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Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 5 (October 2020)

October 2020 (Volume 72, Number 5)

Notes from the Editors

This special issue of Monthly Review, “China 2020,” is the product of a long period of cooperation with critical Chinese Marxist scholars. This has resulted in an extensive series of articles on contemporary Chinese social and economic relations since 2012, to which most of the authors in the present issue have previously contributed. It takes on a special significance due to the growing conflict between the United States and China, making critical Marxist analysis in this area all the more important. | more…

A clerk counts cash at a bank in Nantong, Jiangsu province

China 2020: An Introduction

In the twenty-first century, all signs are pointing to another period of hegemonic struggle over the world economy, this time between the United States and China, although complicated in this case by the unique, indeterminate aspects of the post-revolutionary Chinese social formation, which is neither entirely capitalist nor entirely socialist. | more…

Progress in phase-one trade deal talks signals hope

U.S.-China Trade War

Has the Real "Thief" Finally Been Unmasked?

In 2018, Washington launched the trade war against China. Measures included sharply increasing the customs tariffs borne by certain products imported from China, further barriers to imports from China, and sanctions against Chinese companies targeted by bans on the use of U.S.-made inputs. By June 2019, as tariff increases hit new sectors, China was no longer the United States’s largest trading partner. | more…

A Boeing factory in South Carolina, US, employs about 7,000 workers

Toward Delinking: An Alternative Chinese Path Amid the New Cold War

During the 1960s, China was effectively excluded from the two major camps: the Soviet camp and the U.S. camp. For about a decade, China was obliged to seek development within its own borders and thereby achieved some extent of delinking: a refusal to succumb to U.S.-eurocentric globalization and an embrace of a people’s agenda of development. While foreign relations were later normalized and China once again brought in foreign capital, since being explicitly targeted as the primary rival of the United States, however, the situation may again warrant moves toward delinking and searching for alternatives, with ups and downs along the way. | more…

Rice fields in Jiande city, Zhejiang province, Sept 17, 2020

Tracing a Trajectory of Hope in Rural Communities in China

Survival Bricolage of Zhoujiazhuang and Puhan Rural Community

Zhoujiazhuang and the Puhan Rural Community offer contrasting experiences of how communities in different parts of China have responded to, negotiated, and undergone extensive changes during the last forty years since the reform policy was implemented in the country in 1979. | more…

A farmer operates a harvester to reap rice in a field at Xiaogang Village in Fengyang County, east China's Anhui Province, on Sept. 27, 2018

Revisiting Collectivism and Rural Governance in China

The Singularity of the Zhoujiazhuang People's Commune

Zhoujiazhuang is singular, being the only de facto people’s commune in China today. At present, Zhoujiazhuang still maintains the political, economic, and social structure that has been essentially in place since 1956. For over sixty years—since ten years before the Cultural Revolution and thirty-eight years after the dismantling of almost all people’s communes in 1982—Zhoujiazhuang has survived as an organizational unit over the same territory comprising the same six natural villages. | more…

Local staff members of Puhan cooperatives in the field

Negotiating Debt

The Making of Puhan Rural Community in North China

Originally set up in 1998 in China, the Puhan Rural Community was the first peasant-initiated, cross-village organization established after the collapse of the top-down people’s communes and the implementation of the household responsibility system. Puhan learned a lesson about the exploitation of usurious microfinance and decided that it was capable of establishing a system of mutual aid credit by itself, changing the cultural emphasis on money. Its story of struggling with rural financial organizations opens up a debate on the trap of marketization and monetization, the root causes of loans and debts, the negotiating power of collectives, the production mode of ecological agriculture, and the redefinition of the commonwealth. | more…

Indian and Chinese national flags flutter side by side at the Raisina hills in New Delhi, India, in this file photo

India, COVID-19, the United States, and China

Since the emergence of COVID-19, the United States has quite openly decided to use the crisis, at a global scale, as a weapon against its perceived rival, China. In this context, India has taken a number of steps to restructure its relation to China, asserting economic stances and implementing policies that are becoming more and more closely entwined with its geopolitical positions and aspirations. | more…

Virus also reawakens Wests racism

The Yellow Plague and Romantic Anticapitalism

COVID-19 is a great revealer, laying bare the structures of racial disposability that have sacrificed people, from migrant detainees to meat packers. We are also witness to the rise of anti-Asian violence. Brutal attacks against Asian Americans have exposed the fraudulence of the model minority myth and the assimilationist paradigm that legitimizes state violence against Black and Brown bodies. | more…

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

Forthcoming in November 2020

With the advent of COVID-19, India’s rulers imposed the world’s most stringent lockdown on an already depressed economy, dealing a body blow to the majority of India’s billion-plus population. Yet the Indian government’s spending to cushion the lockdown’s economic impact ranked among the world’s lowest in GDP terms, resulting in unprecedented unemployment and hardship. Crisis and Predation shows how this tight-fistedness stems from the fact that global financial interests oppose any sizable expansion of public spending by India, and that Indian rulers readily adhere to their guidance. Meanwhile, under the banner of reviving private investment, India’s rulers have planned giant privatizations, and drastically revised laws concerning industrial labor, the peasantry, and the environment—in favor of large capital. | more…

Value and Crisis: Essays on Marxian Economics in Japan, second edition

Forthcoming in December 2020

Marxist economic thought has had a long and distinguished history in Japan, dating back to the First World War. When interest in Marxist theory was virtually nonexistent in the United States, rival schools of thought in Japan emerged, and brilliant debates took place on Marx’s Capital and on capitalism as it was developing in Japan. Forty years ago, Makoto Itoh’s Value and Crisis began to chronicle these Japanese contributions to Marxist theory, discussing in particular views on Marx’s theories of value and crisis, and problems of Marx’s theory of market value. Now, in a second edition of his book, Itoh deepens his study of Marx’s theories of value and crisis, as an essential reference point from which to analyze the multiple crises that have arisen during the past four decades of neoliberalism. The promise of Marx’s theories has not waned. If anything—given the failure of Soviet-style socialism and the catastrophe of neoliberalism—it grows daily. | more…

Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present

Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present

Forthcoming in February 2021

Those who control the world’s commanding economic heights, buttressed by the theories of mainstream economists, presume that capitalism is a self-contained and self-generating system. Nothing could be further from the truth. In this pathbreaking book—winner of the Paul A. Baran-Paul M. Sweezy Memorial Award—radical political economists Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik argue that the accumulation of capital has always required the taking of land, raw materials, and bodies from noncapitalist modes of production. They begin with a thorough debunking of mainstream economics. Then, looking at the history of capitalism, from the beginnings of colonialism half a millennium ago to today’s neoliberal regimes, they discover that, over the long haul, capitalism, in order to exist, must metastasize itself in the practice of imperialism and the immiseration of countless people. | more…

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