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

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Wed Jan 13 2010 - 12:46:09 EST

Yes but whilst that was realistic up to 1945 it is hardly an accurate depiction of what has been going on since then.
The empires in Lenins time were very real, nearly all of africa and much of asia was controlled by the imperial powers. Post 1945 a process set in which ended that. Imperialism in the sense Lenin talked about was defeated by 1975 with the final fall of the last European empire in Africa.
From: [] On Behalf Of []
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 4:16 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: RE: [OPE] Britain--parasitic and decaying capitalism: A comment

Jerry is of course correct to point out Paul C's incorrect understanding of imperialism. If I may quote from my article Britain: parasitic and decaying capitalism, Lenin makes clear the relation between economic, political and military power:

'These changes in economic strength must eventually lead to a redivision of the world according to economic power. Lenin was very precise about this issue:

'The capitalists divide the world, not out of any particular malice, but because the degree of concentration which has been reached forces them to adopt this method in order to obtain profits. And they divide it “in proportion to capital”, “in proportion to strength”, because there cannot be any other method of division under commodity production and capitalism. But strength varies with the degree of economic and political development. In order to understand what is taking place, it is necessary to know what questions are settled by the changes in strength. The question as to whether these changes are “purely” economic or non-economic (e.g., military) is a secondary one, which cannot in the least affect fundamental views on the latest epoch of capitalism. To substitute the question of the form of the struggle and agreements (today peaceful, tomorrow warlike, the next day warlike again) for the question of the substance of the struggle and agreements between capitalist associations is to sink to the role of a
 sophist’. (Imperialism, the … CW 22 p252/3)

David Yaffe

At 14:27 13/01/2010 +0100, you wrote:

> Surely the difference is pragmatic. A state becomes imperialistic once it> has the political or military might along with the motive to impose
> governments of its own chosing in other countries.

Hi Paul C:

I think you place above too heavy a determining role on state policies.
Yes, obviously, there's a connection under imperialism between
capital and the state, but imperialism is not a state-form. And
imperialism can - and does - exist even where states are not able
to impose governments on other countries through military or other
means. I think you are confusing one form of imperialism with
imperialism in general under late capitalism.

Let's take an example: Sweden. I would say that Sweden *IS* an
imperialist nation - even though it does not have an aggressive
and expansionist military and does not have the will or the
ability to impose governments on other nations. To understand
how a country like Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, Australia,
Switzerland, Belgium, etc. are currently imperialist (rather
than simply former colonial powers) you have to look at a number
of economic relationships including finance capital, foreign
investment, and other factors. "Neo-colonialism" is, I think, a
useful concept to understand here as it relates to non-
imperialist nations.

In solidarity, Jerry _______________________________________________
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Received on Wed Jan 13 13:46:16 2010

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