[Marxism] Fwd: Addendum to “Is Russia Imperialist” — what to make of state ownership of Gazprom | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 24 13:13:32 MDT 2014
In Roger Annis’s article there is a problematic reference to state
ownership that I want to address:
It’s the state, not finance capital, which plays the overriding,
directing role in Russia’s economy. The state happens to own much of the
vaunted oil and gas industries; so too in finance and much of
manufacturing. The CIA Factbook explains some of the consequences
thusly: “The protection of property rights is still weak and the private
sector remains subject to heavy state interference.
But before attending to that, there are a couple of other matters
requiring attention. Annis claimed that since Russia’s GDP per capita is
only about half of South Korea’s, it ruled out the possibility that it
can be imperialist. I am not sure whether that statistic can in and of
itself be used to establish a nation’s place in the capitalist food
chain since Ireland ranks higher than Germany.
Consider the example of Czarist Russia, a nation that was both
imperialist and underdeveloped according to Leon Trotsky, a thinker who
had some influence on Annis in his youth. According to Vitali A.
Meliantsev, a Russia economist, the GDP per capita in Russia on the eve
of WWI was a third that of the West (page 13 of a paper linked here).
Per capita GDP in Russia ran between 18-22 % that of the United States.
Despite this, Lenin had no problem referring to Russia as imperialist in
1917, just before the Bolsheviks seized power.
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