Saturday, November 6, 2021

The Foundational Stage Of Capitalism

A capitalist society is not built in a vacuum. Massive resources, including unearned wealth (gold, silver, coal, iron, petroleum, etc.), land (entire continents have to be subjugated), slave labor (millions of slaves), and colonies (for plunder, cheap labor, and resources), which are acquired through imperialistic and totalitarian strategies, are the basic requirement for developing a political and economic environment in which a capitalist society can arise. For a poor country, which has never been an imperialist power, capitalism is an unachievable ideal. The old truism, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime,” is valid for capitalist fortunes. 

There is no doubt that communism leads to a bloodbath: the excesses of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Kim Il-sung are well-known. But the founders of capitalist societies are not saints—their body count is not less than that of the communist tyrants. How many people were massacred by the European imperialists between the fifteenth century and the middle of the twentieth? How many wars has America fought in the twentieth century to expand its capitalist power? The irony is that America has fought more wars in the twentieth century than the erstwhile Soviet Union and China (under Mao). 

Lenin was wrong when he said that “imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism.” History tells us that imperialism is the foundational stage of capitalism. It is a myth that capitalism can be developed by liberalizing the economy. The road to capitalist utopia starts from the point of imperialism. When there is economic liberalization in a non-Western country, its culture and economy get captured by the Western forces which masquerade as capitalists. Crony capitalism is the highest form of capitalism. The communists lust for total power; the capitalists lust for total profits. In communism, the war cry is dictatorship of the proletariat. In capitalism, the war cry is manifest destiny.

In his unfinished book the Dialectics of Nature (1876), Friedrich Engels has succinctly reported on the central problems of capitalism. Here’s an excerpt: 

“When individual capitalists are engaged in production and exchange for the sake of the immediate profit, only the nearest, most immediate results can be taken into account in the first place… What did the Spanish planters in Cuba, who burned down forests the slopes of the mountains and obtained from the ashes sufficient fertilizer for one generation of very highly profitable coffee trees, care that the tropical rainfall afterwards washed away the now unprotected upper stratum of the soil, leaving behind only bare rock? In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the first, tangible success; and then surprise is expressed that the more remote effects of actions directed to this end turn out to be of quite a different, mainly even of quite an opposite, character…”

If a non-Western country aspires to become capitalist, then it has to do everything that the Western powers have done from the fifteenth century to the twentieth. This entails becoming an imperialist power, founding colonies, enslaving millions of people, and plundering many lands.

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