Gramscian mode of geo-political analysis: Re: Forwarded from Anthony (on End of History):Crisis reconsidered

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at
Thu Aug 17 18:47:30 MDT 2000

Comrade Anthony wrote:

> >3. Transportation costs were cut to almost nothing - making mass >exports of
> >heavy machinery - especially automobiles for the new mass markets,
> >economically possible.

Is this an evidence that capitalism has survived its own contradictions? In the
third world, many people can not afford to buy cars. In core capitalist
countries, car may not be a luxury, but in my country, it requires a high level
of income to afford a car. In other words, car is not a basic need there as it is
here  (geographical location of cities matter in the US too). Furthermore, if
cars became economically possible, it was because of the reduction of labor costs
in third world countries. Expansion of mass markets is a core-periphery issue,
*not* a market (demand/supply)  issue in some abstract sense.  Many countries in
the South East Asia and Latin America (S.Korea, Honkong, Mexico)  reduce labor
costs by either avoiding unionization through oppressive means or by offering
sexy benefits to workers (high wages, better working  environment) to reduce
demand for unionization. Global Maquiladora industries on the Mexican border (US
subcontractors) hire workers,  mostly from working class women and children, at
low levels of costs such as 1.65 per hour. The reason for this is that women are
seen as cheap domestic laborers. As my adviser Greg told me once, in the Japanese
auto-industry, wage differentials between men and women highly matter in the
periphery of Honda lean production-- outside Tokyo- despite the preachers of
Japanese capitalism to the contrary.

> >The Marshall Plan, the GATT, the World
> >Bank, and the IMF, were the first major step to globalization - >followed
> >soon by the European common market.

There is a  nuance here. Globalization strategy is not an expansion of markets or
an increase in the volume of trade only. Some see globalization a recent evidence
for the removal of trade barriers. However  defined it is,  globalization has
been in existence since the emergence of capitalism as a world system , the 17th
century, so it is not a new trend. Marx was writing in the age of globalization
already.  Sometimes I wonder why the lefties suddenly have discovered the concept
"globalization", as if the world was a system of nation states and then became
global after the W.W.II. Globalization is a process, not a breakthrough. The
protectionist Keynesian strategies that were implemented after the world war to
contain the capitalist system was already part of the globalization of American
hegemony.  Globalization, in many respects, is the "Americanization" of the world
system at the moment. It does not matter if the European Union controls this or
that dimension of  the world economy if we think that EU's economic policies
significantly differ from Americanism. It makes a very little sense. The model as
Gill, Cox, PiJl and other writers in the Gramsican IPE tradition point out, is
the  "Anglo-American neo liberal" model. For example, however exclusive the EU
seems, and despite the struggles among different fractions of capital over profit
(agriculture versus industry in France against the free market model imposed by
Germans), the EU exactly follows the US hegemonic model. Other regional blocks in
the world, such as ASEAN, NAFTA, imitate the same model: reducing labor costs to
expand profit globally and regionally.

> >I think a look at what capitalism achieved - as a system - with >European
> >fascism and WWII clearly shows that it overcame all of the basic >elements
> >of its crisis of overproduction and oversupply of capital.
> >1. Population growth increased dramatically - expanding the size of
> >national and world market beyond any dreamt of in 1910.

> >I think a look at what capitalism achieved - as a system - with >European
> >fascism and WWII clearly shows that it overcame all of the basic >elements
> >of its crisis of overproduction and oversupply of capital.
> >1. Population growth increased dramatically - expanding the size of
> >national and world market beyond any dreamt of in 1910.

Population growth is a not a crisis of over-production. Capitalism solves the
problem of population by actually "eliminating peoples" of certain variety, not
by increasing population globally: Racism. Did you know that african american
women are sterilized at a higher degree than white women in the US? The same
applies to women in India, where women are forced to abort female fetuses. In the
Saudi Arabia, the same model is justified in the name of prescreening women
before birth giving.  The assumption that resources are scarce and population
growth puts a limit on the sharing of world resources justifies the assumption
that population growth should be adjusted accordingly. This is a closet
neo-malthusian world view and it has serious racial, gender class repercussions
on third world people and oppressed minorities in the US.  Who is adjusting whose
population in the name of population control? US transnational policy makers, IMF
and the World Bank.

In a nutshell, the issue is to approach critically to the thesis of  population
growth in the "rhetoric about third world people".  Sometimes I wonder the same.
Why is, for example, "immigration"  emphasized in the rhetoric about Mexicans,
Moroccans and Indians in the US, but not about Canadians, French or whatever?
Don't the Canadians migrate here? Why does control or freedom of migration
concern Mexicans only?

On the relation between population growth and capitalism,  I am sending an e-mail
book review by Andy Austin comrade:


Robinson uses a modified Gramscian mode of geopolitical analysis to reveal the
underlying structural imperatives and the collective-behavioral/ideological
orientation of polyarchic-style
transnational policy formation. His is a historical materialist theory of
globalization that conceptualizes a post-national hegemonic political
dynamic driven by the transnational corporation. He theorizes the end of
the cycle of hegemons as reflective of a global capitalist class that
transcends the nation-state framework (which is not to say that
nation-states are irrelevant). The policies of the global elite are
popularly articulated as "democratization" and their theoretical
underpinnings are modernization and structural-functionalism.

The relevance of his theory and method for the question of population, and this
emerges from his book but I know this mostly from our conversations, is that
population control is based on modernizationist ideology, a component of which is
the universal application of sledgehammer abstractions like the demographic
transition, and is imposed upon "third world" people. Thus population control and
other policies of this sort flow from the theory advanced by the global elite -
and this is not speculation, since elites articulate this point of view (some of
our list members advance the same oppressive line) - that the poor breed because
they still struggle under a cultural idiocy, i.e., "traditional culture," and
that the key to lowering their birth rates is to put in the place of their
backward/primitive institutions a modern industrial system with polyarchic
political structures (bougeois democracy). Through their institutions they
provide loans to the nations of the periphery, organize EPZs, a domestic police
force, birth control regime, etc. All of their policy masquerades under the
authority of bourgeois science.

I would not think it necessary to point out, but after the discussion on
the list of late it is crystal clear that one cannot proceed on the
grounds of shared understanding, that the "traditional culture," i.e.,
extreme poverty, is the creation of the core through centuries of
imperialism, that EPZs and the modern machinery of liberal republicanism are the
reorganized mechanisms of neoimperialism under conditions of a global civil
society and a nascent transnational state. Their "scientific ideas" embed in
popular consciousness because of their power to distribute their propaganda
through the mass media and through the university system where professors and
graduate students then indoctrinate their undergrad and grad students. Again, we
have clear instances of their success in creating a legion of the faithful on
this very list. The frame is the uncritical mind.

Incidentally, it was Robinson who pointed out to me (and this follows
logically from the facts he presents at the end of his book, which are
incontrovertable) that the "third world" could be eliminated and the
pending ecological holocaust would not be averted because it is the core
who are burning up the earth. I think that many would profit from reading Bill's
book and articles.

Andrew Austin
Knoxville, TN


Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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