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How rich countries dominate in the twenty-first century
Author: Sam King

"Over a hundred years since the beginning of modern imperialism, the former colonial world is still prevented from joining the club of imperialist powers. The gap between rich and poor countries is not narrowing but growing. China is usually presented as challenging the dominance of the United States and other rich countries. However, imperialist domination over the most sophisticated aspects of the labour process gives the rich countries and their corporations control over the global labour process as a whole – including in China. Third World producers are forced to specialise in the opposite types of work – in relatively simple and low-end labour, for which major price markups and large profits are rarely possible. This is the kernel of unequal exchange in world trade. The imperialist system develops two types of capital – monopoly and non-monopoly capital – and two types of societies – rich, monopoly, imperialist societies and poor, non-monopoly, ‘Third World’ societies. China’s ascendance to become the most powerful Third World country in no way threatens to topple continuing imperialist dominance. Most contemporary Marxist writing has not been focused on global income polarisation and imperialist exploitation of the poor countries. For this reason, it has been unable to explain how exactly the same countries continuously reproduce their dominance. However, the actual conditions of the neoliberal world economy have made explicit how this happens through the labour process itself. In doing so it has also shown how Marx’s labour theory of value can be concretely applied to the conditions of monopoly capital today.

Abstract only
Sam King

The neoliberal period reconfirmed the global polarisation inherent in the imperialist system. It also made the basic mechanism of Third World exploitation – unequal exchange – explicit and hence easier to explain and demonstrate. It has shown Lenin’s theory of monopoly finance capital is a basically accurate application, not negation, of Marx’s labour theory of value. For

in Imperialism and the development myth
Sam King

familiar with it); minimises or does not focus on economic imperialism and Third World exploitation; or can't adequately explain how, exactly, imperialism works. For readers unfamiliar with other contemporary works or less interested in examining the key writers criticised – which include Harvey, Callinicos, Bellamy Foster (as well as Amin, Baran and Sweezy) and Smith – it would be possible to skip

in Imperialism and the development myth
Sam King

respectively – nor capital’s ‘geo-spatial’ or ‘spatial temporal dynamics’ and ‘spatial-fix’ crisis theory, which collectively constitute Harvey’s new imperialism theory, do not explain Third World exploitation or the reproduction of imperialist dominance. In 2003, Harvey acknowledged Third World exploitation and attempted to use these theoretical tools

in Imperialism and the development myth
Sam King

account for Third World exploitation without reference to production: ‘Neoliberal financialization’ through the Third World debt crisis, Foster said, ‘attempts to create a new “financial architecture” in underdeveloped countries, leading to new financial dependencies’. See Foster, ‘Monopoly-Finance Capital’; Chesnais

in Imperialism and the development myth
Sam King

monopoly is not central to Third World exploitation. 3 The International Socialist Tendency’s key concept historically has been ‘state capitalism’ – a form of state monopoly. For Monthly Review the key was ‘monopoly capital’ (the monopoly of corporations) and later ‘monopoly finance capitalism’ (of finance over industry). Monopoly is also

in Imperialism and the development myth