Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 23, 2017

Imperialism is the world-monster that ties all our destinies.

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 11:29 am

Source: Imperialism is the world-monster that ties all our destinies.

4 Comments »

  1. Here is the end of the first paragraph

    Therefore, linear approaches to imperialism, e.g. core economies’ wealth is proportional to the plunder and rape of the peripheries, or in the opposite case, that imperialism simply doesn’t exist, contrast to the spirit of this article. These vulgar approaches to imperialism also lead to questionable political conclusions, as I will show in the following paragraphs.

    I have been pondering more specifcally the question of whether or not, and if so how, the flow of money gives an advantage to the core capitalists countries. It is difficult for me to summarize what I have been thinking about. I sent an email to Louis about this question a few weeks about but he has not yet answered it.
    So here is another attempt to summarize my thoughts. The US government has a budget deficit of 20 trillion dollars. Most of this has been run up in the last 30 years. The US has also has a trade deficit of 11 trillion dollars. Now i can not document a direct relationship between the US federal budget deficit and the US economic trade deficit because I do not have the resources to do so. But it intuitively seems to me that there is a conncetion. I do not think that the US could have run up an 11 trillion dollar trade deficit if there had not been an at least 11 trillion dollar federal budget deficit.

    BUT!! what harm has the US done to its trading partners workers in the process of running up this trade deficit?? Once a US firm or agency makes payment in US dollars for what ever it was that it recieved the foriegn recieving agency or firm can turn around and immediately pay for what ever it is that it needs to meet its own needs. Now admitadly those needs are defined by the local capitalists. But as it is not the duty of the US government to spread socialist revolution and would not be the duty of the US government to do so even if it were run by the spirit of Rosa Luxemburg, John Lenin, and the Marx Brothers, the US can not be blamed for such conditions. (Unless of course it can be blamed for such conditions becuause its agents were coconspiators in a counter revolution.)

    Yet why is it the United States has the huge negative balance of payments? Why doesn’t China have an 11 trillion dollar trade deficit? Why doesn’t Vietnam, or Angola or Indonesia have a balance of trade deficit as large per capita as the USA?

    Something seems to be amiss with this situation but I can not put my finger on it.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — July 24, 2017 @ 3:44 pm

  2. If there is an answer, I think it is that investors in the core capitalist countries own large stakes in firms that accumulate trade surpluses in the countries you mention. In other words, measuring trade by country like this is an imprecise way of calculating the accumulation of capital.

    If I remember correctly the New Left Review published an article about how many of the largest firms in the important sectors of the Chinese economy are subject to significant, and sometimes majority, ownership by foreign investors.

    Of course, in the long term, this could result in a transfer of economic power from the US to China, as it did from the UK to the US, but the point of the New Left Review article is that such predictions are, for now, premature.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 24, 2017 @ 7:49 pm

  3. That national trade statistics hide crucial information about WHO it is that is accumulating the wealth from trade is a very interesting idea. Therefore for a global capitalist it would not really make any difference what way money is flowing around the world as long as his/her corporate nets are capturing it. But I bet that in many countries on the planet not every important decision maker is a global capitalist. The beauracracy also has to be satisfied. Does a global capitalist have nationalist asperations? What about the Chinese, German, Japanese, Indian, Pakisatani, Nigerian, or Brazilian equivelent of a GS-15? I suspect that most GS-15s in most countries have nationalistic asperations.

    Because of the location of the United States it is very expensive to attack the landmass of the US militarily. But that same distance makes it expensive for the US to attack other countries as well. Therefore it seems to me that if the GS-15s of the world really wanted to isolate the US economically the rest of the world could safely do it. At this point anything that the US can do either the Europeans or the Asians can do better. Most important natural resources now lie outside of the United States. Yet up to now there has been no political will to do that.
    The United States has been a pain in the ass for most of the world for at least 60 years that the world has put up with. I find it odd that industrially powerful countries like Germany and Japan continue to rely on alliances with the USA rather than resource rich Russia while at the same time the Chinese and Indians continue to work to make American life enjoyable. I must be missing something.

    The reason that I am missing something is that people who know what I am missing are not telling the world. I am refering not to the global capitalists who are directly benefiting from the situation but from those people who work in positions of trust in governments around the world who seem to be missing something now just as people in positions of trust missed a crime of massive proportions in 1942 when no one publically questioned the decision to invade North Africa rather than Sweden, (and Spain if neccessary) in WW 2 which needlessly prolonged the war resulting in the unneccessary deaths of millions of people, not only Russians, but Ukrainians and Poles and Lithuanians too. (not to mention Croats, Serbs Greeks, Italians…………….)

    Ah but let me clarify something. What is being hidden in this case might not be a crime. Because even though Americans are made richer by being able to spend money that they would not otherwise have if it were not for federal budget deficits, if the people recieving that money are not harmed can we say that a crime has been committed?

    Comment by Curt Kastens — July 24, 2017 @ 10:40 pm

  4. Well I guess I should clarify something I mentioned above. Of course Germany and Japan were not going to ally with the resource rich USSR even though the USA was a pain in the ass even before Ronald Reagen became pres. Yet after the fall of the USSR why did Germany not push for the end of NATO since the official reason for its formation no longer existed? Could it be that the official reason for the existence of NATO might not be the real reason for the existence of NATO? Regardless of the answer to that question has anyone but me ever wondered why the leaders of Germany have been appeasing the USA since 1989? Is it because the leadership of Germany works out of Washington or that the leadership of Germany really is in tune with US leadership, or that they are unhappy but can not do anything about it because the risks and costs of trying would be to high, or because the German leadership only thinks that the risks and costs would be to high because they are not devious enough to figure out how to neutralize the risks and the costs?
    As an American with considerable ties to the USA I do not fear American defeat. The defeat of America would be the liberation of Americans, even if that meant America was isolated from the world.
    That brings me back to the USSR. It was big enough that it should have been able to establish socialism on its own, even if the face of a hostile world, had its leaders played their cards right.
    That brings me back to socialism and barbarism. Cooperation is much better than competition at efficiently meeting people’s needs. Yet, most socialist do not have their feet rooted in concrete, or the soil for that matter. Socialist fantasies do not work, except for one. Well maybe it won’t work either but I would be willing to consider it. That one is Parecon. Bitch about barbarism all you want it can do one thing multitudes better than socialism. That is it can build complex networks of cooperation without the use of a centralized command structure much better than socialism. Do I need to support that assertion? Parecon might be the exception. But as the economist Markus Wolff says, both capitalism and socialism have failed. The only way forward is a mixed economy. Well, why should anyone believe anyone that often appears on RT anyways? Furthermore, I personally do not trust Markus Wolff either. He has made mistakes in the past. But, he does have quite a following. That is why I quote him and not say Glen Ford.

    Everything that I just wrote was beside the main (key) point anyways, which is the crucial question that stands before us now is understanding how the fiscal and monetary policies of the systems (governments) that are currently in place shape the world? If you think that you know the answer to that question you should tell me, so that plans can be made for a transition theory.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — July 26, 2017 @ 9:14 pm


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