Third World gain, First World pain (was Cockburn and Women)

Patrick Bond pbond at
Sun Nov 14 21:33:58 MST 1999

On 14 Nov 99, at 17:58, Nestor Gorojovsky wrote:
> > Our
> > problems have been part and parcel of your
> > solutions.
> This is an excellent phrase. The destruction of the
> Soviet Union has helped the First World to succesfully
> pass their own crises on to us in a way that during
> the 30s could not be done. Thus, it may be safely said
> that ON THE GLOBAL SCENARIO, the 30s were "better" -if
> this means anything at all- than our times.

In South Africa, the period 1933-46 saw GDP grow at 8% per year
on average, the initial development of secondary industry at scale,
and the rise of black wages in relation to white wages at their
fastest rate in history. The collapse of int'l trade/payments (Smoot-
Hawley and banking crashes) was a very good thing for South
Africa, and also Zimbabwe to our north.

This doesn't, by the way, lock anyone into the dependency school.
Uneven and combined development explain things just as neatly.

But Nestor, I don't think it's necessarily the USSR crash that's to
blame here (as you said, Argentina took a first hit in '76); maybe
just a recent era of better crisis management, communication, and
capacity to build a debt bubble bigger and bigger because of new
financial instruments and states ready to act concertedly to save
failing banks--capacity for which few states and credit systems had
during the 1930s? The other matter being the more comprador
character of Third World leadership the last couple of decades
(back in the 1930s, when 1/3 of all nation-states went bankrupt, the
enemy was a group of relatively fragmented bondholders, not the
centralised power of today's IMF/WB/commercial banks.) (Simon
Clarke's 1988 book on this general theme of overaccumulation,
financial crisis and uneven development, Keynesianism,
Monetarism and the Crisis of the State, is superb.)

All this is interesting in part because a very strong Argentine
activist, Beverly Keene, arrives in Jhb this morning to work with a
couple of hundred Jubilee South strategists (from all the strongest
chapters) this week, towards -- some of us wistfully hope -- a Third
World debtors' cartel and IMF/World Bank defunding campaign.

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