[OPE] Patnaik's Notes on Contemporary Imperialism

From: Jurriaan Bendien <jurriaanbendien@online.nl>
Date: Sun Dec 26 2010 - 16:55:27 EST

What's even more amazing is that the "fusion of bank capitals and industrial
capitals" already occurred long before Lenin's imperialism - this trend goes
back to the days of the East India Company in the 17th century - but also,
that many corporations are self-financing, do not rely greatly on bank
loans, and are not controlled by banks.

True, Barclays and Norges are among the top ten shareholders of BP, for
example, but most of the biggest investors are investment companies and
insurance companies, i.e. non-bank institutions.

It is moreover not true that finance-capital "has become international in
the current phase of imperialism"; capital finance, as Marx already
observed, has been internationalized for centuries. The central and local
governments in Western Europe regularly borrowed funds abroad. Al that
happened in the last quarter of the 19th century was that more integrated
national capital markets emerged, and that, from the 1980s, international
capital and money markets have been much more deregulated.

As regards Patnaik's "the four contradictions of globalization":

1) Average real wages may be pretty constant or rise only slowly in the
imperialist countries, but the more significant trend is the growing
disparity of real wages, i.e. the wages of some strata rise while that of
others fall. Wage rates in imperialist countries are not seriously affected
by wage rates in Asian countries.
2) There is no real "over-production" since there is a global market in
which products can be sold.
3) The capacity for demand management has very little to do with the level
of indebtedness; state redistribution is influenced mainly by political
factors and the clout which big investors happen to have.
4) Current account deficits just don't affect the rate of economic growth
very much.

"Globalization" insn't even a Marxian category, and its meaning is in
dispute. The Left ought finally to admit that Lenin's short pamphlet on
imperialism, based on extracts from 148 books and 232 articles, and
published under the watchful eye of the censors, is deficient in its
understanding of economic history, and not based on a value-theoretic
analysis of the world market. Why should our understanding of imperialism in
2010 be based axiomatically on what Lenin wrote in a pamphlet in 1916?


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Received on Sun Dec 26 16:56:55 2010

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