student jwe21 at
Tue Oct 3 17:51:25 MDT 2000

> Einde O'Callaghan wrote:
> The bourgeoisie may have smashed the workers' organisations in large
> parts of Europe but this doesn't fit the situation in the USA, which is
> what Tom is talking about. In the USA the level of working class
> organisation at the end of the 1930s was at highpoint after the
> organisation drives of the CIO.
> ------------------------------

But the key thing it seems to me is that
a) The USA stayed out of the war initially and profited from the increased demand for
its goods in the first couple of years, from food and clothing to old clapped out WW1
vintage warships. NZ also benefited in this way, getting renewed demand for its
agricultural products etc.
b) The USA didn't have huge chunks of its industry destroyed in bombing, leaving it
better placed to move ahead. It was the USA which unequivocally won the war after all,
and this process started early.
c) The same process of attacks on workers' standards of living occurred during the
depression in the United States and huge amounts of inefficient capital was destroyed,
paving the way for a recovery. The specific nature of US involvement in the war, its
late entry and its geographical remoteness from the actual theatres of war both worked
in the interests of US capital.
d) The US ended up supplying huge amounts of military equipment to the rest of the
world. Admittedly not all of it ended up being paid for, but the one way that arms
spending can be regarded as creating real profits as normal capitalism does is when
the cost of the weapons comes out of some other country's surplus, not your own. I
don't know what the figures are for US weapons sales overseas, but the US commitment
of its own forces was far less than that of the other major powers, and military
spending which is at the expense of your competitors, either by their buying the
product - their surplus value becomes your profit, or by gaining control of their
share of the globe - offset the drain on the economy that the armaments industry
usually represents. In the post-war period, this was no longer the case. US armaments
spending reverted to being a drain on surplus value, with weapons sales often being
actually in the form of "aid" and at any rate being inadequate to offset the huge cost
of the US military itself. The only country for which this might not have applied is
France, where arms exports were huge and may have tipped the balance towards real
John E

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