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Re: r.biel@ucl.ac.uk
by Louis Proyect
30 September 2002 14:43 UTC
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At 11:33 PM 9/29/2002 -0400, Ganesh TK wrote:
>Well spoken, TH.  Could not agree with you more.  MS.
>>In a message dated Thu, 5 Sep 2002 1:29:01 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
>>lnp3@panix.com writes:
>> > Like the current collapse of the US stock market, the prolonged rise 
>> of the
>> > Asian tiger economies can be attributed to speculative
>> > mania.
>>This is ridiculous.  South Korea, is along with Japan and Italy, one of 
>>the three countries to make a really dramatic shift in its status in the 
>>global hierarchy over the last fifty years. Were it to actually move from 
>>being a peripheral country circa 1940 to being as wealthy as the US circa 
>>2000--that would pretty much be unprecedented in economic history. 
>>Foreign currency continues to flow into China at a pretty spectacular 
>>rate.  It is one thing to say that capitalism is characterized by booms 
>>and busts, expansions and crises, and another to claim that all economic 
>>growth is simply a myth or illusion.

"Economic growth" is a term that was introduced by bourgeois economists. 
All economies grow. The Haitian economy has grown since 1950. The real 
question facing those of us in the Marxist tradition is whether it is 
possible for a country like South Korea or China to eventually achieve G7 
social indicators. This is ruled out. Furthermore, the fact that a country 
experiences rapid growth in one period or another does not tell us very 
much. In the early 20th century no country grew as rapidly as Argentina.

>>   The fact that the US economy collapsed in the 1930s (leading to 
>> incomparably more serious social problems than have characterized Japan 
>> or the tigers in the last ten years) did not negate its explosive 
>> rise.  In all previous phases of 'speculative mania' (and they go back 
>> hundreds of years before Lenin, and have nothing much to do with 
>> 'mature' capitalism) one country or region has absorbed capital in such 
>> a way that it has grown rapidly and dramatically shifted its position in 
>> terms of geopolitical and economic power.  Today, this region is clearly 
>> East Asia.

The worldwide depression and the ensuing world war was the way that 
capitalism managed its crisis. The economic stagnation of countries like 
Zaire, the Philippines, etc. is *normal*.

>>As for technological dependency, Japan recently built the fastest 
>>computer in the world--roughly 20 times faster than any in the US.

I have no idea why you bring up Japan. Japan had an exceptional economic 
evolution owing much to its status as an island.

>>Finally, please supply a quote from anyone widely regarded as a world 
>>system theorist (sic) who actually make the claims about the Cuban 
>>revolution you attribute to them.

It is not really Cuba in particular that I am referring to. I am referring 
to their rather Olympian disregard of the achievements of proletarian 
revolutions. Because these countries do not abolish commodity production, 
it is no reason to stick your nose up at them. Just look at what happens 
when socialism disappears (pandemics, prostitution, tribal warfare, etc.) 
to understand why workers are better off with it, even with bureaucratic 

Louis Proyect

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