The rules of the international economy
cburford at gn.apc.org
Fri Sep 4 15:44:18 PDT 1998
At 08:49 AM 9/2/98 -0700, Brad wrote:
>>Clinton, amiably but firmly to his Russian hosts, yesterday - the big
>>"There is no way out of playing the rules of the international economy if
>>you want to be part of it."
>>What are the rules of the international economy?
>(1) That if you want to benefit from and accelerate your industrialization
>by borrowing on a large scale from the industrial core when investors in
>the core are optimistic about prospects out on the periphery, then you had
>better be ready to stabilize your economy when investors in the industrial
>core change their minds...
>(2) That if you want to benefit from and accelerate your industrialization
>by borrowing on a large scale from the industrial core, then you had better
>be ready to take every step to reassure investors in the industrial core
>that their property will be safe and their profits large...
>(3) That if you want to benefit from and accelerate your industrialization
>by participating in the web of international trade, then you had better
>take every step to reassure those whom you buy from that you will be a
>stable source of demand, and to reassure those whom you sell to that you
>will be a stable source of supply...
>(4) That if you interested in raising the standard of living of your
>people, that you should pursue the globalizing path: if twentieth century
>history shows anything, it shows that countries that have aggressively
>pursued development strategies that focus on exporting to the industrial
>core and on importing modern capital goods from the industrial core have
>done much, much better than those that didn't--compare Italy to Argentina,
>or South Korea to India, or Mauritius to Cuba...
A valuably "realistic" statement of the rules. I would generally agree with
some of Mark Jones's counter-arguments.
More centrally let me put this point back. This argument by Brad DeLong
leaves out the uneven process of accumulation on a world scale for which no
form of virtue is a defence.
The dice are loaded against the peripheral economies. Yes, given that,
they have little choice except to compete even more rapidly to become
participants in a global capitalist economy. Eg. dry regions of Kenya must
produce flowers intensively to be flown daily to the supermarkets of
Britain (ignoring the environmental pollution that the production and the
airflights both cause). And in class terms these must widen rapidly. The
only hope in Kenya is to move from learning the name of flowers favoured by
Europeans, to becoming a member of the educated proletariat of the world,
middle class and privileged in your own country, with your even more
educated sons and daughters, trying to get a green card to get into North
America, to be able to do temporary work as a taxi driver and dodge
I feel Brad has given the "realistic" "sensible" argument for complying
with the rules of the international economy, and to accelerate the
capitalist revolution sweeping through every niche of the globe.
But is it unreasonable to expect the economy to be brought under control on
a global scale, and the environment to be protected on a global scale?
Is it ultimately "realistic" to think we can safely leave this to the
unseen hand of the capitalist market?
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