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The Economic Foundations of Contemporary Imperialism

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This paper argues that present-day imperialism is strongly related to the domination of a precise form of capital, namely highly concentrated interest- and dividend-bearing money-capital which operates in financial markets, breeds today's pervasive fetishism of money, but is totally dependent on surplus-value and production. Two mechanisms ensure the appropriation and/or production of surplus-product and its centralisation to the world system's financial hubs. In the 1980s, foreign debt prevailed. Foreign production and profit repatriation by TNCs now represent the main channel. Following the transfer abroad of part of its production by US TNCs, the issue for the US in their relations with the rest of the world is not the commercialisation of surplus through exports, but dependency on imports and, more crucially, on large inflows of money-capital to support the stock market, buy T-bonds and refinance mortgage. This new dependency helps to explain the 'paradox' that US imperialism is increasingly forced to try and offset this through extra-economic and even military coercion where it can.

Affiliations: 1: Professor Emeritus, University of Paris XIII-Villetaneuse;, Email:


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