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

From: Paula <>
Date: Fri Jan 22 2010 - 19:24:30 EST

Paul C wrote:
> Then your definition of imperialist is so general as to cover practically
> all states. If so, why bother with it as a distinct category - why not
> just use the term capitalist state?

The category points to a periodization - the distinction I'm concerned with
is between capitalist nations (or states) before and during the epoch of
world capitalism.

Dave wrote:
>the very concept of imperialist *nation* is problematic in itself because
>it really is an ideological entity unlike a territorial state. Moreover,
>throughout history you'll find several imperialist 'non-nations'. It is
>only sensible to speak of imperialist states, and presumably also a
>corresponding economy even if we have not agreed about its characteristics
>and properties.

There are several possible meanings for the word *nation*. What I'm
referring to is more than an ideological entity. It is a relation between a
territorially-organized capital and the state that defends its interests
against those of its international competitors. But this relation in turn
involves others - class relations, economic structure, ideology, etc. The
state is indeed a key component, but your suggested expression 'imperialist
state' would leave these other things out. 'Nation' is the most
comprehensive word I can think of, though I admit it's confusing.

Jerry wrote:
>What I would say - and development economists
would agree, I think - is that there are a variety of indicators which can
be and are used to make this
categorization. If you recall correctly, you would remember that I indicated
that the choice of
indicators often reflects the theoretical perspectives of different authors.

Yes, you said this before, but the fact that other people compare and
categorize nations according to various indicators proves nothing. You still
need to address the following questions - which of those indicators do *you*
use to differentiate between imperialist and non-imperialist nations? And
where do *you* draw the line?

> For instance, according to your tentative definition, the fifty poorest
nations of the world (as indicated by the 2005 Human Development Report of
the United Nations) are ALL imperialist nations!!! [clip] This is where
your fear of "Third Worldism" has brought you.

Turn it around - this is where "Third Worldism" brings us, to defining
imperialism as *only* the most developed and most advanced capitalism. But
historically we know that imperialist nations can be very poor and
underdeveloped. For example, Russia under the last czar. So "Third Worldism"
presents us with the following puzzle. By virtually any development
indicator we care to choose, Russia today is substantially more advanced
than she was in 1905, the year she lost a war with Japan. In the intervening
period, she has narrowed the gap with top European nations such as France
and Germany, and in some respects - for example in military terms - she has
surpassed them. What should we conclude from this, Jerry? That Russia is
imperialist today but was a neo-colony in 1905?

But if Russia was imperialist in 1905, why not India in 2010?
And why not Russia in 2010?


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Received on Fri Jan 22 20:14:18 2010

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