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

Date: Fri Jan 08 2010 - 20:56:24 EST

> >There are capitalist nations which are imperialist and there are capitalist
> >nations which are imperialized.
> Why do you assume these two categories are mutually exclusive? And by which
> criteria do you assign a nation to one category rather than the other?



Hi Paula:


The division between imperialist and imperialized nations roughly - but not

exactly - tracks the division in the capitalist world economy between nations

which have advanced capitalist economies and those which have 'less advanced'

economies. This can be measured in a variety of ways - one way favored by

many Marxists concerns the development of the forces of production within

individual economies. Mainstream economists might point to the level of

industrialization or other economic growth and development indicators.



> > To think that a Middle Eastern country is imperialist simply because they
> > are a "rentier state" or have an aggressive military is fundamentally
> > mistaken,
> > imo. The problem - like so many other problems in political economy -
> > arises
> > often when one tries to attach a trans-historical meaning to a concept
> > (in this case, imperialism) when one is referring to a social relation
> > specific to capitalism (in this case, set of characteristics of an epoch
> > which is a
> > consequence of capitalism). No doubt, there were Empires before
> > capitalism.
> > But, one should not conflate the general meaning of imperialism across
> > history
> > with its specific meaning under capitalism.
> But the Middle East today is not stuck in a pre-capitalist timewarp.



Agreed, but the wealth within the oil-producing nations can be

explained by another process - that related to rent.



> Much to
> the contrary, it is a key part of the world capitalist economy, and in some
> respects a pretty advanced one. To come back to our example, you probably
> all read that the world's tallest building opened in Dubai this very week.



A rather insignificant fact, I would say. Harkening back to the early stages of

capitalism, landowners (also rent recipients) were well known for conspicuous

consumption - just like Saudi oil sheiks have that reputation now.

in solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Fri Jan 8 20:59:23 2010

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