Divided World Divided Class: Global Political Economy and the Stratification of Labour Under Capitalism by Zak Cope

Divided World Divided Class: Global Political Economy and the Stratification of Labour Under Capitalism by Zak Cope

Author:Zak Cope [Cope, Zak]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
ISBN: 9781894946698
Publisher: Kersplebedeb Publishing
Published: 2015-01-16T16:00:00+00:00

Emmanuel is quite wrong to assert here that value transfer is simply the “export of goods unpaid for by an equivalent import.” Rather, unrecompensed value transfer may also take the form of accumulated claims exerted by foreign investment capital upon the assets of the host country, that is, on the accumulation of capital within that country. Emmanuel tends to evince a profound misunderstanding of imperialism, which he characteristically reduces to unequal terms of trade between nations. He depicts colonialism, for example, as a kind of “accident of history” on the alleged basis that the colonial empires broke up “without proportionate violence and without any marked impoverishment of the great imperial parent states, or any reduction in their capacity to exploit the rest of the world.”[15] Emmanuel is oblivious to the extent to which imperialist countries export capital to underdeveloped nations not merely to earn interest and dividends (he tries to show that the alleged fact of the returns on colonial capital being less than the original exports of such disproves the Leninist theory). As Nabudere affirms, colonies are not merely places for the export of capital, but places where an over-abundance of cheap labour can be profitably exploited for the production of agricultural produce, raw materials and, latterly, manufactures, enabling the metropolitan countries to sustain a competitive advantage globally.[16]

Like many anti-imperialist Marxists, Emmanuel exhibits an unfortunate tendency to discuss imperialism on the basis of approaching it either from the perspective of capital export or that of unequal exchange theory. Against this idea it must be argued that attempting to determine levels of global South-North value transfer purely on the basis of unequal exchange tends to miss the real significance of capital export. A major category mistake lies in assuming that unequal exchange takes place between two or more independent national capitals. As a matter of fact, those nations disadvantaged by unequal exchange lose out on the basis of their economies having already been de facto colonised by imperialist finance capital and its attendant “free trade” (sic) structures. The thoroughgoing and nearly absolute domination of Third World economies by oligopoly capital (OECD-based banks and multinational corporations) is the major cause of the wages and productivity differences that lead to a situation of unequal exchange in the first place.

Transfers, then, may be resolved into two components: repatriated profits and, in addition, hidden surplus value generated by unequal exchange and FDI. Repatriated profits represent only the visible portion of the value transfers generated by FDI, whilst unequal exchange and superprofits represent the invisible portions.

One final point with regard to the calculations made in this section concerns the difference between wage rates denominated according to foreign exchange rates and those adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). The concept of purchasing power parity suggests that Third World currencies are undervalued so that in real (PPP) terms, US$1 will regularly buy several times as many goods or services in a Third World country as it would in the United States. PPP rates are established by


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