[PEN-L:10982] Re: Why China Failed to Become Capitalist

Craven, Jim jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Tue Sep 14 18:12:57 MDT 1999

Add to all of that and more that fully 50% of all children born in Africa
today are born HIV positive. I like to use the metaphor of imperialism as a
gigantic "reverse Hoover" vacuum "cleaner".( actually a vacuum plunderer and
dirtier) Whereas a normal vacuum cleaner takes out the dirt and leaves the
furniture and rooms in tact and in fact cleaner than before, imperialism
takes out the furniture (critical resources, talents, local capital, whole
populations, savings, etc) and leaves even more dirt (strip bars, whore
houses, tatoo parlors, orphanages full of unwanted mixed-race children,
Coca-Colanization, ultra-selfish/rat-race individualism, military bases,
mail-order-bride businesses etc) and the "hoses" of the vacuum
taker/plunderer/dirtier--imperialism--include trade, aid, IMF, World Bank,
military alliances, whore/toady academics and policy wonks, selective
technology transfers or transfer denials,loans, luxuries for local compliant
elites, social systems engineering campaigns and techniques, UN domination
and veto power, educational exchanges, media control, textbooks and
professional journals, weapons transfers, comprador fascism, etc etc.

These sycophants of imperialism, who tout the "superiority" of markets,
capitalism, the U.S. system etc and who rotate through the revolving doors
of academia, media, government, "think" tanks and "international" agencies
like the World Bank and IMF, remind me of what Ann Richards, former Governor
of TExas said about George Bush Sr.: "He was born with a silver spoon in his
mouth on third base, and he keeps crowing that he just hit a triple." It is
as if the U.S. was suddenly and divinely ordained as the "superior system"
producing "superior results" through the efficiencies and dynamisms of the
"superior" system capitalism that operates through "superior" mechanisms and
institutions like markets and further, the only answer to poverty and those
who are poor is to strive hard to emulate what made America "great".

So there is no dialectical relationship between "development" and
"underdevelopment" according to the apologists of imperialism. There is no
concept of the "development of underdevelopment" and misery and poverty "at
the periphery"--and in the "core"--feeding and producing wealth at the
"core"--or for elites at the core; rather, poverty is seen as simply the
absence of food and wealth, and the causes of poverty are seen as
originating in not being enough into or possessing values and culture and
talents and propensities like those who have and accumulate the wealth. More
of the same monstrous tautologies that dominate the neoclassicals:
Poverty is caused by poverty; wealth is caused by being in possession of
that which creates wealth including the "right" cultures and attitudes.

That is why I continually refer to the poem by Brecht; it sums it up so
cleanly and accurately. "Those who take the meat from the table, teach
contentment...[and justify their shares and special genius and values that
supposedly justify their unconscionable proportions taken].

Jim Craven

James Craven
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. 98663
(360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
blkfoot5 at earthlink.net
*My Employer Has No Association With My Private/Protected

-----Original Message-----
From: Mathew Forstater [mailto:forstate at levy.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 1999 4:46 PM
To: pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject: [PEN-L:10982] Re: Why China Failed to Become Capitalist

Thank you Louis. I wish others would be less quick to throw in the towel.
If your gut tells you the imperialist nations got and are getting something
from the Third World, maybe we need to apply some mental energy to
pinpointing it.  Louis speaks of the Rodney portion of the Williams-Rodney
thesis.  The Williams part is named for Eric Williams (_Capitalism and
Slavery_), who concentrated on what the industrializing nations got, while
the Rodney portion concentrates on the negative impact on Africa.  For a
more recent exposition of the Williams-Rodney thesis, see Darity's work,
e.g., William Darity, Jr., "A Model of 'Original Sin': Rise of the West and
Lag of the Rest," _American Economic Review_, Vol. 82, No. 2, pp. 162-67,
May, 1992; William Darity, Jr., "Mercantilism, Slavery, and the Industrial
Revolution," _Research in Political Economy_, Vol. 5, pp. 1-21, 1982;
William Darity, Jr., "British Industry and the West Indies Plantations," in
J. E. Inikori and S. L. Engerman (eds.): _The Atlantic Slave Trade_, Duke U.
Press, 1992.

Obviously, in the world we live in, it takes a lot more work to make the
argument like the Williams-Rodney thesis than to argue that "well, the
industrialized countries really didn't get that much out of it" or
"capitalism was really good for Africa" etc.  Unbelievable.  Come on,
"progressive economists"!  I'd love to sponsor a debate between Darity and
Brad, or between Darity and Wojtek for that matter.  (Although we could use
Wojtek's framework and just add in tons of what he is calling
"externalities" and come up with a different bottom line.)  Come on,
Marxists, let's start with "Primitive Accumulation" and we'll take it from
there.  And reserve army for sure.  But some of the horrors, theft, rape,
plunder, slavery, murder, doesn't come up in the "percentages" (although
Darity takes on the "small ratios" theory, in the last cite above, I

By the way, how much pressure did Tanzania get over Ujamaa?


-----Original Message-----
From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu <pen-l at galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Date: Tuesday, September 14, 1999 2:39 PM
Subject: [PEN-L:10968] Why China Failed to Become Capitalist

>There are no statutes of limitation on imperialism. Just because US
>multinationals are ignoring most of Subsaharan Africa today, we can not
>forgive or forget that the damage was already done. Walter Rodney's "How
>Europe Underdeveloped Africa" leaves no doubt that imperialism left the
>continent in a shattered state. The absence of foreign investment today is
>not so much a sign of "benign neglect", but rather that the bones have been
>already been picked clean. Colin Leys, on the Socialist Register editorial
>board, has written an analysis of underdevelopment in Africa that
>elaborates on these points. Titled "Rise and Fall of Development Theory",
>it attempts to skirt the dialectical poles of the sort of stagist Marxism
>represented by James Heartfield and the late Bill Zimmer, both of whom
>argue that more foreign investment was needed in Africa if anything, and
>"dependency theorists" on the other who blame everything on capitalist
>penetration. Leys's basic argument is that Africa is suspended between 2
>modes of production. It has not fully uprooted precapitalist social and
>economic formations, but at the same time it has not been attractive enough
>to outside capitalist investors to warrant the full-scale transformation
>that has taken place in much of East Asia, for example.
>Louis Proyect

More information about the Marxism mailing list