[Marxism] Boris Kagarlitsky on the problems of European unification

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Mon Jun 21 10:52:59 MDT 2004

"The overriding goal of the project to unite Europe is to become more
competitive with the United States and Japan on the world stage, and to
create a huge common domestic market in which corporations can battle for
superiority. Competitiveness, we are told, requires the removal of all
possible restrictions: government regulations, social welfare programs,
strong trade unions - in short, everything that contradicts liberal
principles and constrains market freedom (and therefore distinguishes Europe
from the United States and Africa). But if competition is the EU's guiding
principle, why should there not be competition among nations? Why shouldn't
all the special interest groups use the European Parliament to gain a
competitive advantage? Such a battle royal is very much in the spirit of
all-out competition. And no one has outlawed nation states and their
corresponding ideologies, after all. The differences dividing the peoples of
Europe, which have taken shape over centuries, don't disappear with the
stroke of a pen in Brussels."

Well, quite - there you have a much neglected topic in socialist theory: the
dialectics of competition and co-operation. What forms of competition are
desirable, what forms are undesirable ? Just because Marx himself did not
probe that in detail, doesn't mean that it isn't a topic of ever-increasing
importance... While we're all being distracted by "globalisation" theories,
the real core of the issue is the real dimensions of competition in the
modern world, and competition in the world market is what imperialism is all
about. In which case, we're really better off reading Michael Porter.


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