The Twilight of Globalization: Property, State and Capitalism
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The paradox lies in the fact that, on the one hand, the opportunities for investing capital profitably in the countries of 24 The Twilight of Globalization the ‘centre’ are extremely limited, requiring increased expansion into the countries of the ‘periphery’. But, on the other hand, the possibilities of exploiting the ‘periphery’ are not limitless either, and the capital that is exported is at times not even enough to ensure economic growth. In such a situation, Clarke recalls, ‘the previous phases of global overaccumulation resulted in the rise of protectionism and imperialism’.
The defence mechanisms devised by democratic systems during the epoch of early or welfare capitalism are no longer working. New forms of graft and new temptations are appearing. As the state becomes more and more ‘open’ to the outside, it simultaneously becomes less and less susceptible to control by its own citizens; as a result, new opportunities for abuses proliferate. The ideology of the neo-liberal market, by destroying non-market ethical norms, also plays a role here. What is changing is not only the style of rule, but also the institutions themselves and the norms that are codified in legislation.
33 By contrast, Livingstone’s Socialist Campaign Group colleagues Tony Benn and Alice Mahon sharply condemned the NATO aggression. Ministers say that this is a war for humanitarian purposes. Can anyone name any war in history fought for humanitarian purposes? Would the Red Cross have done better with stealth bombers and cruise missiles? Of course not. War is about power, for the control of countries and resources. 34 104 The Twilight of Globalization In Germany, the war was condemned by the Party of Democratic Socialism, the only political force in that country to speak out against NATO.
But in most countries it was not the left that created the state bureaucracy, even if the left figures in the consciousness of millions of people as its servant and defender. At the same time the right effectively exploits for its interests both the annoyance of citizens with the state, and their no less powerful demand that the state defend them against foreign threats. Such threats more and more often turn out to consist not of hordes of foreign warriors, but of mountains of foreign goods, crowds of halfstarved emigrants and a mafia that is rapidly internationalizing itself – in short, the natural consequences of the economic policies pursued by the right itself.
Historical reality, therefore, does not give us the luxury of a choice between revolutionism and reformism. Reformism lacks a purpose unless it is combined with revolutionary perspectives, and revolution without reformist work is equally pointless. The democratic model is full of contradictions, but this is precisely the reason why it is viable. Within the framework of democracy various paths open up. This is not a condition which has to be endured, but a struggle which must be conducted. Society remains heterogeneous, and reforms reversible.