Re: [OPE] The Crisis of the Euro

From: paul bullock <>
Date: Fri Jan 23 2009 - 16:37:55 EST


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 -----
  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 than
    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 could
    assist in the growth of individual capitalist nations to the same extent as an
    industrial sector (?).
    In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Fri Jan 23 16:40:01 2009

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