[Marxism] State capitalism: some quick replies to Joe and Phil

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 14 19:04:23 MST 2004

Tom O' Lincoln:
>But western regimes expend a certain portion of their surplus on these same
>things. It's part of the reproduction of labour power, which is essential
>to capitalism. The real test would be whether the Soviet regime devoted a
>significantly larger percentage of the surplus to these ends than, say,
>Sweden. I don't know; perhaps you can tell me.

One of these days I am going to try to find the time to do a proper 
analysis of Swedish imperialism. How this country ended up with such an 
egalitarian allure is interesting. With no direct colonies to speak of, it 
nevertheless participated in the general dividing up of the colonial world. 
It also never got involved in military adventures.

A more useful example of social democratic beneficence might be Costa Rica, 
but then we know that this was fairly short-lived. Costa Rica never 
conquered and exploited colonies, as did neither any other Latin country. 
But then again it got dismantled by neoliberalism in the 1980s, around the 
same time Sandinista Nicaragua got pulverized.

As a rule of thumb, it is useful to compare apples and apples, not apples 
and oranges. Czarist Russia is best compared to Ottoman Turkey, not Sweden. 
Cuba is best compared to Jamaica, not the Cayman Islands as the ineffable 
Leo Casey once did.

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