Is globalization simply modern imperialism?

2002-01-13

Richard Moore

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From: •••@••.•••
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 23:35:32 EST
Subject: change of subject
To: •••@••.•••

Richard,

Something less explosive than 9-11 conspiracies.  I'd like
your opinion on this question.  No need to go into a long
explanation, unless you want to.  I just need some food for
thought and a little push in the right direction.

Should globalization be viewed as a sub-category of
modern-day imperialism? Or more as a separate phenomenon to
be best understood?  Or what?

Best,
Bill

==========

Dear Bill,

A good question.

To the extent that imperialism is about industrialized
nations exploiting the third world, then globalization can
be seen as a modernization of that process.  But there is
more than that to imperialism, and more than that to
globalization.

Imperialism, in the classic sense, is the regime that
dominated world affairs in the centuries leading up to 1945.
Under that regime the stronger ('core') nations carved up
the rest of the world (into 'peripheries') to provide investment
opportunities for wealthy bankers, traders, investors,
and industrialists - each nation's capitalist elite.  The
muscle of each core nation was used to keep the other powers
out of its territories, and to control the subject
populations - so they could be easily exploited.  The
driving engine was the capitalist search for evermore
wealth, and the visible geopolitical behavior was continual
competition and warfare among the core nations.  The core
elites were eager to promote strong nation states, as
national power was the means of expanding and protecting
capital investments.

We can summarize the characteristics of imperialism this
way:
  - exploitation of periphery by core
  - partition of periphery into separate markets / empires
  - strong alignment of capitalist and nationalist interests
  - strong core nation states
  - jealous guarding of core-nation sovereignty by capital elite
  - ongoing warfare and territorial competition among core nations

Globalization, on the other hand, can be characterized this
way:
  - exploitation of periphery by core
  - integration of periphery into single market / investment realm
  - conflict between capitalist and nationalist interests
  - weakening of core nation states
  - undermining of core-nation sovereignty
  - no warfare or territorial competition among core nations

Out of the six primary characteristics of each system, only
one is shared while all the rest are opposites of one
another.

Here's another way to put it:

    Imperialism: n, a global system characterized by competing
    strong nations, each striving to control as much territory
    as possible, for the purpose of economic exploitation.
    
    Globalization: n, a process of historical change, during
    which an imperialist system is transformed into a system
    characterized by weak nation states and a central world
    government, a government which is controlled totally by the
    capitalist  elite, and whose purpose is to economically
    exploit every one else.
    
    New World Order: n, that world system being created by the
    globalization process.  (syn.) global fascism.

Imperialism, globalization, and the New World Order are each
stages in the evolution of global capitalism.  In general,
the evolution of capitalism is managed consciously by
capitalist elites, as they adjust to changing conditions and
as they think up new ways to exploit and control.  Consensus
is achieved in the elite community by means of think-tanks
and consultants who cater to the interests of global
capital.  For at least two centuries the national
governments and the political processes in the core nations
have been the faithful agents of the capitalist elite.

In such a world, I can only chuckle at those who don't think
there are any conspiracies going on.  It is for them that
the film 'The Matrix' is a needed metaphor.

cheers,
rkm
http://cyberjournal.org

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