marxism and imperialism

Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Mon Jan 23 05:29:48 MST 1995

On Mon, 23 Jan 1995 wpc at wrote:

> I found Brewers book very good, an antidote
> to the very woolly thinking about Imperialism
> that came from Lenin's book of that name.

What is woolly about Lenin's theory? I haven't looked at this stuff for a
while, but when I did some work on it back in the late '80s I was then
pleasantly surprised and impressed by how good Lenin's theory seemed to me
and how much new (post WWI) stuff it explained in comparison to other
theories of internatonal relations. Obviously the theory has its limits,
but it is clearly stated, empirically testible, powerful in scope, and in
general methodologically impressive, i.e., not woolly.

> In many ways it is a continuation of the work
> that Bill Warren was doing before his premature
> death in the early 1980s.

Are your doubts about Lenin's theory due to an attraction to the
Marx-Warren theory that imperialism is a progressive force because it
modernizes backward societies and creates industrialiization and a
potentially revolutionary proletariat? (Claims which Lenin in part endorses.)

> A major problem here is that we still lack
> a well thought out and testable Marxian theory
> of international trade.


--Justin Schwartz


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