August 18, 2007
Lenin Hails the Arrival of Communism!
The current sub-prime liquidity problems are such that capitalism is going to collapse and finally, communism will arrive! Yes brothers and sisters, we about about to enter the Gotterdamerung of the hated Imperialism and soon, true freedom will be ours!
Look, he can prove it!
To put it another way, the US is exporting capital like crazy.
Interesting, no? That a country with a $58 billion a month trade deficit in goods and services is exporting capital. One with, last year, a $700 billion or so such deficit is exporting capital? An economy with net capital inflows of up to 5% of GDP is exporting capital?
Amazing! I wonder how they do it?
The answer of course is that Lenin has been reading too much Lenin on Imperialism. You see, it's obvious: as the profit rate declines then the capitalist nations will look abroad for opportunities to invest, thereby finding other
bunches of suckers sterling members of the proletariat to exploit. This is the very Imperialism that Lenin so presciently warned us against. As Lenin was, is and will be correct, the only explanation possible is that the capitalist imperialists are and must be exporting said capital, increasing the imperial hegemony and thus.....well, what?
Given that capital is flowing into the US, doesn't that mean that everyone else is colonizing the US? Or do facts have no place in the objective reality?
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what the hell is capital?? if your money is paper ,and most of it(the paper) ends up overseas ,you are exporting capital
and I understand that 90 percent of those greenbacks go overseas and never comes back...but is it "capital"?
Tim adds: You're talking about seignorage. Worth about $20 billion a year to the US. Already included in the above figures.
Posted by: embutler | Aug 18, 2007 2:30:54 PM
Er, no, not really. Which would be obvious if you'd made it to the end of the first paragraph.
"That a country with a $58 billion a month trade deficit in goods and services is exporting capital. One with, last year, a $700 billion or so such deficit is exporting capital? An economy with net capital inflows of up to 5% of GDP is exporting capital?"
Well, I probably should have mentioned that the EIU maintains that the US is likely to go into net trade surplus in the coming year. Further, if the greater share of profits is coming from overseas investments, that certainly suggest that whatever the net balance, the export of capital (particularly financial capital) is extremely important to the American economy.
Your comment on Lenin and the export of capital are utterly irrelevant to my point, nor does it bear all that strongly on my understanding of the US as an imperial state. Most marxist theorists concede that the export of capital is at least one of the items on which Lenin was overly stringent: for example, the US was an early imperial power long before it started to export capital. Even finance capital was less important to, say, Britain than it was to less developed imperialist states like Germany at the time Lenin was writing. These things can interact with the development of imperialism, but are not essential to it. Further, it's worth mentioning that Lenin's writing on this is a) a popularisation of existing theory, much better elaborated by Hobson and Bukharin, and b) highly conjunctural. The title is usually translated as including the phrase, the 'Highest Stage of Capitalism', whereas in fact it is better translated as 'Latest Stage of Capitalism'. If you were half as savvy as you would like to think you are, you'd know that my party has been making arguments like this long before you were pretending to understand wages and prices in a heavily subsidised public transport system.
Tim adds: Excellent, don't you think?
The US is exporting capital: no it isn't: oh, but it might!
Update: that last bit was added post beer last night. A little strong, for which apologies.
Posted by: lenin | Aug 18, 2007 6:29:05 PM
I always love the irony of endlessly predicting the death of the world's most adaptable economic system, one that has lasted 300 years, and its replacement with one that was thoroughly tested and imploded in the 20th century. Didn't Marx use to think every riot was the London proletariat revolting...
Posted by: Kits Coty | Aug 19, 2007 8:40:19 AM
I always love the irony of endlessly predicting the death of the world's most adaptable economic system, one that has lasted 300 years, and its replacement with one that was thoroughly tested and imploded in the 20th century
That isn't an irony at all, it's a non-sequitur. Aside from the fact that 'prediction' has nothing to do with it, other previously existing social formations lasted a lot longer and with fewer crises than capitalism has on your definition. There is no reason to assume capitalism will persist indefinitely, and what follows it is largely a matter of how its terminal crisis comes about and what structural capacities we are left with to deal with it.
Posted by: lenin | Aug 19, 2007 10:37:05 AM
Hence the word adaptable. I think it is fair to call it ironic because what is usually advocated as a replacement is a system that existed in its own state of crisis. What is happening in the money markets at the moment is the usual mixture of greed, ignorance and wishful thinking. Not a wise thing methinks to attach too much importance or hyperbole to it than that.
Posted by: Kits Coty | Aug 19, 2007 12:23:35 PM
Does anyone know the demographics of these mysterious sub-prime borrowers? I ask on Lenny Goebbels' behalf so that, come the revolution, he knows who to thank. Will it be redneck trailer trash, African-Americans escaping the projects, or - please - Miami Cubans trying to forget El Presidente?
Posted by: windowlicker | Aug 19, 2007 8:24:14 PM
"previously existing social formations lasted a lot longer and with fewer crises than capitalism has on your definition."
Yes, but they did so with appalling and steady - therefore, not "crisis" - levels of brutality by a tiny minority of rulers keeping the rest in appalling conditions of poverty.
Actually it's not even entirely true that they were without crises: the crises were still there and millions died through starvation, famine, war etc etc. It's just that no-one in power cared.
Capitalism is the only system to have raised the general living standards for all without simultaneously requiring huge doses of massive brutality to keep the masses in line.
Posted by: Cleanthes | Aug 20, 2007 11:28:31 AM