[PEN-L:12681] Re: international dynamics

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Thu Oct 14 08:57:55 MDT 1999

>>> Jim Devine <jdevine at popmail.lmu.edu> 10/13/99 04:45PM >>>

>Second, as has been widely pointed out, Brenner focuses on capitalist
>competition as the primary cause of capitalism's post 1970s profit squeeze
>and growth slowdown.  To what extent is the global merger movement a
>response to this competition and how successful do people think this
>movement will be in regaining control over markets and overproduction.
>Would we look to price movements as an indicator of MNC success?

Jim Devine:
The profit squeeze Brenner sees starts in the late 1960s. It seems to me
that the global merger wave is largely a result of the process you mention.
However, I don't think the MNCs have gotten things back to the "good old
days" of the Big 3 in US auto of the 1950s and early 1960s. That will take
awhile, don't you think?

I don't know how price movements indicate MNC success.


Charles: Does Brenner attribute the late 60's profit squeeze to class struggle ? or
mainly capitalist competition ? Where does class struggle within the iimperialist
nation-states come in in his analysis of this period, as it is , evidently, his claim
to superior theory in the debate over the historical origins and development of
capitalism ? Capitalist competition is not the same thing as class struggle between
the capitalists and the working class.

Back to the U.S. Big Three ? Daimler just bought Chrysler. Not much "good ole"
nation-state based competition in that.

Furthermore, after 1917 up to and including the late 1960's period of the Brenner
profit squeeze,  there was a steady growth in nation-states which were withdrawn from
the imperialist world economic system by socialist and nationa liberation revolutions.
This was also a form of class struggle that impacted this profit squeeze and all other
dynamics of the imperialist world economy. In other words, does Brenner take account
of the existence of not only the "Third" World, but the "Second" World in analyzing
the "First" World economy ?  The return of the "Second" World to become a part of the
First World's sources of colonial surplus value is a candidate for explaining the
current First World, especially U.S., long boom, or the relief of Brenner's profit
squeeze, allowing the intra-capitalist competition to be lessened.

This is a fuller class anlaysis than an analysis confined to the class relations
internal to the imperialist nation states. The complete class analysis recognizes the
colonizer/colonized relationship as a class relationship ever bit as much as the
capitalist/worker relationship within nation states.

Lenin , in uniting this fuller class theory with practice, modified the slogan
"Workers of all countries, unite" to "Workers and oppressed peoples of the world,
unite ."

It is not those who confine their analysis to internal nation-state competition who
can claim the class analysis in their debate with those who integrate analysis of
internal nation-state (class) competition with analysis of external nation-state class

>Third, how should we understand the WTO in light of this analysis and the
>current instabilities and crises.  Assuming that the worst comes true, we
>get the MAI, the Government Procurement Agreement, etc., will this
>intensify competition and thus tensions, or will it enable MNCs to stamp
>out contenders and consolidate their strategic position?  Any thoughts
>greatly appreciated.

Jim Devine:
Brenner doesn't draw out the implications of his analysis. His story is one
of nation-state competition leading to a 25-year period of stagnation (at
least for the majority of the population). I would add that this
competition also meant the end of the nation-state-centered process of
capitalist accumlation (Bukharin's "national capitals"). Thus, Brenner's
story implies the end of the process he describes. I don't think the
nation-state has been thrown into the dust-bin of history, but nowadays
almost all of the nation-states, including the rich ones, seem committed to
promoting domestic prosperity only by catering to transnational capital.


Charles: I agree with Jim Devine.  The imperialist nation states' response to the
existence and struggle of the socialist nation-states was to substantially abate the
fierce inter-imperialist nation state rivalry which characterized it from the late
1800's through the Second "World" (i.e. imperialist nation state) War. The imperialist
nation states unified to compete with the Second World and wage a Cold War on that
Second World.  With the defeat of the Second World by through that war, the
imperialist nation states have retained their unity, which objectively means they have
negated their own condition as fully independent or sovereign nation-states and are
transforming the imperialist system to a transnational or supernation-state system,
with such organs as the IMF, World Bank, WTO, new GATT, NAFTA, UN, NATO, U.S.
Treasury, U.S. Military. in short , an imperialist World Government system, a World
Confederation moving to federation of nation-states.

Maybe we should call today's international dynamics the New World Confederacy.

Predictions about the impact of WTO and potential MAI are more likely to be accurate
if made from this perspective on the development of the current world situation.
Nothing good can come from this situation without a New World Workers' Union competing
against the Confederacy.


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