Have you pondered the recent openings of McDonalds in Tokyo
and Moscow, or Disneyworld near Paris? How many people on every
continent drive a Japanese or German automobile with computer chipsfrom the U.S.? Shoes are made in Brazil, Portugal, etc. Clothes come from Mexico, Malaysia, etc.

A list of foreign investors and modern capitalistic market
expansion like the above could probably go on almost indefinitely. However, to understand this modern economic aggression, I may have some insight to share.

More years ago than I care to mention I was a young graduate
student seeking to understand that which I couldn't understand,
socialism. V. I. Lenin was a socialist revolutionary living in
Switzerland when he wrote a small book in 1917 while in self
imposed exile during the Bolshevik Revolution. I borrowed the
title of his book for this essay.

Basically, this book developed the idea that seemed a logical
consequence of the Malthusian theory developed by Rev. Thomas
Malthus. The Malthusian theory was that as a country became over
populated, economic forces brought pressure on the government and
capitalist powers that be, to look for relief through the
acquisition of its weakest or conquerable neighbor. Adolph
Hitler's 'Lebensraum' is a most glaring modern example. Said
acquisition meant war which meant a reduction in population with
the death of soldiers which also meant a reduction of males to sire new burdens to the over-population problem. Also Lenin built a parallel theory which basically said that true laissez faire (hands off) capitalism would produce corporations that would compete for king of the mountain of the economic base of their country. Once this single corporation had bankrupted or acquired all of its competitors, then it would control the entire country with the most powerful weapon of all, money. Lenin seemed to fear the economic social Darwinism that his generation bantered about. Once this giant megacorporation had conquered all, stood tall and surveyed the horizon, it was only natural to say "lets take over our neighbors so we can have new markets to conquer."

Lenin's thesis was plausible, but if you were to consider the
U.S. as a significant example, this theory begins to break down.
Teddy Roosevelt, after the turn of this century, saw the emergence of these giant corporations and set out on his trust busting era which was designed to keep them competing and subsequently at arms length from a monopoly. Thus, from my perspective, had Lenin written his little book thirty years earlier, I would have considered it particularly insightful, but if you look at the U.S. it seems a thoughtful society will attempt to adjust and correct for the developing imbalances and abuses in capitalism. The U.S. today has something of a controlled capitalism as opposed to hands off, laissez faire capitalism. In fact, not controlling capitalism is a truly scary thought.

Having the privilege of an additional 3/4's of a century to
look back and gauge the significance of his book, it seems easy to say that perhaps he had his heart in the right place because he seemed to want money to serve people rather than people to serve money and monied interests. But, he was prejudiced in his
objective which left his logic lacking.

Today, however, there is a new dimension to this picture which
seems to totally change the perspective herein developed. The U.S. and the UN as well as most of this worlds countries at large seem to want peace. It seems in their best interest to not go to war. With this outbreak of peace or at least peace movements, perhaps a good question to ask is, 'Has time and circumstance forced capitalism to a new era?' If Malthus had some truth in his theory, then if war is eliminated (for whatever reason) as a possibility for acquiring desired weal th and resources, then what avenue do you take to accomplish the standard capitalist goal of profits, wealth and resources? The answer seems to be market expansion. Look at the tobacco industry and its market thrust into third world countries and maybe the biggest market prize of all, China. How many McDonalds and other capitalist franchises can be found in this world outside their home based country? Is not that "sucking sound" ofjobs going to Mexico, etc. founded on the capitalist profit motive? Not only is the labor less expensive but so is capital expenditures.

In conclusion, it is obvious that nothing stays the same and
that the evolution of capitalism is certainly at a new level. From my perspective, I think if anyone was to write a book on this subject today, it probably should be titled, Capitalism, the
Highest Stage of Imperialism.

If you would like to have a 10 min. video to possibly give a more comprehensive view of my position on societal improvement via the elimination of capital punishment, my 10 min segment in the debate seemed to steal the show.

1 comment:

  1. I doubt the average reader will detect my little effort at being clever. V I Lenin wrote a little book in the early part of the last century called IMPERIALISM, THE HIGHEST STAGE OF CAPITALISM. My professor in grad school thought my review of same somewhat insightful and I believe he gave me an A on same. I have sought almost all of my life that I needed to validate my existence by being cutting edge on contemporary issue. In grad school I majored in 19th century Russian Socialism because I wanted to be pro people, after all I am one, and economics was a big issue back then. What served the most people well, socialism or capitalism? My book review said Lenin had a great heart but was totally lacking in understanding American capitalism (and European) because it was NOT laissez faire capitalism (hands off) but rather regulated and somewhat society oriented but did have some huge growing pains with labor unions and the depression etc. I totally support our American regulated capitalism and am an apologist for same. It will never be perfect but it has done more for more people than any other economic system ever. tks, Ross p.s. I covet logic and do not ever want it to be piece meal or prejudiced or pigeon holed...The great Sigmund Freud said "Socialism will never work, it stifles the initiative of the individual."


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