Capital & Class. - 1988. - Issue 34 by Conference of Socialist Economists

By Conference of Socialist Economists

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It was left to Roosevelt, together with Stalin and Churchill, to redivide the world in 1944 in a manner which exactly corresponded to the relation of productive, military and financial forces . To the USSR, a buffer zone. To Britain, a junior partnership in us Limited, sanctified by a place in the sun and a share in atomic technology . To Germany and Japan, us management. To France, whatever it could get . The arrangement precisely satisfies the conditions for hegemony which we established for Britain before wwt.

Simple domination of superior forces of production is not sufficient, as the USA found in the 1920s and both Japan and Germany know today . Neither is simple domination of markets sufficient, although Britain still does not seem to understand this and probably never will. From the great crisis of 1873 until the present day Britain has sacrificed its technological lead for its monopoly privileges. us capital was absolutely incapable of translating this productive advantage into a stable realised surplus until it could supplant Britain as the principal organiser of the sources of monopoly rent - in short until it had become the world's foremost financial power and above all its foremost military power .

This decline had to manifest itself in trade, and under Reagan it began to do so explosively . The gigantic us trade deficit is not the consequence of bad economic management, Reaganomics or any such superficial factors . It is the product of an inexorable, long-term and - if the inter-war years offer a basis for comparison - irreversible historical process, of the utmost importance to Marxists and socialists and, indeed, all humanity . This has expressed itself in virtually all sectors and all goods and was doing so long before the present crisis .

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