Imperialism and Capitalist Development in Marx’s Capital

in Historical Materialism
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Abstract

This article aims at contributing to current debates on the ‘new imperialism’ by presenting the main results of a reading of Marx’s Capital in light of his writings on colonialism, which were unknown in the early Marxist debate on imperialism. It aims to prove that, in his main work, Marx does not analyse a national economy or – correspondingly – an abstract model of capitalist society, but a world-polarising and ever-expanding system. This abstraction allows the identification of the laws of development of capitalism and its antagonisms, and reflects the tendency of the capital of the dominant states, by making permanent recourse also to methods of so-called ‘primitive accumulation’, to expand and increase the exploitation of workers worldwide, and, at the same time, the cooperation between them. What, for Marx, was later defined as imperialism is the concrete form of the process of ‘globalisation’ of the capital of the dominant states. With the development of his analysis, Marx became increasingly aware of the economic and political consequences of imperialism. In his activity within the First International, with regard to the question of Irish independence, he affirmed the fundamental importance of building a real solidarity between class struggles in imperialist countries and anti-colonial resistance in colonised and dependent countries. His examination of imperialism and internationalist perspective were downplayed, denied, if not completely reversed in the interpretation and systematisation of his thought by reformist leaders within the Second International. In their attempt to react against this tendency and develop an analysis and a political strategy adequate to the new phase of generalised imperialist expansion, increased inter-imperialist rivalries and rising anti-colonial resistance, Rosa Luxemburg and Lenin reaffirmed the centrality of the critique of imperialism at the economic and at the political levels. Even if they were partially unaware of this, they thus developed and expanded on some aspects already present in Marx’s work.

Imperialism and Capitalist Development in Marx’s Capital

in Historical Materialism

Sections

References

AhmadAijaz Theory: Nations Classes Literatures 1992 London Verso

AndersonKevin B. ‘The “Unknown” Marx’s Capital, Volume I: The French Edition of 1872–75, 100 Years Later’ Review of Radical Political Economics 1983 14 4 71 80

AndersonKevin B. ‘Marx’s Late Writings on Non-Western and Pre-Capitalistic Societies and Gender’ Rethinking Marxism 2000 14 4 84 96

AndersonKevin B. Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism Ethnicity and Non-Western Societies 2010 Chicago University Of Chicago Press

AshmanSamCallinicosAlex ‘Capital Accumulation and the State System: Assessing David Harvey’s The New Imperialism Historical Materialism 2006 14 4 107 131

BairochPaul Lo sviluppo bloccato 1976 Turin Einaudi

BanajiJairus Theory as History: Essays on Modes of Production and Exploitation Historical Materialism 2010 Leiden Brill Book Series

BarkerColin ClarkeSimon ‘A Note on the Theory of Capitalist States’ The State Debate 1991 [1978] Basingstoke Macmillan

BartolovichCrystalLazarusNeil Marxism Modernity and Postcolonial Studies 2002 Cambridge Cambridge University Press

BauerOtto ‘Proletarische Wanderungen’ Die Neue Zeit 1906–7 41 25:2 476 494

BennerErica Really Existing Nationalisms: A Post-Communist View from Marx and Engels 2006 Oxford Clarendon Press

BernsteinEduard Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie 1969 [1899] Hamburg Rowoht

BrennerRobert ‘What Is, and What is Not, Imperialism?’ Historical Materialism 2006 14 4 79 105

BrewerAnthony Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey 1990 Second Edition London Routledge

BrewerJohn The Sinews of Power: War Money and the English State 1688–1783 1989 London Unwin Hyman

ButtelFrederick H.MagdoffFredBellamy FosterJohn Hungry for Profit: The Agribusiness Threat to Farmers Food and the Environment 2000 New York Monthly Review Press

CallinicosAlex ‘Does Capitalism Need the State System?’ Cambridge Review of International Affairs 2007 20 4 533 549

CallinicosAlex Imperialism and Global Political Economy 2009 Cambridge Polity

CampbellPersia Crawford Chinese Coolie Emigration to Countries within the British Empire 1971 London Frank Cass

DunayevskayaRaya Marxism and Freedom: From 1776 until Today 2000 [1958] Amherst Humanity Books

EngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Engels: 1883–86 1993 Volume 47 London Lawrence and Wishart

EngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Engels: 1890–92 2001 Volume 49 London Lawrence and Wishart

FawcettHenry The Economic Position of the British Labourer 1865 London MacMillan and Co.

FineBen ‘Debating the “New” Imperialism’ Historical Materialism 2006 14 4 133 156

FischerEmil ‘Die Verwendung von Kuli als Lohnarbeiter in der Deutschen Seeschifffahrt’ Die Neue Zeit 1906–7 19 25:2 790 796

HarstickHans Peter Karl Marx über Formen vorkapitalistischer Produktion 1977 Frankfurt Campus

HarveyDavid The New Imperialism 2005a Oxford Oxford University Press

HarveyDavid A Brief History of Neoliberalism 2005b Oxford Oxford University Press

HarveyDavid ‘In What Ways Is “The New Imperialism” Really New?’ Historical Materialism 2007 15 3 57 70

HeckscherEli F. Mercantilism 1955 [1931] London Allen and Unwin

HilferdingRudolf Il capitale finanziario 1976 [1910] Milan Feltrinelli

HobsonJohn A. Imperialism: A Study 1948 London Allen and Unwin

Hoe-GimmGong FineBenSaad-FilhoAlfredoBoffoMarco ‘World Economy’ The Elgar Companion to Marxist Economics 2012 Cheltenham Edward Elgar

IqbalHusain Karl Marx on India: From the ‘New York Daily Tribune’. Including Articles by Frederick Engels and Extracts from Marx-Engels Correspondence 1853–1862 2006 New Delhi Tulika Books

JenksLeland Hamilton The Migration of English Capital to 1875 1963 London Thomas Nelson and Sons

KautskyKarl ‘Auswanderung und Kolonisation’ Die neue Zeit: Revue des geistigen und öffentlichen Lebens 1883 1 9 393 404

KautskyKarl Sozialismus und Kolonialpolitik 1907 Berlin Vorwaerts

KautskyKarl Bernstein und das Sozialdemokratische Programm: Eine Antikritik 1976 Second Edition Berlin Dietz Verlag

KempTom Theories of Imperialism 1967 London Dennis Dobson

KraderLawrence The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx: Studies of Morgan Phear Maine Lubbock 1972 Assen Van Gorcum

KraderLawrence The Asiatic Mode of Production: Sources Development and Critique in the Writings of Karl Marx 1975 Assen Van Gorcum

LapidesKenneth Marx’s Wage Theory in Historical Perspective: Its Origins Development and Interpretation 1998 Westport, CT Praeger

LeninVladimir Ilyich Notebooks on Imperialism Collected Works 1968 Volume 39 Moscow Progress Publishers

LeninVladimir Ilyich The Development of Capitalism in Russia: The Process of the Formation of a Home Market for Large-Scale Industry 1977 Moscow Progress Publishers

LeninVladimir Ilyich Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism 1996 London Pluto

LuxemburgRosa SchwarzschildAgnes The Accumulation of Capital 1951 [1913] London Routledge and Kegan Paul

LuxemburgRosa Gesammelte Werke. Bd. 1: 1893 bis 1905. Erster Halbband 1972 Berlin Dietz Verlag

MannMichael States War and Capitalism: Studies in Political Sociology 1988 Oxford Blackwell

MarxKarl Theories of Surplus-Value 1968 [1863] Volume II Moscow Progress Publishers

MarxKarl Theories of Surplus-Value 1971 [1863] Volume III Moscow Progress Publishers

MarxKarl NicolausMartin Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 1981 [1939/41] Harmondsworth Penguin

MarxKarl Exzerpte und Notizen. September 1846 bis Dezember 1847/Karl Marx Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe 1983 Division IV Volume 6 Berlin Dietz Verlag

MarxKarl Le Capital, Paris 1872–1875 Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe 1989 Division II Volume 7 Berlin Dietz Verlag

MarxKarl Exzerpte und Notizen. Juli bis September 1851/Karl Marx Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe 1991 Division IV Volume 9 Berlin Dietz Verlag

MarxKarl Marx and Engels Collected Works Karl Marx: Capital. Volume I 1996 [1867] Volume 35 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarl Marx and Engels Collected Works Karl Marx: Capital. Volume III 1998 [1894] Volume 37 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarl Notes on Indian History (664–1858) 2001 Honolulu University Press of the Pacific

MarxKarl Manuskripte zum zweiten Buch des „Kapitals“ 1868 bis 1881 Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe 2008 Division II Volume 11 Berlin Akademie Verlag

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1844–45 1975 Volume 5 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1845–48 1976 Volume 6 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1848–49 1977 Volume 8 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1853–54 1979 Volume 12 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1858–60 1980 Volume 16 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1856–59 Letters 1983 Volume 40 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1861–64 1984 Volume 19 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1864–68 1985a Volume 20 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1867–70 1985b Volume 21 London Lawrence and Wishart.

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1858–60 1986 Volume 15 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1864–68 Letters Volume 42 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1868–70 Letters 1988 Volume 43 New York International Publishers

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1874–79 Letters 1991 Volume 45 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx and Engels Collected Works Marx and Engels: 1880–83 Letters 1992 Volume 46 London Lawrence and Wishart

MarxKarlEngelsFrederick Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe [forthcoming] Division IV Volume 14 Berlin Akademie Verlag

MerivaleHerman Lectures on Colonization and Colonies Delivered before the University of Oxford in 1839 1840 & 1841 1861 London Longman-Green-Longman, and Roberts

MonteleoneRenato Marxismo internazionalismo e questione nazionale: Dalla II Internazionale all’internazionale comunista 1982 Turin Loescher

NimtzAugust H. Marx and Engels: Their Contribution to the Democratic Breakthrough 2000 Albany State University of New York Press

NimtzAugust H. Bartolovich and Lazarus ‘The Eurocentric Marx and Engels, and Other Related Myths’ 2002 2002

PottsLydia BondTerry The World Labour Market: A History of Migration 1990 London Zed Books

Pozo-MartinGonzalo ‘Autonomous or Materialist Geopolitics?’ Cambridge Review of International Affairs 2007 20 4 551 563

PradellaLucia L’attualità del Capitale . Accumulazione e impoverimento nel capitalismo globale 2010a Padua Il Poligrafo

PradellaLucia ‘Beijing between Smith and Marx’ Historical Materialism 2010b 18 1 88 109

PradellaLucia ‘Marx’s Capital and Contemporary Capitalist Development’ International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 2011 5 2 118 126

PradellaLucia Mondializzazione e critica dell’economia politica alla luce della nuova edizione storico-critica degli scritti di Marx ed Engels Globalisation and the Critique of Political Economy: New Evidence from the MEGA² 2012 Ph.D. thesis University of Naples Federico II and Paris X-Nanterre

RicardoDavid On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation 1891 [1817] London Bell

RosdolskyRoman Engels and the ‘Non Historic’ Peoples: The National Question in the Revolution of 1848 1986 Glasgow Critique Books

RosdolskyRoman The Making of Marx’s ‘Capital’ 1989 Volume 1 London Pluto

RosenbergJustin ‘International Relations – the “Higher Bullshit”: A Reply to the Globalization Theory Debate’ International Politics 2007 44 450 482

SaidEdward Orientalism 1985 Harmondsworth Penguin

SchuylerRobert Livingston The Fall of the Old Colonial System: A Study in British Free Trade 1770–1870 1945 Oxford Oxford University Press

SenSukomal Working Class of India: History of Emergence and Movement 1830–1970 1977 Calcutta Bagchi

ShaikhAnwar ‘Foreign Trade and the Law of Value, Part I’ Science and Society 1979 43 3 281 302

ShaikhAnwar ‘Foreign Trade and the Law of Value, Part II’ Science and Society 1980 44 1 27 57

SmithAdam An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations 1961 [1776] Frome/London Butler and Tanner two volumes

SmithJohn Imperialism and the Globalisation of Production 2010 University of Sheffield Ph.D. thesis

StoneLawrence An Imperial State at War: Britain from 1689 to 1815 1994 London Routledge

TinkerHugh A New System of Slavery: The Export of Indian Labour Overseas 1830–1920 1974 Oxford Oxford University Press

Van der LindenMarcel ‘Labour History: The Old, the New and the Global’ African Studies 2007 66 2/3 169 180

WakefieldEdward Gibbon A View of the Art of Colonisation with Present Reference to the British Empire 1849 London John W. Parker

WilkinsMira ‘European and North American Multinationals, 1870–1914: Comparisons and Contrasts’ Business History 1988 30 1 8 45

WilkinsMiraSchroterHarm The Free Standing Company in the World Economy 1830–1996 1998 Oxford Oxford University Press

WilliamsEric Eustace Capitalism and Slavery 1964 London André Deutsch

WinchDonald Classical Political Economy and Colonies 1965 Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press

WoodEllen Meiksins ‘Logics of Power: A Conversation with David Harvey’ Historical Materialism 2006 14 4 9 34

2.

Anderson 2010.

3.

Brewer 1990p. 19. This opinion is shared by Roman Rosdolsky who affirms that only in Marx’s projected books on the state international trade and the world market would Marx have overcome his alleged ‘national’ framework and develop an analysis of ‘the international’: ‘. . . The domestic economy must be understood in its external relations to other capitalist (and non-capitalist) countries and ultimately as one element in a totality which embraces all countries. Only then do we arrive at the category “world market” and the “world economy” as a “rich totality of many definitions and relations”.’ (Rosdolsky 1989 p. 27.)

4.

Harvey 2005ap. 144.

5.

Wood 2006p. 21.

6.

Ashman and Callinicos 2006p. 108.

7.

Rosenberg 2007pp. 458–9.

9.

Marx 1996p. 9.

10.

Marx 1996p. 414.

11.

Marx 1983pp. 3ff.

12.

Marx and Engels 1979p. 222.

13.

Marx and Engels 1980pp. 17–21.

15.

Marx 1996pp. 454–5.

16.

Marx 1996p. 741.

17.

Marx 1996p. 453.

18.

Marx 1996p. 580. For similar formulations see Marx 2008 pp. 73 651. ‘Wir die gesamte Produktion des Weltmarkts als kapitalistisch betrieben voraussetzen’ Marx 2008 pp. 655 697.

21.

Cf. Shaikh 19791980.

22.

See Lapides 1998.

24.

Marx 1996pp. 606–7.

25.

Fawcett 1865p. 227 n. 56.

26.

Marx 1996pp. 606–7. See also Theories on Surplus-Value (Marx 1968 p. 423; and Marx 1971 p. 253).

27.

Merivale 1861.

29.

Anderson 1983p. 74.

30.

Harvey 2007pp. 59 62.

32.

Marx 1996p. 272.

33.

Banaji 2010p. 282.

36.

Marx 1996p. 604.

37.

Luxemburg 1951p. 365.

38.

Marx 1996pp. 764 703.

40.

Williams 1964p. 105.

41.

Marx and Engels 1991pp. 356–7.

42.

Marx and Engels 1992p. 63.

44.

Marx 1998pp. 396–7.

48.

Marx 1996p. 634.

49.

Marx 1998p. 236.

50.

Marx 1996p. 694.

51.

Marx and Engels 1987p. 504.

52.

Marx and Engels 1985bp. 194.

57.

Luxemburg 1951p. 364.

59.

Callinicos 2009p. 146.

60.

Marx 1991p. 515.

61.

Stone (ed.) 1994; Brewer 1989.

62.

Mann 1988.

63.

Marx 1996p. 750.

64.

Marx 1996p. 634. For the problematic relationship between increasing cooperation and autonomous organisation of the working class see note 46.

65.

Marx 1996p. 616.

67.

Marx and Engels 1985ap. 422.

69.

Rosdolsky 1986.

70.

Marx and Engels 1976p. 471; Marx and Engels 1977 p. 365.

71.

Benner 2006p. 171.

73.

See for example Said 1985. Even though I cannot discuss this point in more depth in the present article it is worth mentioning that according to Aijaz Ahmad the idea of the ‘double mission’ of British colonialism in India is not Eurocentric in itself but has to be understood within Marx’s dialectics. It followed the framework of his theory of history and was even a common idea among later anti-colonial nationalists (Ahmad 1992 pp. 226 234). As August Nimtz has shown (Nimtz 2002) Marx’s writings prove that he did not underestimate the importance of the labour of the peasants or their possible revolutionary role nor did he underestimate the persistence of slavery or the coerced wage-labour peculiar to colonial regimes.

74.

Marx and Engels 1983p. 342.

78.

Dunayevskaya 2000p. 83.

79.

Anderson 2010p. 85.

80.

Marx and Engels 1988p. 398. According to August Nimtz this turn is ‘most significant since it makes clear that the revolutionary “lever” for him contrary to the usual Marxological claim did not reside exclusively in the advanced industrialized capitalist world.’ (Nimtz 2000 p. 204.)

81.

Marx and Engels 1988p. 473.

82.

Marx and Engels 1988pp. 473–5.

83.

See Krader 1972 and 1975; Anderson 2010pp. 196–236.

84.

Callinicos 2009p. 48.

85.

Hilferding 1976p. 397.

87.

Bauer 1906–7 p. 489.

88.

Potts 1990p. 102.

90.

Lenin 1996p. 8.

92.

Bernstein 1969p. 177.

93.

Kautsky 1976.

96.

Engels 1993p. 57. In the Preface to Imperialism Lenin affirms that ‘The pamphlet here presented to the reader was written in the spring of 1916 in Zurich. In the conditions in which I was obliged to work there I naturally suffered somewhat from a shortage of French and English literature and from a serious dearth of Russian literature. However I made use of the principal English work on imperialism the book by J.A. Hobson with all the care that in my opinion that work deserves’ (Lenin 1996 p. 1).

97.

Engels 2001pp. 537–8.

98.

Lenin 1977p. 25.

101.

Luxemburg 1951p. 428.

103.

Luxemburg 1951pp. 452–3.

105.

See Harvey 2005app. 143–4.

106.

Lenin 1968.

Index Card

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 45 45 37
Full Text Views 33 33 33
PDF Downloads 7 7 7
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0