Start Date

8-12-2012 10:30 AM

End Date

8-12-2012 12:30 PM

Description

Abstract

Contemporary capitalism is a capitalism of generalized monopolies. By this I mean that monopolies are now no longer islands (albeit important) in a sea of other still relatively autonomous companies, but are an integrated system. Therefore, these monopolies now tightly control all the systems of production. Small and medium enterprises, and even the large corporations that are not strictly speaking oligopolies are locked in a network of control put in place by the monopolies. Their degree of autonomy has shrunk to the point that they are nothing more than subcontractors of the monopolies. This system of generalized monopolies is the product of a new phase of centralization of capital in the countries of the Triad (theUnited States, Western and Central Europe, andJapan) that took place during the 1980s and 1990s. The generalized monopolies now dominate the world economy. ‘Globalization’ is the name they have given to the set of demands by which they exert their control over the productive systems of the periphery of global capitalism (the world beyond the partners of the triad). It is nothing other than a new stage of imperialism. The capitalism of generalized and globalized monopolies is a system that guarantees these monopolies a monopoly rent levied on the mass of surplus value (transformed into profits) that capital extracts from the exploitation of labour. To the extent that these monopolies are operating in the peripheries of the global system, monopoly rent is imperialist rent. The process of capital accumulation – that defines capitalism in all its successive historical forms – is therefore driven by the maximisation of monopoly/imperialist rent seeking. This shift in the centre of gravity of the accumulation of capital is the source of the continuous concentration of income and wealth to the benefit of the monopolies, largely monopolised by the oligarchies (‘plutocracies’) that govern oligopolistic groups at the expense of the remuneration of labour and even the remuneration of non-monopolistic capital. This imbalance in continued growth is itself, in turn, the source of the financialisation of the economic system. By this I mean that a growing portion of the surplus cannot be invested in the expansion and deepening of systems of production and therefore the ‘financial investment’ of this excessive surplus becomes the only option for continued accumulation under the control of the monopolies. This financialisation, which is responsible for the growth of inequality in income distribution (and fortunes), generates the growing surplus on which it feeds. The ‘financial investments’ (or rather the investments in financial speculation) continue to grow at dizzying speeds, not commensurate with growth in GDP (which is therefore becoming largely fictitious) or with investment in real production. The explosive growth of financial investment requires – and fuels – among other things debt in all its forms, especially sovereign debt. When the governments in power claim to be pursuing the goal of ‘debt reduction’, they are deliberately lying. For the strategy of financialised monopolies requires the growth in debt (which they seek, rather than combat) as a way to absorb the surplus profit of monopolies. The austerity policies imposed ‘to reduce debt’ have indeed resulted (as intended) in increasing its volume. It is this system – commonly called ‘neoliberal’, the system of generalized monopoly capitalism, ‘globalized’ (imperialist) and financialised (of necessity for its own reproduction) – that is imploding before our eyes. This system, apparently unable to overcome its growing internal contradictions, is doomed to continue its wild ride. The historical circumstances created by the implosion of contemporary capitalism requires the radical left, in the North as well as the South, to be bold in formulating its political alternative to the existing system. This moment demands as the only effective response a bold and audacious radicalization in the formulation of alternatives capable of moving workers and peoples to take the offensive to defeat their adversary’s strategy of war. These formulations, based on the analysis of actually existing contemporary capitalism, must directly confront the future that is to be built, and turn their back on the nostalgia for the past and illusions of identity or consensus.

摘要

当代资本主义是普遍化垄断的资本主义。即是说,垄断企业再不是在一片相对自主的企业汪洋大海中的孤岛(即便它有多重要)。垄断已经成为一个整合的系统。这些垄断集团紧紧控制所有生产系统。中小型企业,和甚至严格来说不算是寡头的大企业,都被束缚于垄断集团布置的控制网络中。它们的自主性萎缩至只沦为垄断集团的分包人。

在1980-90年代,资本愈益集中于美国、中西欧与日本这三巨头里,而这个普遍化的垄断系统正是资本集中新阶段的产品。

普遍化垄断正主宰全球经济。所谓的“全球化”,是指它们对全球资本主义边缘地区的生产系统施以控制的一系列要求。这无异于帝国主义的新阶段。

普遍化和全球化垄断的资本主义作为一个系统,确保这些垄断集团能从资本剥削劳动所榨取的巨量剩余价值(转化为利润)征收垄断租。这些垄断集团在全球体系的边缘地区运作,即是说垄断租正是帝国主义租。

因此,界定资本主义所有历史形式的资本累积过程,是被极大化垄断/帝国主义寻租所驱动着。

资本累积重心的转移,正是收入与财富不断向垄断集团集中的根源。这些利益大部分被统领其他寡头集团的寡头(富人统治集团)所垄断,为此不惜牺牲劳工应得的报酬,甚至非垄断资本的收益。

这种持续增长中的不平衡,反过来成为经济金融化的根源。即是说愈来愈大部分的剩余价值不再被用来投资于扩张及深化生产系统。因此,在垄断集团的控制下,持续累积的惟一选择是把这些过剩的剩余用作金融投资。

金融化是收入分配日益不平等的原因。它产生不断增长的剩余,而且以此自肥。“金融投资”(或说投资于金融投机)以令人晕眩的速率在膨胀,完全与实体生产投资与GDP增长脱节。GDP增长也愈来愈变成虚拟增长。

金融投资的爆炸性增长需要各种形式的债务作为燃料,尤其是主权债务。霸权国政府声称寻求“减债”,实际上是在故意说谎。因为金融化垄断集团的策略要求通过债务增长来吸纳垄断的剩余利润。所以它们在追逐债务,而不是减债。所谓为了“减债”而强加的紧缩措施,实际上是刻意用来增加债务。

这个体系一般被称为“新自由主义”,实际是普遍化资本主义系统,它是全球化(帝国主义)和金融化(为自我再生产所需)。这个体系正在我们眼前内爆。它明显不能克服其愈益严重的内部矛盾,注定要继续如脱缰野马,到处践踏。

回应当代资本主义内爆的历史时刻,南北世界的激进左派需要大胆提出可以替代这个系统的政治构想。这个历史时刻需要大胆和彻底的另类替代作为惟一有效的回应。它要能推动工人和人民奋起反抗,击败对手诉诸战争的策略。建基于对当代真实资本主义的分析,这些构想需要直面我们要建设的未来,舍弃对过去的眷恋,打破身份认同或共识的幻象。

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Recommended Citation

Amin, S. (2012, December). The implosion of the contemporary global capitalist system = 当代资本主义体系的内爆. Paper presented at 2012 International Conference on Sustainability & Rural Reconstruction, Southwest University, Chongqingng, China.

 
Dec 8th, 10:30 AM Dec 8th, 12:30 PM

The implosion of the contemporary global capitalist system = 当代资本主义体系的内爆

Abstract

Contemporary capitalism is a capitalism of generalized monopolies. By this I mean that monopolies are now no longer islands (albeit important) in a sea of other still relatively autonomous companies, but are an integrated system. Therefore, these monopolies now tightly control all the systems of production. Small and medium enterprises, and even the large corporations that are not strictly speaking oligopolies are locked in a network of control put in place by the monopolies. Their degree of autonomy has shrunk to the point that they are nothing more than subcontractors of the monopolies. This system of generalized monopolies is the product of a new phase of centralization of capital in the countries of the Triad (theUnited States, Western and Central Europe, andJapan) that took place during the 1980s and 1990s. The generalized monopolies now dominate the world economy. ‘Globalization’ is the name they have given to the set of demands by which they exert their control over the productive systems of the periphery of global capitalism (the world beyond the partners of the triad). It is nothing other than a new stage of imperialism. The capitalism of generalized and globalized monopolies is a system that guarantees these monopolies a monopoly rent levied on the mass of surplus value (transformed into profits) that capital extracts from the exploitation of labour. To the extent that these monopolies are operating in the peripheries of the global system, monopoly rent is imperialist rent. The process of capital accumulation – that defines capitalism in all its successive historical forms – is therefore driven by the maximisation of monopoly/imperialist rent seeking. This shift in the centre of gravity of the accumulation of capital is the source of the continuous concentration of income and wealth to the benefit of the monopolies, largely monopolised by the oligarchies (‘plutocracies’) that govern oligopolistic groups at the expense of the remuneration of labour and even the remuneration of non-monopolistic capital. This imbalance in continued growth is itself, in turn, the source of the financialisation of the economic system. By this I mean that a growing portion of the surplus cannot be invested in the expansion and deepening of systems of production and therefore the ‘financial investment’ of this excessive surplus becomes the only option for continued accumulation under the control of the monopolies. This financialisation, which is responsible for the growth of inequality in income distribution (and fortunes), generates the growing surplus on which it feeds. The ‘financial investments’ (or rather the investments in financial speculation) continue to grow at dizzying speeds, not commensurate with growth in GDP (which is therefore becoming largely fictitious) or with investment in real production. The explosive growth of financial investment requires – and fuels – among other things debt in all its forms, especially sovereign debt. When the governments in power claim to be pursuing the goal of ‘debt reduction’, they are deliberately lying. For the strategy of financialised monopolies requires the growth in debt (which they seek, rather than combat) as a way to absorb the surplus profit of monopolies. The austerity policies imposed ‘to reduce debt’ have indeed resulted (as intended) in increasing its volume. It is this system – commonly called ‘neoliberal’, the system of generalized monopoly capitalism, ‘globalized’ (imperialist) and financialised (of necessity for its own reproduction) – that is imploding before our eyes. This system, apparently unable to overcome its growing internal contradictions, is doomed to continue its wild ride. The historical circumstances created by the implosion of contemporary capitalism requires the radical left, in the North as well as the South, to be bold in formulating its political alternative to the existing system. This moment demands as the only effective response a bold and audacious radicalization in the formulation of alternatives capable of moving workers and peoples to take the offensive to defeat their adversary’s strategy of war. These formulations, based on the analysis of actually existing contemporary capitalism, must directly confront the future that is to be built, and turn their back on the nostalgia for the past and illusions of identity or consensus.

摘要

当代资本主义是普遍化垄断的资本主义。即是说,垄断企业再不是在一片相对自主的企业汪洋大海中的孤岛(即便它有多重要)。垄断已经成为一个整合的系统。这些垄断集团紧紧控制所有生产系统。中小型企业,和甚至严格来说不算是寡头的大企业,都被束缚于垄断集团布置的控制网络中。它们的自主性萎缩至只沦为垄断集团的分包人。

在1980-90年代,资本愈益集中于美国、中西欧与日本这三巨头里,而这个普遍化的垄断系统正是资本集中新阶段的产品。

普遍化垄断正主宰全球经济。所谓的“全球化”,是指它们对全球资本主义边缘地区的生产系统施以控制的一系列要求。这无异于帝国主义的新阶段。

普遍化和全球化垄断的资本主义作为一个系统,确保这些垄断集团能从资本剥削劳动所榨取的巨量剩余价值(转化为利润)征收垄断租。这些垄断集团在全球体系的边缘地区运作,即是说垄断租正是帝国主义租。

因此,界定资本主义所有历史形式的资本累积过程,是被极大化垄断/帝国主义寻租所驱动着。

资本累积重心的转移,正是收入与财富不断向垄断集团集中的根源。这些利益大部分被统领其他寡头集团的寡头(富人统治集团)所垄断,为此不惜牺牲劳工应得的报酬,甚至非垄断资本的收益。

这种持续增长中的不平衡,反过来成为经济金融化的根源。即是说愈来愈大部分的剩余价值不再被用来投资于扩张及深化生产系统。因此,在垄断集团的控制下,持续累积的惟一选择是把这些过剩的剩余用作金融投资。

金融化是收入分配日益不平等的原因。它产生不断增长的剩余,而且以此自肥。“金融投资”(或说投资于金融投机)以令人晕眩的速率在膨胀,完全与实体生产投资与GDP增长脱节。GDP增长也愈来愈变成虚拟增长。

金融投资的爆炸性增长需要各种形式的债务作为燃料,尤其是主权债务。霸权国政府声称寻求“减债”,实际上是在故意说谎。因为金融化垄断集团的策略要求通过债务增长来吸纳垄断的剩余利润。所以它们在追逐债务,而不是减债。所谓为了“减债”而强加的紧缩措施,实际上是刻意用来增加债务。

这个体系一般被称为“新自由主义”,实际是普遍化资本主义系统,它是全球化(帝国主义)和金融化(为自我再生产所需)。这个体系正在我们眼前内爆。它明显不能克服其愈益严重的内部矛盾,注定要继续如脱缰野马,到处践踏。

回应当代资本主义内爆的历史时刻,南北世界的激进左派需要大胆提出可以替代这个系统的政治构想。这个历史时刻需要大胆和彻底的另类替代作为惟一有效的回应。它要能推动工人和人民奋起反抗,击败对手诉诸战争的策略。建基于对当代真实资本主义的分析,这些构想需要直面我们要建设的未来,舍弃对过去的眷恋,打破身份认同或共识的幻象。