Yugoslavian "colonialism"? (was:Re: [L-I] Re: Turkey and Islamic Capitalism (with an addenda on the Balkans))

Lou Paulsen wwchi at SPAMenteract.com
Tue Aug 1 10:21:29 MDT 2000

-----Original Message-----
From: Johannes Schneider <Johannes.Schneider at gmx.net>

>Lou Paulsen wrote:
>> The 'colonial relationship' would exist if the northern republics were
>> sending capital in AND extracting surplus value.  [...]
>> The big problem they faced, it seemed to me, was that they were using a
>> 'market socialism' system rather than a system involving central
>> This had the unfortunate effect that, although they were sincerely trying
>> develop Kosovo, the laws of the capitalist market had an ongoing tendency
>> pull the money back out again.
>I think you are contradicting yourself. You are denying surplus value was
>extracted in Kosovo at the same time you admit capitalist market relations
>'pulled the money back out'. I think it does not matter what the individual
>intentions of the Yougoslav bourgeoisie were, but what actually happened.

If it sounds as if I'm contradicting myself, it's because of the
contradictory reality that existed in Yugoslavia, where (in my view) you had
a socialist state in contradiction with an economy organized in large part
on capitalist principles.  The individual enterprises, which were owned by
the working class and managed by the workers, competed with each other in
the market as if they were individual capitalist firms.  I think one of the
lessons of the Yugoslavian experience is that this is no way to even out
historical regional inequalities.

As to what actually happened to the value that was extracted from Kosovo, I
admit that I don't know whether it ended up in the hands of the northern
enterprises, or in the hands of the IMF, or whether for that matter it was
just destroyed in the failure of Kosmet enterprises which could not compete
with the northern ones.  And I wouldn't know unless I sat down with a book
full of numbers and worked it out in detail

But I don't think it's central to the argument.  Let's suppose for the sake
of the discussion that some of it DID end up in the hands of the northern
enterprises.  Does this, alone, transform the northern enterprises into a
"Yugoslav bourgeoisie?"  I don't think so.  Furthermore, what you call
"individual intentions" I call the class character of the Yugoslav state.

Lou Paulsen

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