As noted by the Ugandan Marxist and economist Dani Wadada Nabude, “the restructuring and restructuring of capitalist production, which historically occurred after the Great Depression of 1873, marked the beginning of a new era of capitalist development … characterized by the growth of monopolistic trusts, syndicates and cartels, first in Germany and the United States, followed by the “free trade” of England and other capitalist states. By 1880, Britain’s unique position as a “workshop of peace” was effectively challenged by German and American capitalism. While between 1860 and 1913 years. world industrial production has grown seven-fold, British production has only tripled, and French production has quadrupled compared to Germany and the United States, with their growth of seven and twelve-fold. Relying on the second industrial revolution, the Taylorist model of production and state intervention in the economy, the main capitalist countries sought to use their unprecedented power for territorial expansion
“The second epoch of global imperialism” began in the mid-late 1870s. Shortly thereafter, France strengthened its position on the coast of West Africa and invaded Western Sudan, while in 1882 Britain occupied Egypt and over the next decade conquered the valley of the upper Nile and strengthened its influence on Central, Southern and Eastern Africa. Britain also strengthened its unofficial presence in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Tibet and Northern Burma, as well as on the Malay Peninsula. The Netherlands tightened control over Indonesia, Russia in Central Asia, and the King of Belgium Leopold watched the Congo become “a great agricultural repository and a reserve of forced agricultural labor for his country.” 268. Free trade imperialism gave way to pre-emptive territorial imperialism, forced bilateral trade between the imperialist country and its colony.
In the pre-global phase of imperialism, the industrialization of peripheral regions was limited, and every effort was made to prevent the growth of the national bourgeoisie, which could compete with the core countries. As a result, imperialist capital invested in the colony during this period was concentrated in mining, transport and trade, and direct exploitation of wage labor remained at a low level. At the next stage of global imperialism, as we shall see, this situation was to radically change and lead to an increase in mass bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries.
At the turn of the century, the whole world was divided, like all of Africa outside of Liberia and Ethiopia, or turned into semi-colonies, like the Ottoman and Chinese empires. The leading capitalist powers agreed to divide the planet among themselves at the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. The Conference codified the procedures for the occupation of Africa, designed to give the imperialist powers not only secure markets for their own goods, but also unhindered access to cobalt, manganese, copper, coal, iron, gold, silver, platinum, tin, rubber, palm oil and other raw materials Continent, necessary to maintain industrial monopoly. The conference, according to one of the observers who has many years of diplomatic experience, “is incorporated into international law as a kind of honor code among robbers and actually consolidated the international practice of racism.”
At the Berlin Conference, the European Free Trade Zone was created in Central Africa, which reduced the risk of international colonial conflicts and on a contractual basis united the imperialist powers around their common interests in the enslavement and exploitation of this continent. The basin of the Congo River was transferred to the King of Belgium Leopold to eliminate the potential source of conflict. As a consequence, the core states were no longer compelled to politically conquer the dependent countries in the face of rivals. Instead, the TNCs of the imperialist era sought to rationalize their operations in dependent countries and to promote the creation of a local clientelist (unlike the loyalist settlers) of the bourgeoisie. As the global position of the Third World bourgeoisie was strengthened by decolonization, competition between the Soviet and American states and, paradoxically in the case of China, by socialist construction itself, the core capital entered the peripheral countries on an unprecedented scale, so that the proletarians there could directly benefit.
Imperialism is a military and political effort on the part of the rich capitalist countries, aimed at deflating and extorting surplus value from controlled foreign territories. For Marx, the main imperative of imperialism is not simply to overcome the relative underconsumption of goods in the metropolitan center, although it is internally limited by the exploitative relations between capital and labor, but also by the need for valorization of capital. With each new advance in the technological basis of capital accumulation, the ability of capitalists to invest in the productive surplus value) labor of the Marxist economist Henryk Grossman (Henryk Grossman), who wrote in the interwar Heat-instead of being caused by the need to realize surplus value (as in the model of Rosa Luxemburg, which is caused by the need to sell the redundant core products in the markets of non-capitalist), the main motive for imperialism is the need to exploit labor. Since the accumulation of capital requires ever higher investments in machinery and fixed capital (c), both necessary to undermine competitors, and, crucially, in order to block the tendency to increase wages, the surplus value created by the labor force (v) decreases. Over time, the surplus value (s) necessary to maintain ever-increasing capital costs is reduced, and therefore, along with it, the rate of profit (defined by Marx as s / c + v) also decreases. However, Grossman, referring to Marx, pointed out that certain types of economic activity can help counteract this tendency to a fall in the rate of profit: International trade. By providing greater economies of scale and distribution, foreign trade can provide higher rates of fixed and variable capital investment; Monopoly. Through monopolistic fixation of prices in the economy, additional surplus value is imported at the expense of the country “against which monopolies are exercised; Export of capital. Export of capital can increase domestic profit rates by linking trade to credit and providing exceptional orders for exported goods at high prices, as a means of monopolizing raw materials sources and as a means of obtaining tribute from debtor countries.
With the help of these and related measures (including, especially, unequal exchange), the largest capitalist countries can import surplus value from abroad. The economic conditions in which the export of capital becomes the central dynamic force of international capitalism are generally known as imperialism.
According to Grossman, the advanced capitalist countries reached the stage of imperialism at different times:
“Lenin was absolutely right in supposing that modern capitalism, based on the dominance of a monopoly, is usually characterized by the export of capital. By the end of the XVII century. Holland has already become an exporter of capital. The United Kingdom reached this stage in the early 19th century, France in the 1860s. [Germany in the 1880’s. and the United States in the 1920s – ZK]. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between the export of capital of modern monopoly capitalism and the export of early capitalism. The export of capital was not typical of the capitalism of that era. It was a temporary, periodic phenomenon, which was always interrupted sooner or later and replaced by a new boom. Today everything is different. The most important capitalist countries have already reached the stage of accumulation, in which the valorization of accumulated capital faces ever more serious obstacles. Overpopulation ceases to be just a passing phenomenon and begins to dominate the whole economic life more and more.”
Speaking against the opinion of the social and liberal economist JA Hobson that imperialist foreign policy is the result of a financial conspiracy that seized state power, Lenin defined the export of capital as a result of the ever more massive concentration of capital inevitably generated by the capitalist system itself. For Lenin, the main features of imperialism are: the concentration of production and capital, which has reached such a high stage of development that it created monopolies that play a decisive role in economic life; the merger of banking and industrial capital and the creation of a financial oligarchy; and, especially important, the export of capital, in contrast to the export of goods. Then, a century ago, the driving force behind the accumulation of metropolitan capital was the export of investment capital (especially loans) and the global predominance of financial capital, as opposed to mercantilism, where commodity trade prevailed. At the end of XIX century. the export of capital was not limited to peripheral capitalist states, but was mainly connected with lending and investing in the imperialist countries. However, it should be recognized that imbalances in trade in goods between imperial, dependent and client countries have made a vital contribution to the export of capital. During the decades leading up to the First World War, the countries of Europe and North America increased their purchases of raw materials and foodstuffs in Third World countries, while maintaining a constant excess of imports of goods over exports…
Russian economists V. Voitinsky and E. Voitinskaya, referring to Britain, wrote: “This year (1913), the British government exported goods worth 635 million pounds sterling, and imports amounted to 769 million pounds sterling. In addition, it imported gold worth £ 24 million, and thus had a surplus of imports of £ 158 million in goods and gold. To compensate for this deficit, the British had at their disposal products for a total of 129 million pounds sterling (from merchant fleet revenues of 94 million, income from commission traders of 25 million pounds sterling, and other income of 10 million pounds sterling). Thus, the British will have a deficit of 29 million pounds sterling, with the exception of interest and dividends from their investments abroad, which amounted to 210 million pounds sterling. The addition of this item to other “invisible” export items led to a reversal of the balance of payments in favor of the United Kingdom, resulting in a net surplus of 181 million pounds sterling. Theoretically, the British could get this balance from increasing imports of goods and still have a balance of payments in balance. In fact, they left all the net balance abroad as new investments. In 1913, London switched to colonial and foreign long-term loans in the amount of 198 million pounds sterling – almost the same amount as the current profits from investments abroad “
British reinvestment into foreign and colonial enterprises of almost £ 200 million in 1913 can be compared with a deficit of exports and an import surplus of £ 158 million in the same year, of which only India’s share was 2/5. In fact, through a trade balance deficit with the Third World, the imperialists financed most of the export of capital 288. By 1928, Europe’s net export deficit was $ 2.9 billion, and to a large extent it was provided by the underdevelopment of Third World countries, which shows a positive balance of commodity exports of the latter at $ 1.5 billion. After World War II, Britain continued to deplete the resources of the Third World, supporting with it a huge trade deficit. Between 1939 and 1946 India’s trade surplus was 1.3 billion pounds sterling (between 1948 and 1951 British foreign investment amounted to 659 million pounds sterling) 289. When, in the face of the pending “fall of the pound” (run on the pound) Britain was finally forced to devalue its currency, it used the sterling balance of its colonies to help pay off the debts that it acquired before the United States in the previous decade. As the conservative historian of the British Empire David K. Fieldhouse (David K. Fieldhouse) noted.
“The British, forced to devalue the pound against the dollar in 1949, kept the pound strong against all colonial currencies (in most cases parity) while simultaneously devaluating them at the same time and to the same extent. In short, the sterling zone was used after 1945 as a means to support the pound sterling against the dollar … At the same time, the pound remained strong against colonial currencies in order to avoid an increase in the real burden of blocked sterling accounts [i.e., a current account deficit Great Britain with its colonies-ZK]. In both respects, the colonies were forced to subsidize the post-war level of living in the UK … The Labor government used the colonies to protect the British consumer from the high social prices that the continental countries then paid for their post-war recovery. Consciously or not, they had to accept “social-imperialism” in extreme form” We want to show an analysis of imperialism based solely on figures showing recorded profits and / or the extent of the trade deficit. As a rule, the gratuitous transfer of value from (neo) colonial to imperialist areas is greatly underestimated.
The fusion of monopoly industry with financial capital guaranteed world domination of the core peoples. The developed imperialist states began to invest in dependent semi-feudal countries, so that the clientelist bourgeoisie could produce, using inexpensive land and labor, create wealth that could be returned to the imperialist nation either in bulk in the form of undervalued goods or in the form of repatriated profits. In the course of this process, a global rate of profit and a division of labor were created in the interests of the workers of the imperialist countries.
Thus, the imperialist country is a net importer of surplus value pumped from underdeveloped countries through foreign direct investment (FDI), unequal exchange and / or debt burden. Within the core there is a strong tendency to form a national class alliance, ideologically expressed through what Lenin called “social chauvinism”.