What is state capitalism?

ROSSERJB at jmu.edu ROSSERJB at jmu.edu
Tue Jun 18 16:35:42 MDT 1996


     It would seem that there are several ways of
approaching this question.  One is to argue that what
is involved is an elite class expropriating surplus value
>from workers in a state-owned economy but without a profit-
making goal in a market economy.  This might fit the former
USSR, although one can argue that there was mobility to
enter the nomenklatura ruling class (US capitalists say the
same thing about the US ruling class).  Central planners
determined allocation of the surplus.
     Another would be to insist that it must involve a profit-
maximizing mode of behavior within essentially market economy
structures.  Here the archetype would be state-owned Renault
in France in the early post-WW II period, or BP in the UK.
Ironically in the Renault case its lack of receipt of state
subsidies reflected that its nationalization was punitive because
M. Renault had been a Nazi collaborator, in contrast to M. Peugot.
     The cases of Egypt and Algeria (and Syria and Iraq) lie
somewhere between these two extremes.
Barkley Rosser


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