Forwarded from Anthony (rent and imperialism)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Nov 6 06:40:27 MST 2000

Hi Lou:

Regarding Rent and Imperialism

I am sorry I was not clear on this point. My opinion is that a 'stage' of
imperialism prior to modern capitalist imperialism was based primarily on
the expropriation of land - not on the export of capital, monpoly
capitalism, etc.

The form of expropriation of surplus connected to the expropriation of land
was, and remains, rent.

Rent does not have to be paid to a landlord. Rent, in fact continues to
exist when the owner of the land is the capitalist, or when the owner of
the land is the small family farmer. It only appears not to exist because
the capitalist or small farmer pockets the rent rather than paying it out
to a member of the landowning class.

This is closely related to the question of Northern Ireland.

Part of Phil Ferguson's reply to my earlier post reads,

"In the early 1600s, the area of toughest resistance, Ulster (which is not
the same as Northern Ireland; NI is 6 counties, Ulster is 9), was 'planted'
with settlers from Scotland and England.  The main reason for the planting
of settlers was not the extraction of rents from them, but the need to
establish a mass base of support for English rule. As the English secured
control of the whole island, thanks to the Ulster Plantation of the early
1600s and Cromwell's conquest in the mid-century, they extracted rents from
the whole island.  Most rent came from what is now the 'South', not from
what is now 'Northern Ireland'."

When Phil says "Most rent came from what is now the 'South', not from what
is now 'Northern Ireland'." He misses the main point. The land parcelled
out to the "planted settlers" also produced rent - only it was not paid to
large land renting land-owners, the Protestant settlers pocketed that rent
themselves. That of course, is why they were such a solid base of political
support for British Imperialism - they were part of it.


Louis Proyect
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