Sam King
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Growing state dominance
in Imperialism and the development myth
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One typical feature of the contemporary world economy is the growing importance of state support to private capital – particularly for large corporations. Contemporary Marxist writing tends to overlook state support given in the production process itself, instead emphasising fiscal and financial support, state repression and state military roles or its legal and regulatory functions. The state’s role is too often separated from the labour process itself. Yet, the modern state plays an indispensable leadership role in both the reproduction of labour power and what Marx called a ‘revolutionising of the means of production’. Imperialist states, and especially the United States, are the driving force of technological change. The US Department of Defense and Department of Energy in particular have been largely responsible for the basic technologies used to revolutionise the production process after the Second World War and into the digital age. State support is also crucial for the largest Third World capitalist firms. This is particularly so in the most developed Third World societies. The ideal Third World state – from the point of view of the imperialist countries and their monopoly firms – aims not to organise and subsidise the development of new competitors, but to actively facilitate the penetration of foreign direct investment and to promote complementary forms of economic development and production within its territory. That is to say, production that uses its competitive advantages, principally cheap labour. In the most developed Third World societies this also involves direct state involvement in creating the conditions for production – albeit at a lower technical level than in the rich countries.

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Imperialism and the development myth

How rich countries dominate in the twenty-first century


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