Sunday April 20th, 2014, 1:46 am (EDT)

Research Unit for Political Economy

On the History of Imperialism Theory

In his illuminating survey, “The Imperialist World System: Paul Baran’s Political Economy of Growth After Fifty Years” (Monthly Review, May 2007), John Bellamy Foster remarks that “The concept of the imperialist world system in today’s predominant sense of the extreme economic exploitation of periphery by center, creating a widening gap between rich and poor countries….had its genesis in the 1950s, especially with the publication fifty years ago of Paul Baran’s Political Economy of Growth.” While acknowledging that traces of such a concept could be found in Marx and Lenin, he feels that “The classical Marxist approach to the worldwide spread of capitalist relations has often been characterized as a crude theory of linear stages of development” whereby the less developed countries would necessarily traverse the same path as the more developed ones. Among the adherents to this view Foster includes Marxists in the Second and Third Internationals… | more |

Why the United States Promotes India’s Great-Power Ambitions

In March 2005, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Washington’s decision to “make India a global power.” No doubt U.S. arms manufacturers can now look forward to large contracts from India; but this course is dictated by broader strategic considerations… | more |

Behind the War on Iraq

Three themes stand out in Iraq’s history over the last century, in the light of the present U.S. plans to invade and occupy that country. First, the attempt by imperialist powers to dominate Iraq in order to grab its vast oil wealth. In this regard there is hardly a dividing line between oil corporations and their home governments, with the governments undertaking to promote, secure, and militarily protect their oil corporations. Second, the attempt by each imperialist power to exclude others from the prize. Third, the vibrancy of nationalist opposition among the people of Iraq and indeed the entire region to these designs of imperialism. This is manifested at times in mass upsurges and at other times in popular pressure on whomever is in power to demand better terms from the oil companies or even to expropriate them. The following account is limited to Iraq, and it provides only the barest sketch… | more |