Re: Fw: [OPE] Britain--parasitic and decaying capitalism: A comment

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Tue Dec 29 2009 - 11:22:54 EST

Hi Paul B,

On 2009-12-29 15:32, you wrote:
> Your statement that David Y is " not very interested in theoretical
> discussions
> here but agitation for the political line" seems to me to reflect a
> very peculiar distinction,
> you seem to want to make between what you call the 'economic' and the
> 'political'.
> (Farewell then, bourgeoise Political Economy!)
There is a difference in the etymology of 'debate' and 'discussion'.
Moreover, the etymology of 'political economy' suggests that your notion
is incorrect. It refers to the economy of a state.
> However since you seem keen still to stay back in the field of
> 'purely' theoretical discussion, a number of 'theoretical points'
> occur to me from your initial comments.
> I trust these are of interest to you
Thanks. It is however slightly difficult to reply when you write in red
inlines like this. Please note that I've already answered several of
your questions in previous posts.

> >But even after subtracting the typical ( typical in what respect?
> what does
> this mean? the 'left' parties here, deny, like you, the material split
> in the working class, and call for
> abstract unity with almost anyone)
'Typical' of small far-Left groups in Britain.

The converse is much worse; calling for disunity based on a perceived
split that has a poor theoretical foundation. I certainly agree that are
structural splits based on forms of employment, but not on the basis of
the theory that Yaffe's article advocates.

> (what do you mean? that imperialism doesn't establish markets, or that
> it only operates
> outside a market system??
Given my series of posts it should be clear what I mean; it market
relations when they do not exist or are resisted.

> I would agree that the classical era of capitalist imperialism was
> characterized
> by the dominance of the rentier interest and its distinguishing feature
> is the 'export of capital', i.e. global investment, as opposed to the
> export of commodities. But I do not think these features are
> sufficient,( for what ??)
To characterize and theorize imperialism as a phenomena.

> ( what is this 'trap of nationalism' in formulating a concept of
> imperialism?
> the national struggle for freedom from imperialist interference and
> control is
> necessary for the just development of a society, and will be lead by the
> revolutionary class of that society depending on historical conditions.)
I have pointed to the traps of nationalism in the thread
"Anti-imperialism and nationalism".

> ( please provide a 'properly' conceived notion of national oppression! )
In the said thread I explained in what sense the concept of an
'oppressor nation' would be valid.

> Incidentally I find all this business about 'established ' markets -
> and later your reference to the 'free market'
> as quite anti intellectual.
Please refer to the post where I wrote 'free market'. I have only
implied the establishment of market relations through which capitalism
can operate, nothing more.

> (So here Imperialism is to be related to pre- capitalism ! WHY?)
As I wrote, the mechanisms of imperialism pre-date the existence of
capitalism. Capitalist imperialism belongs to the modern era. Clearly,
there is a distinction between imperial Rome and Britain.

> You seem to be refering to 'national oppression' as the oppression
> BY a 'nation',
> and not oppression OF a nation by another state, which is what the
> term means.
My primary objection is to the use of 'oppressor nation', the oppression
of one nation by another.

> > The article rightly points out the differential between rates of return
> > on foreign assets flowing between the rich and poor regions. This is to
> > be expected since capital exports from a region is driven by precisely
> > the low rate of return that follows from a stagnant workforce and high
> > levels of capital investment. ( But this doesn't explain the
> very high and so different rates involved - the issue of super profits,
> super exploitation and its inevitable political basis.
It is sufficient to explain the different rates of profit. As I wrote
below, the levels can be shown to be *independent* of the rate of

> It also clouds over the fact that most recent investment - up until
> last year - was made by wealthy states into other imperialist states,
> which, in the very next section, you then admit!)
Well, then you have misunderstood me. This is precisely my point. The
bulk of cross regional investments and income flows are between the
advanced economies.

> *(So advanced economies run a deficit at the expense of *
> * advanced countries - very clever)
> *

Was this intended as a joke? Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I wrote that
*those* advanced economies that run a trade deficit --- *far from all*
--- are naturally doing so at the expense of other surplus trading
economies, advanced or developing *alike*.

> You must be confusing the real standard of living with the value of V.
Not at all.
> the absolutely lower rate of consumption by workers in 'underdeveloped'
> ( ie capitalistically manipulated and ruined countries) provides the
> super profits
Do you have data over (i) the wage shares in these economies, (ii) share
of the domestic product leaves the economy; (iii) the significance of
these net income flows in an advanced economy relative to those flowing
in from other advanced economies, and (iv) relative to its domestic
product? You need to demonstrate the relevance of 'super profits' not
just assert it.

The rentiers are detrimental to the developing countries (as well as the
advanced ones) for sure. That is not in dispute. The point is that it is
they can operate through the standard laws of capitalism, without

> > Still less does it entail that rate of exploitation would be lower
> if the local working
> > classes were exploited by 'national' capital.
> ( This last sentence makes no sense at all, unless it is an outright
> apology for imperialism)
It makes sense if you consider the nationalist corollaries that can be
made from the line of argument.

> > how they actually are
> > benefited by super-profits; from which investments are these
> > super-profits in 'oppressed nations' flowing; how this hypothetical
> > economic relation leads to an ideological mechanism which supports the
> > rentier interest? (You appear to be a mechanical determinist )
Look up Roy Bhaskar's work on scientific realism, he lays out the
necessary concept of 'generative mechanisms' pretty well.

> (So why did Lenin have it, why did Engels have it?
Because they were unable to give any other account for their failed
forecasts of the working-class movement in Britain and Western Europe,
respectively. Your implication is that since they held a theory, then
naturally it must be true.

> The consequence of such a theory is to destroy the confidence of the
> labour
> movement in the advanced countries.
> ( Are you saying that workers don't recognise sell outs by btheir own
> trades
> union leaders?,

Tell the unionized nurses of Sweden, janitors of France, auto-workers of
Germany etc. that they are the exploiters of the Third World. What do
you think this false theory does to their sense of unity and moral
justification? That is the consequence of the theory.

//Dave Z

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Received on Tue Dec 29 11:24:48 2009

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