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Oleg Vernyk: On the Key Tendencies in the Development of Capitalist Global Macro-Economy

Posted by admin на Грудень 2, 2011

Without doubt, a discussion on the main tendencies of modern global capitalism that has been recently revived in the left-wing Internet communities is to be lauded and encouraged. It is obvious that in order to overcome the repressive power of the totalized system of global capitalism, it is necessary to understand its objective traits and patterns of development. With this in mind, the Ukrainian Left Movement would like to propound its own vision of the number of key tendencies within the modern capitalist global economy.

As opposed to a linear-positive concept of the capitalist development, which posits the gradual objective equalization of economic disparities between highly developed nations (hereinafter referred to, in a very simplified way, as the “golden billion”) and the so-called “Third World” nations,

And as opposed to a linear-negative concept, the adherents whereof claim that the economic weakness and backwardness of the “Third World” nations are in itself caused exclusively by the domination of highly developed nations that would in no way tolerate any economic breakthroughs on the part of the “Third Worlders”, as well as the emergence of the new rivals on the markets traditionally divided among the imperialist powers,

I would like to propose for discussion a following pivotal thesis:

Both progress and regression in the tempo of economic development in that or another region of the global macro-capitalism are in the last instance, in one way or another, directly or indirectly, exclusively connected with the struggle among capitalist monopolies for the attainment of higher profit rate that in turn serves as the determining factor in the dynamics of development of one or another region.

In this way, we should live various fairy tales about “evil imperialists” that allegedly try to undermine the development of the “Third World” to different so-called “Red Putinists”, “left-wing nationalists” and other open or closet supporters of “progressive national bourgeoisie”, who are on the one hand completely unaware of the real nature of the totalized system of global capitalism and its driving laws of development/decay, and on the other hand make every effort possible and impossible to exclude their native and beloved Russian (Ukrainian, Belorussian, etc.) imperialism from the Leninist definition of “imperialism/sub-imperialism”. The statement of the fact that the Western capital in the “Third World” nations has been mainly invested in the privately owned enterprises of the Western “non-residents” themselves, which reap the lion’s share of the profits there,  in no way dismisses the very obvious fact of capitalist industrialization of the whole “Third World” regions, as well as the fact of their sometimes rapid economic development. Of course, the opposite examples abound as well. Here I am consciously removing the problématique of the relationship between the TNC and the nation-state with its categorical apparatus of the economic and political sovereignty out of the present article.

Therefore, it is the expected profit rate that determines whether one or another region of the planet would experience the investments in economic breakthrough (as a rule, mono-investment) or, on the contrary, whether the capitalists would invest in the braking of economic development, the blocking of the competitive environment, the monopolization and the resulting de-industrialization of the region.

  • Indeed, one may be able to observe a great deal of the examples of successful global investments or even state-led (national) programs of priority development which resulted in the previously backward industrial regions (the 1990s Ireland, the 1990s Chile, the post-WW II defeated Japan, modern South African Republic, Brazil, Argentina, etc.), or even mainly agrarian ones (the 1960s South Korea, modern China, etc.), coming forward on the whole range of economic indicators within the historically short-term periods.

However, the 1) unevenness of capitalist development and 2) the cut-throat inter-imperialist struggle, which had been already noticed by Lenin in the early 20th century, remain in place!!!

Unfortunately, in some way, the number of interesting variants of Marxism (some currents in Left Communism, Shachtmanism, large segments of West European Trotskyism, etc.), in fact, eschewed the serious analysis of this phenomenon, hiding behind the phrases on the  danger of “anti-imperialist rhetoric” or the “concessions to national bourgeoisie” for the international workers’ solidarity. In themselves, these correct considerations were used here merely to mask the obvious unwillingness to analyze the modern dynamics of the development of world capitalism that has become undoubtedly globalized, but still remained imperialist.

At the same time, those left-wing currents that tried to analyze the aforementioned Leninist theses within the context of laying down any positive program of the struggle demonstrated, due to the whole range of reasons, their superficiality. The Maoist “Three Worlds” theory is a typical example of such primitive vulgarization, where an attempt to apply some linear concepts to non-linear systems with all certainty demonstrated the squalor and inadequacy of  the “Great Helmsman” who led his own nation and the part of international Communist movement into the abyss of anti-dialectical primitivism and eclecticism.

  • However, at the same time, of course, within the framework of the same global struggle for higher profit rate, such situation may be possible when it is more profitable for the imperialist/monopoly to destroy even the germs of potential capitalist competition in one or another region in order to maintain its profit rate on the global or regional market. Such tendency is likewise indicative, with the entry of great number of Western monopolies on the post-Soviet market in the early 1990s and the following de-industrialization of significant segments of Russian and Ukrainian economies as  potentially dangerous and competitive being its classical example.

Therefore, it is evident that two tendencies are simultaneously characteristic for modern world capitalism:

a)      The productive investments in the rapid economic rise of the region;

b)     The investment (in fact, bribing) into the state-bureaucratic apparatus of local rulers in order to destroy potential regional competitors on the global or regional market.

Only by understanding the logic of simultaneous existence of these two tendencies one may be able to deduce both the regularities of regional capitalist development and the patterns of its development on the macro-level.

In comparison with the early 20th century and the analysis produced by Vladimir Lenin in his oeuvre Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), global capitalism has indeed become more complex and undergone the substantial transformation. This in no way diminishes the importance of the said work by Lenin, but a number of characteristic features of imperialism have nonetheless changed.

For instance, while Lenin notes the tendency of monopolies to merge with the state-bureaucratic apparatus, nowadays such a tendency is not so unambiguous, and for some sectors of monopolistic capital directly contravenes Lenin’s analysis.

For example, theU.S.military-industrial capital remains closely tied with the American state apparatus, and theU.S.federal state remains the largest buyer of its production on the market. Hence the coupling of the American military-industrial complex with the U.S. state apparatus, the lobbying of defense orders through the Congress and White House, as well as the aggressive imperialistic policies, usually accompanied with the use of the armed force…

At the same time, for example, the IT billionaire Bill Gates or various TNC that are less integrated with their own nation states in economic and politic sense, as well as transnational economic structures connected with speculative financial capital (e.g., famous George Soros) are in no need of the U.S. state’s protection, with its taxes and anti-monopoly committees. They are likely to flee Uncle Sam into the “Third World” with its cheap workforce, minimum taxes and the corrupt state apparatus that is likewise inexpensive for global TNC to bribe. They will invest THERE and reap profits FROM THERE. And this is more rational for the development of this segment of the TNC than the maintenance of the clumsyU.S.bureaucratic machine, as well as the American proletariat with its relatively powerful trade unions and experience of struggles that is incredibly expensive on the global labor market.

Of course, both these segments of monopoly capital are the enemies of labor and should be subject to their dialectic elimination (sublation), but we should see substantial differences between them in order to enable the correct and adequate construction of the logic of our struggle with them at  the international scale.

Author: Oleg Vernyk, the Chairman of the independent trade union “Zakhyst Pratsi” (Ukraine)

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  1. mattymays said

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