Sam King
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the reproduction of highest labour power
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The rapid pace of technical change means that technical superiority in any given labour processes is an inadequate basis for long-term economic domination over competitors. Over time, every process becomes more commonplace and ceases to be advanced in relation to competing producers. Reproduction of dominance by any given section of capital requires constant involvement in innovation of new technology through the systematic organisation and acceleration of research and development. In this context, competition between capitalist firms tends to shift from the sphere of production to the sphere of research, development and other preparation of the conditions for production. The highest and most important of these conditions is the development of the labour force and especially of highly skilled labour of all types. In Late Capitalism, Mandel observed that, in the conditions of modern imperialism, competition between countries moves tendentially from the sphere of production to the sphere of social reproduction. However, Third World societies experienced colonial subjugation and continue to be excluded from the benefits of humanity’s common social development. Where a given society’s level of development is not equal to the rich, imperialist countries, that society is forced into a process of production and reproduction on a qualitatively lower level than the imperialist states and cannot compete with them. This inequality is reinforced because national development and the development of advanced science can never be adequately built upon a productive foundation specialising in the simple labour processes assigned to Third World countries within the contemporary global division of labour.

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Imperialism and the development myth

How rich countries dominate in the twenty-first century


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