The political economy of globalization: towards a new mode of accumulation? Braulio.

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(notes by Murray Smith)

First day

Report by Braulio, “Political economy of globalization : towards a new form of accumulation ?”

- definition of globalization - “inverted” presentation – three parts: perspectives; the last 20 years; the present crisis.

1) Debate on the natural limits of the system or the beginning of the end of the oil age. Climate change and its consequences. A new “non-fossil” mode of accumulation

2) Capitalist restructuration

Change in the 1980s Depth of crisis, fall in the arte of profit. Increased rate of exploitation. Disappearance of the “socialist camp” New forms of domination – WTO, International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, Accords of Association

1) Present crisis

Specificities – Financialisation of the economy The worst crisis since the end of the Second World War The circuit – wages, consumption, savings, debt, the dollar, high levels of indebtedness, interest rates


A system that is more aggressive and threatening A more unstable regime of accumulation.

Questions raised

- effects of the last 20 years on working class, cumulative effect of defeats - globalization of feminization of labour force? - Intellectual property rights – new phenomeneon - Significance of rise in price of raw materials - Role of state, diminished or not? - Back to Keynesian Welfare State? - Accumulation by dispossession

Reply by Braulio

- yes accumulation of defeats=historic defeat - working exists more than ever, class polarization - most migrants men - layer of hyper-rich, working poor in imperialist countries - danger of biocarburants - speculation on raw materials - Keynesianism – nationalisation of Northern Rock, injection of money by central banks - Chinese financial sytem due to be liberalized (=opened up to foreign intervention) in 2010 - Financial system not globalised but transnational – central banks - Chavez proposal to OPEC to trade not in dollars – potentially explosive

In the report-backs from the three discussion groups

- relationship between imperialism and neo-liberalism - polarization: concentration of wealth and growing precarity - question of the end of the oil age - uneven character of the process of accumulation under neo-liberalism. Always involves gender, race, etc., e.g. the subprime crisis disproportionately hits Blacks. - Question of intellectual property and property of genes and plant life. - Long waves re Chesnais article. No consensus on whether we are at the end of a cycle - Change in geopolitical context, crisis affecting US - Question of alternatives

Conclusion by Braulio

Central point, concentration of wealth, growing precarity, now affects imperialist centres. Role of SD not what we expect, did not defend gains, frequently led neo-liberal offensive. Stressed importance of what is happening in USA – has always exported its crises, how will it do it this time? Ford, Chrysler, GM facing bankruptcy and up for sale. Long wave – record profits, technological innovation, but rate of accumulation of capital inferior to postwar boom. So no new expansionary wave. Key role of evolution of China for the future of capitalism. US – recession yes, deflation ( à la Japan 1990s) highly unlikely. Monsanto trying to take control of maize, cotton, rice. Huge consequences. Dispossession – back too 16-17 centuries. Alternative? Long haul, still living with the effects of the collapse of the SU.