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The advantages of adapting the concept of imperialism

The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals.

It has an international court the Dispute Settlement Body which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh. The configuration of states forged at the outset of capitalism continues to play a central role. They ensure the localized management of the labour force, in a context of great global displacement of products and capital. The neoliberal order expands a globalization administered through national structures This strengthening of labour regulations at the national level has repercussions, in turn, on the specific identities of the different ruling classes.

While they globalize their businesses, these groups maintain opposing political and cultural behaviors. The companies are internationalized, but their management is not delinked from the states of origin. For the same reasons, international competition to attract capital develops through consistently rewarding the nearest investors.

The neoliberal order expands a globalization administered through national structures.

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The same states analyzed by the classical and post-war Marxists now operate in a new framework of productive globalization. In this scenario of global economic association, geopolitical confrontations unfold recreating relationships of dependency. The main powers renew that subjection in their areas of influence, while they dispute supremacy in the most coveted areas of the planet. The United States tries to recapture its hegemony beginning with the regions that were traditionally under its control Latin America.

The operation of a common currency - between economies with huge differences in productivity - reinforces the supremacy of Germany in Europe. China widens the gaps with its Asian neighbors. The dependency studied by Marini adopts new forms and intensities. Problems of Transnationalism The current stage of productive globalization - without direct correspondence in the ruling classes and states - contradicts the thesis of a full transnationalization.

This view assumes that the main subjects and institutions of the system have been divorced from their national pillars Robinson, 2014. It holds that the old anchoring of companies in the national map has been dissolved. That a firm assumes transnational profiles in a few years does not imply the equivalent globalization of its owners This approach converts the long transitions of history into the advantages of adapting the concept of imperialism transformations.

It rightly observes that the internationalization of the economy generates dynamics of the same type in other spheres, but ignores the enormous temporal gaps that separate both processes. That a firm assumes transnational profiles in a few years does not imply the equivalent globalization of its owners. Nor does it presuppose processes of that type in the social groups or states that harbour the company. Capitalism does not develop with automatic adjustments.

It articulates the development of productive forces with the action of dominant classes molded to different state scenarios. The different spheres of this tripod maintain levels of connection that are as intense as they are autonomous.

Even in the Marini years some Marxist theorists such as Poulantzas perceived that productive internationalization did not entail identical sequences in the state or class superstructure. This point inspired the later characterization of globalization as a process rooted in the institutions of the most powerful state on the planet Panitch, Gindin, 2014.

The transnationalist approach ignores this mediation of Washington in the gestation of the new stage. That is why it also ignores the current role of Beijing. The association between both powers coexists with an intense rivalry between very different state structures.

The links between Chinese and American companies do not imply any kind of transnational dissolution. It suffices to recall the complex trajectory of gestation of capitalism around pre-existing classes and states, to note how varied the patterns of change of these entities have been. The transnationalist thesis is in tune with historiographical currents that postulate the abrupt constitution of an integrated world capitalist system, forgetting the complex transition from multiple national trajectories Wallerstein, 1984.

  1. American Indians , buffaloes and wild animals are driven into the darkness before them.
  2. The dependency theorist assigned to this category an economic dimension of external expansion and a geopolitical-military dimension of regional prominence.
  3. Lenin's theory of Imperialism European intellectuals first developed formal theories of imperialism. Yet, the West is largely unwilling to recognize that the impoverishment of parts of the developing world and its continued reliance on aid is a direct result of past imperial exploitation.
  4. It can be argued that Japan's imperial project was copied from the Western powers that tried to interfere in her own affairs and from Germany. Maoists claim it occurred after Khrushchev's ascension in 1956; Cliff says it occurred under Stalin in the 1940s.
  5. Careers, as well as wealth, could be made there. The geopolitical aspect of sub-imperialism and the economic nature of the semi-periphery are more visible today than in the past.

In the same way that it conceives that untimely appearance 500 years ago, it supposes that the current globalization illuminates world classes and states with great rapidity. The opposite tradition - which explores the differentiated paths followed by each national capitalism - records, instead, how subjects and local structures condition current globalization Wood, 2002.

It questions the existence of a synchronized irruption of global capitalism and demonstrates the pre-eminence of uncertain transitions guided by state intermediations. A generically common course of internationalization unfolds with a very high diversity of rhythms and conflicts.

Relationships of dependency persist precisely owing to the absence of a sudden process of complete globalization. Semi-Peripheral Reordering The Brazilian theorist studied international value transfers in order to analyze the dependent reproduction of Latin America.

In his view the region recreated its subordinate status through the systematic drainage of resources towards the central countries. Commercial disadvantages, remittance of profits and interest Interest An amount paid in remuneration of an investment or received by a lender. Interest is calculated on the amount the advantages of adapting the concept of imperialism the capital invested or borrowed, the duration of the operation and the rate that has been set.

He investigated the new complexity introduced by the existence of intermediate formations. He investigated especially how industrialization placed certain countries in a semiperipheral segment. This characterization was shared by his colleague specializing in dependency, who differentiated the Latin American economies by their internal development and by the type of exported products Bambirra, 1986: The same approach confronted the main exponent of endogenist Marxism, by evaluating how unequal underdevelopment separated the most backward agrarian countries from the economies embarked on a certain industrial takeoff Cueva, 2007.

These distinctions are very useful in analyzing the current context. Value chains have enhanced the relative weight of the semiperipheral countries. Multinational firms no longer prioritize the occupation of national markets to take advantage of subsidies and customs barriers.

They hierarchize another type of external investments. In certain cases they ensure the capture of natural resources determined by the geology and climate of each place. In other situations, they take advantage of the existence of large contingents of a cheap and disciplined work force.

The advantages of adapting the concept of imperialism

These two variants - appropriation of natural wealth and exploitation of employees - define the strategies of transnational corporations and the location of each economy in the global order. Both the peripheries and the semiperipheries continue to be integrated into the conglomerate of the dependent countries Both the peripheries and the semiperipheries continue to be integrated into the conglomerate of the dependent countries. The subordinate role that Marini assigned to the two categories has not changed.

They are inserted in the value chain, without participating in the most lucrative areas of that network. Nor do they exercise control of that structure. They act within globalized production under the mandate of the transnational companies.

This relegated positioning is corroborated even in those economies that managed to forge their own multinational companies India, Brazil, South Korea. Another indicator of this relegated positioning is the reduced participation of these countries in the direction of globalized institutions.

This absence is consistent with the scarce representation of these regions in the management bodies of the transnationalized firms Carroll; Carson, 2003: But two significant changes are to be observed compared to the time of Marini.

The role of each semiperiphery in the value chain introduces a substantial element that is very definitive of its location in the global pyramid. In contrast to the past, it is not enough to record the level of per capita GDP or the magnitude of the domestic market. On the other hand, the advance of the Asian economies South Korea and the retreat of their Latin American counterparts Argentina, Brazil is very evident within the semiperipheral segment.

As the same rearrangement is observed in other regions, some authors suggest the introduction of new classifications to conceptualize the change strong-weak, high-low, upper-lower semiperipheries Morales Ruvalcaba; Efren, 2013: Marini could not foresee these transformations. Incidence of Sub-Imperialism The Brazilian thinker analyzed the role of intermediate economies in the same years that the World Systems theoreticians studied the dual role of the semiperipheral countries.

They felt that these countries mitigate global tensions and define the mutations of the global hierarchy. They described cases of ascent Sweden, Prussia, United Statesstagnation Italy, Flandersand retreat Spain, Portugal of that segment in the last five centuries. They postulated that their equidistant place allows them to lead great transformations, while balancing the world pyramid Wallerstein, 1984: Marini partially converged with this thesis in his evaluation of the intermediate countries.

He used that lens to differentiate Brazil from France and Bolivia. But he also introduced the new concept of sub-imperialism, to characterize the advantages of adapting the concept of imperialism band of regional powers with policies both associated with and autonomous from U. With that notion he emphasized the disruptive role of these actors. Instead of observing them as buffers of global tensions, he analyzed their convulsive function.

For this reason they concentrate potential locations of a socialist beginning. Like other thinkers of his time, Marini placed the dynamics of these formations on a horizon of confrontation between capitalism and socialism Worsley, 1980.

But what he meant by sub-imperialism requires significant revision in the era of neoliberal globalization.


The dependency theorist assigned to this category an economic dimension of external expansion and a geopolitical-military dimension of regional prominence. That simultaneity is not confirmed at present. Contemporary sub-imperialism does not present the economic connotation observed by Marini. It is typical of the countries that fulfill a dual role of associated and autonomous gendarmes of the United States. But Brazil does not play an equivalent role in Latin America and South Africa does not fulfill that role in its continent Katz, 2017b.

The geopolitical aspect of sub-imperialism and the economic nature of the semi-periphery are more visible today than in the past. The first aspect is determined by military actions tending to increase the influence of the zonal powers. The second feature derives from the place occupied by each country in the value chain. Marini did not perceive this difference. The new combination of increasing internationalization of capital and continued nation-state configuration of classes and states forces us to revise other aspects of traditional dependency theory.

  1. Changes in income inequality from a global perspective.
  2. Imperial projects ranging from that of Alexander the Great , through the Roman Empire , to the British and Napoleonic empires saw themselves as instruments for good in the world, even though their expansion was usually violent. The United States regards the defense of democracy and of freedom as fundamental to its identity and mission in the world, yet it has also engaged in imperial pursuits.
  3. Imperialism without conquest Currently, "imperialism" applies to any instance of a greater power acting or being perceived to act at the expense of a lesser power. Richard Fidler is an Ottawa activist who blogs here - with a special emphasis on the Quebec national question, indigenous peoples, Latin American solidarity, and the socialist movement and its history.
  4. If the transformation carried out by the Asian giant is ignored, it is impossible to characterize the capitalism of today. Marini has left us a monumental research project that is pending.
  5. Like other thinkers of his time, Marini placed the dynamics of these formations on a horizon of confrontation between capitalism and socialism Worsley, 1980. Positive legacy On the other hand, such imperial projects as those of the Spanish, French, and British have spread language, and shared ideals, around much of the globe.

Productive globalization is usually investigated by the exponents of that tradition, but the imperial geopolitical reconfiguration is often ignored. The displacement of production to the East and the capture of the new value generated by the West are presented as evidence of that overwhelming polarity Smith, 2010: These characterizations rightly confront the successful future attributed by neoliberals and often validated by the heterodox to convergences between advanced and backward economies.

They also show that the current model is based on the exploitation and transfer of surplus value to a handful of transnational corporations. They explain in detail the advantages that the most powerful countries maintain to capture the bulk of the benefits.

But these valuable insights do not clarify the problems of the period. The simple diagnosis of a counterpoint between South and North clashes with the difficulty of pigeon-holing China. In which of the two fields is that nation located?