically leeching oppressed and semi- colonised nations on
>a massive scale. Plunder is after all not the same as exploitation, where
>there is an 'equality' in the exchange process as we understand it.
>Plunder leaves the victims often without any hope, deprived of the means
>of subsistence or access to any way of obtaining the means of life.
>Because the history of capitalism is so disagreeable it is hard to make
>the distinction unless one has a clear concept of imperialism, ie the
>world after the 1890's compared to the earlier period where there was
>still parts of the world to be shared out. Now it is all about
>redistributiion, outright, inescapable, confrontation, stealing from
>others by all means, and within and between every imperialist state we can
>see this in the most explicit forms.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: <>
>To: <>Outline on Political Economy mailing list
>Sent: Friday, January 23, 2009 6:42 PM
>Subject: RE: [OPE] The Crisis of the Euro
>I am not sure whether you read my article on Britain: parasitic and
>decaying capitalism. Anyway it is available at
>There I give four examples of parasitic capitalism or imperialism. They
>relate to Lenin's discussion of the issue. PaulB is correct to say all
>capitalist exploitation is parasitic in one sense but this concept of
>parasitic relates very clearly to the advent of imperialism and I believe
>is more useful analytically.
>David Yaffe
>At 15:37 22/01/2009 +0100, you wrote:
>> > I think this brings out very clearly the fundamentally unproductive
>> and parasitic nature of
>> > the city of london and of the financial services 'industry' in
>> general. It seems to show
>> > that Smith and Marx were right about unproductive labour.
>>Hi Paul C and Paula:
>>Is that what it shows? Or does it show, rather, the vulnerabilities of
>>individual capitalist
>>economies which are dependent on one or two major industries or
>>sectors? These
>>vulnerabilities have long been known in less developed capitalist
>>economies which, largely as
>>a consequence of the legacy of colonialism, specialized in a small number
>>of economic activities
>>(e.g. 'one crop economies'). The UK, as an imperialist power, came to
>>this condition
>>through a different historical route.
>>In any event, a fews additional comments are worth mentioning:
>>1. the claim by Jim Rogers is surely an exaggeration: the economy of the
>>UK does
>>indeed produce commodities which can be sold. His exaggeration is a sign
>>of the times:
>>just as capitalists in a time of growth and prosperity think that it will
>>never end so
>>too in a crisis _their_ bubble is burst and they can see no end or hope
>>(and it was for
>>that reason, among others, that we saw an increase in suicides among the
>>bourgeoisie during the 1930s).
>>2. From a Marxian perspective, ALL capitalists are parasites living off
>>of the surplus
>>labor performed by wage-workers. The claim that bankers are parasitic
>>reflects a
>>prejudice of other segments of the ruling class and, historically, the
>>landowning class.
>>The landowning class (and, in some nations, the peasantry) similarly
>>tended to conceive
>>of urban areas as parasitic. If banking capitalists receiving a large
>>chunk of their profits
>>from other capitalists or the state rather than from directly exploiting
>>workers, that
>>could cause them to be viewed as parasites by those other capitalists but
>>from a
>>working-class perspective it seems to me that they are no better or worse
>>capitalists in general.
>>3. A transfer of surplus value internationally can be a source of growth
>>for an
>>individual capitalist nation even though and when there is no increase in
>>the global quantity of surplus value produced. Thus, the financial sector
>>assist in the growth of individual capitalist nations to the same extent
>>as an
>>industrial sector (?).
>>In solidarity, Jerry
>>ope mailing list
>ope mailing list
>ope mailing list

ope mailing list
Received on Sat Jan 24 10:51:13 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat Jan 31 2009 - 00:00:03 EST