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

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Fri Jan 15 2010 - 06:51:39 EST

I how do you seize markets without the use of tariff barriers ?

One way is normal commercial competition, but that is not imperialism.

Indbtedness certainly transfers money to banks based in the metropolitan countries, but metropolitan states do not generally intervene to ensure that borrowing in another country is done only from banks located on their own territory. Instead the country seeking a loan generally sells bonds to a spread of international banks.

I am not denying that surplus value is transferred between agents in different states via interest payments and dividends, nor that states themselves are typically in debt to the international bond market, but this is true of all capitalist states not specifically the ones you label as semi-colonies.

Also the ultimate beneficiaries of the purchase of say Mexican bonds by a bank based in London will themselves be an international spread of depositors with the bank - an international rentier class a large proportion of whom are not resident in the UK, indeed, given that the UK has for decades had a negative balance of payments on current account, the preponderance of the ultimate beneficiaries for new net loans by UK banks will be overseas.

Backing of landlord classes, or of the propertied classes in general is to be expected, but that is just class solidarity of those with wealth. Again it does not distinguish imperialism from the normal operation of capitalism.

My take on it is that the US/UK invasion of Iraq was actually a radical break from years of prior development in that it was the first time since the Suez invasion by the UK and France that metropolitan powers had attempted to seize resources -- state oil revenues in this case -- by invading and occupying. The opposition to it by the other permanent members of the UN, which prevented any UN resolution, stemmed from the fact that it was such a break with previous precedent. The response of the US and USSR to the Suez invasion had established the principle that the old imperialism was, by the 1950s, regarded as illegitimate by the other great military powers.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Paul Bullock
Sent: 15 January 2010 10:54
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] Britain--parasitic and decaying capitalism: A comment

Paul C,

this is quite mistaken, and seems to want to ignore the fact that we are
talking about the domination, seizure and use of markets in any way that is
suitable. The exact political form of control/influence will change
constantly, colonies, semi colonies, high indebtedness (Highly indebted
states), military occupation, the imperialist political backing of a
landlord class, etc etc For you to focus on this variety is deliberately to
confuse the issue, and avoid the basic material facts concerning the
accumulation of capital on a grand scale. The Lenin quote given by David
Yaffe makes this absolutely clear.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Cockshott" <>
To: "Outline on Political Economy mailing list" <>
Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 4:42 PM
Subject: RE: [OPE] Britain--parasitic and decaying capitalism: A comment

> The point I am making is that wars to divide and redivide the world only
> make sense if you are talking of territorial empires with customs barriers
> and the like.
> That was the key issue in Lenins analysis of imperialism -- that it was
> the cause of world war. If you remove all the key features of territorial
> empire then why do you think it is still a likely cause of world war?
> ________________________________________
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of GERALD LEVY []
> Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2010 2:00 PM
> To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
> Subject: RE: [OPE] Britain--parasitic and decaying capitalism: A comment
>> The point I am making is that the division of the world that Lenin was
>> talking about was into territorial empires of the great powers,
>> both WWI and WWII were wars to achieve such empires. Britain, France,
>> Portugal, Holand, Russia, Turkey, USA had such empires, and
>> Germany Italy and Japan were seeking to achieve them. This was the kind
>> of
>>imperialism that killed tens of millions of people in two great wars.
> Hi Paul:
> The specific type - form - of imperialism can change. For instance,
> Neo-Liberal policies favored by the major imperialist powers in recent
> decades is somewhat different that the policies favored by them in the
> preceding period. This does not stop them from being imperialist any more
> than a change in the the specific location of individual spots on a zebra
> changes that animal into another species.
>> The empires once established and ruled were protected by customs
>> barriers,
> contingent to, not necessary condition, for imperialism.
>> were subjected to heavy taxation,
> ditto.
>> and were exclusive areas for investment
>> and emigration by the invading power.
> ditto.
>> The 5 victorious powers do have vetos in the UN, but this was not by
>> virtue of them being imperialist powers but because they were the
>> opponents of Germany and Japan who had the largest forces in the field.
>> If you are saying that this was the criterion for imperialism -- having
>> a big army,
> I didn't say or imply that - or the rest.
> In solidarity, Jerry
>> then you are dropping all our previous arguments about capital export
>> and>financial influence and saying that imperialism is just a matter of
>> armies.> Your argument here implies that you think that the USSR was an
>> imperialist> power by virtue of being one of the 5 permanent members of
>> the security
>> council, and that Taiwan was likewise whilst it held a similar position.
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Received on Fri Jan 15 06:54:25 2010

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