Imperialism. Blake III

jones/bhandari djones at
Thu Jul 27 04:24:56 MDT 1995

"Imperialism is thus defined here as:

That system of economic relationship of which the characteristic is the
continuous export of capital from the wealthiest countries in sufficient
quantity to dominate to the functioning of society, and the object of this
export of capital is (a) addition to profitability at home or compensation
for falling profitability at home.  There are in addition, three necessary
complementary requirements.  1. The obtaining of raw materials at an
advantageous price and in adequate, assured supply to the present or
potential disadvantage of competing nations. 2. the development of unequal
trade, that is through financial and investment control the compelling of
weaker nations to give more in value in exports to the metropolis and
accept less than value in imports from the metropolis 3. the
diversification of home production brought about by the variegated supply
of commodities in turn brought about the three foregoing activities.  This
enables the recipient country to defeat competitors in whole sections of
the world market....

"For this definition production, and not exchange or sale, is central,
since profit derived in production must be the physical source from which
all other profits are dervied.  There are, however,...other characteristics
which arise from the above in the present era of imperialism:

a)The importance of monopolies, especially in heavy industry, which in
every advanced state overshadow political decision and which seek to share
apparently unrelated and autonomous diplomatic and military policies.

b) The close affiliation of these industrial monopolies with high finance,
although the relative preponderance of these interests varies and their
degree of identification also somewhat varies.

c) the increasing utilization of government as a direct agent of these
monopolies, guaranteeing them in crises, using armed force to sustain their
interests, and as the tasks of sustaining these monopolies grows onerous,
shifting production bases largely to armaments as a chronic form of
industrial activity.

Such are the postive characteristics of Imperialism.  There are also some
defensive functions which are usually the resort of weaker or declining
Empires. Typical of these are

a. the attempt to hold the greater consuming nations through the monopoly
control of some raw material by the weaker state.  The most celebrated
example is the Stevenson scheme by which Great Britain as the leading
controller of raw rubber production sought to obtain all that the traffic
could bear from the greatest consumer, the United States, with its immense
automobile industry.

b. the attempt to hld on to what remains of profitability where the
metropolitan state no longer can fufill function one, that is the export of
capital. Autarkies, imperial preference agreements, feeble development
schemes to hold the line, are characteristic of decaying imperialisms.

In addition to these central aspects, new forms have arisen recently:

a. the attempt to form world wide cartel, either of producers or of
consumers, on a scale transcending that of national capitalisms.  Such were
the IG Farben-Standard Oil agreements, whose patents policy was definitely

b. the abandonment by certain national monopolies of their own government
as chosen carrier of their policy, and the utilization of another
imperialism to which they become the subsidiary.  The most celebrated
instance was the attitude of French heavy industry producers in  1940

c. the increasing centralization of imperialism among nations just as
imperialism itself arose out of the centralization tendencies of capital
within each given natins...But from this there is (as will be demonstrated
later) no necessary implication of world monopoly."

     --- from list marxism at ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list