New State Of War And Peace By Dan Smith And Michael Kidron Pdf
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- War, State and Society
- The penguin atlas of war and peace by dan smith
- Reassessing the permanent arms economy
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War, State and Society
However, the world landscape after the war was fundamentally different, if not diametrically opposed to the one anticipated by Trotsky. Trotskyism, already bedevilled politically by the organisational and political inadequacies of the Fourth International, was left in theoretical disarray.
In the early s, and particularly after , the boom came to a sharp halt, breaking open a deep international crisis characterised by the simultaneous blight of high inflation and high unemployment so-called stagflation. Those who had tied their colours to the mast of Keynesianism, and who by the late s had come to be part of a dominant consensus in economic theory and policy, were left out in the cold.
Similarly, most Marxists found themselves caught between the rock of the unexplained boom and the hard place of the unexpected slump.
The length and timing of both events had squarely defied their analysis and expectations. For many of those on the left who had originally denied the importance of the boom it was better to be late by about a quarter of a century than wrong. Perhaps, they wondered, the crisis of the s meant that Trotsky had been right all along? The twin predicament of orthodox Trotskyists and left-Keynesians highlighted a failure of theory: without a substantive explanation of the post-war boom, there was no clear explanation of the crisis and no analytical guide for any hue of socialism.
Apart from unprecedented levels of GDP growth and negligible levels of unemployment, Western capitalism after the Second World War had two further characteristics of considerable historical novelty. The first was the increasing role of the state in the economy; the second was the enormous level of arms spending, the highest ever seen in peacetime. The main European powers had waited a little over a decade after the First World War before they had begun rearming.
In the US, where the increase was sharpest, the military burden hovered around 9 percent in the entire period ranging from to During the late s and early s a few Marxist authors had sought to analyse what seemed to most non-Marxists the simple fact that capitalism was growing quickly and relatively stably over a long period. Despite important differences in the content and scope of their accounts, both sought to articulate a working economic analysis of post-war capitalism which would be firmly rooted in Marxist political economy.
This project would also be in a position to avoid the Keynesian departures just mentioned and with them the illusion that capitalism could be soundly managed and made stable and sustainable indefinitely.
The first aim of what follows is to look at the formation of the theory by charting its family tree, an approach which is especially pertinent since the permanent arms economy is the one key contribution of the International Socialist IS tradition which did not originate with Tony Cliff.
As we shall see, what the International Socialists predecessors of the Socialist Workers Party developed into a systematic Marxist understanding of the arms economy had been a number of insights evolved through a long, implicit dialogue with Keynesianism and underconsumptionist theories of post-war capitalism. The Second World War itself seemed to have provided the best confirmation of the advantages of economic interventionism, and of the use of public expenditure as a means to ensure growth and high levels of employment.
It was really during the war that Keynes had got the attention of state managers in treasuries and ministries. Keynes himself noted the short-term economic benefits of military expenditures, but considered them unproductive in the long run, since they would divert factors of production and fulfil no socially useful role apart, of course, from defence itself.
The use of arms spending, which came to be viewed as a panacea against stagnation, represented a corruption of Keynesian economics, blurring his original distinction between better or worse uses of demand management when deployed by secretaries of defence.
As Michal Kalecki, a prominent left-Keynesian, had been observing since the mids, the rise of arms spending had the added virtue of acting on aggregate demand in an economic sphere where the state would not compete with private capital. Keynesianism also began to influence Marxist analyses of post-war capitalism. Even before the war, in , the Hungarian economist Eugen Varga had written Two Systems : Capitalism and Socialist Economy , a book which had taken up the economic problem of German rearmament.
The particular relation between these big conglomerates and the state the notion of monopoly capitalism meant that militarism benefited monopoly capitalists by securing large orders for them and providing them with lucrative outlets in which to reinvest their enormous profits.
Baran was also directly influenced by Keynesian economics. On account of their particular internal structure primarily their size and the reduced competition they faced in the market , these economic units could successfully continue to push for lower production costs while keeping the market prices of their goods relatively high.
As a result, monopoly capitalism had a tendency to produce a high level of aggregate surplus, which would rise faster than the economy would be able to absorb through normal consumption or investment. How could economies deal with the growing threat of underconsumption?
But for Baran and Sweezy, the most important outlet for aggregate surplus was military spending, since the retrograde political ideology of corporations made militarism, rather than social projects, the choice of preference. Through the theory of monopoly capital, Baran and Sweezy were able to provide a Marxist explanation of something which was by this stage universally acknowledged—that without military expenditures the US economy would have easily slipped back into the recession of the s.
Secondly, as they pointed out, the military sector was becoming increasingly capital intensive over time, and this characteristic considerably diminished its potential benefits to employment. It is worth noting that Baran and Sweezy were not convinced that working class resistance was likely to impose a limit on the system they had described: if anything, the political end of monopoly capital might be the result of revolutionary ruptures in the periphery. Whatever its other virtues, the theoretical ambitions in Monopoly Capital contrasted somewhat with its relative lack of empirical substance.
If Baran and Sweezy were correct, the logic of military Keynesianism dictated that the higher the degree of development in a capitalist economy, the greater the level of military spending as a portion of national income. A greater capacity to create aggregate surplus product would lead to a higher degree of underconsumption, and in turn this would have to be counteracted by larger levels of public and, in particular, arms spending.
Further, the larger the extent of the arms economy, the greater the levels of growth and income per capita. Did this hold true empirically?
In the mids the economist Albert Szymanski set out to establish the validity of these claims, comparing per capita growth rates, employment rates and levels of public spending and military spending as a percentage of gross national product GNP from 18 economies and in the period between In general, he could not find proof that higher income countries spent a larger proportion of their GNP in the arms economy the key exceptions were the US, a high-income country with high military spending; and the UK, which had a disproportionate level of arms spending for its relatively low level of income.
Rather, Szymanski concluded, they meant that Baran and Sweezy had been wrong to mark out the arms economy as the main outlet for underconsumption. A second issue of heavy theoretical importance in Baran and Sweezy was the role of military expenditure as a solution to underconsumption and, therefore, stagnation and crisis.
This should mean that the ruling class, or at least its most powerful and influential sections, understood and pursued the economic effects of military spending. If so, it should also be possible to show that the fluctuations in military spending responded more or less directly to fluctuations in the economy as a whole with, say, increases in arms expenditure following falls in GDP or employment. Both issues reappear in relation to the theory of the permanent arms economy as developed by Kidron and Harman, and so we will consider them further in that context.
For now we turn to an alternative understanding of the link between arms spending and growth after the Second World War, and its lineage within British Trotskyism. At different stages and behind different pseudonyms—Walter J Oakes, TN Vance Sard had been analysing the effects of arms spending during and after the war. These works in effect contain all the essential elements of the theory later expanded by Kidron in the s, and especially Harman thereafter, and are as rich, original and witty as they are unknown.
Marx argued in Capital , volume 3, that competition among capitals led them to increase their investment in means of production more rapidly than in labour power—a rise in the organic composition of capital. But since it is workers who create surplus value, the result was a tendency for the rate of profit to fall.
The key problem for capitalism in general, and after the crisis of in particular, contended Sard, was finding a way to protect growing levels of accumulated surplus from unprofitable investment while stabilising the system and reducing unemployment. The ruling class is impaled on the horns of a most deep serious dilemma [ sic ]: to allow these growing and mature accumulations to enter into economic circulation means to undermine the very foundations of existing society in modern terms, depression ; to reduce or eliminate these expanding accumulations of unpaid labour requires the ruling class or sections of it to commit hara-kiri… The latter solution is like asking capitalists to accept a 3 percent rate of profit, because if they make 6 or 10 percent they upset the apple cart and destroy the economic equilibrium.
This is too perturbing a prospect; consequently, society as a whole must suffer the fate of economic disequilibrium unless the ruling class can bring its state to intervene in such a manner as to resolve this basic dilemma. State interventions of this kind, wrote Sard, were hardly new: for example, the Egyptians built pyramids. Thus, Sard argued, despite the fact that the bourgeoisie needed state intervention, state intervention was only acceptable for capitalists when it concentrated on building up the arms sector.
In his analysis of the US economy from to , and through a wealth of official data on employment, profits, prices and taxes, Sard was able to show that the surplus value in the hands of private capitalists grew coinciding with rises in the rate of profit. The basic characteristics of the Permanent War Economy are the permanence of the sizable level of war outlays, which have become a legitimate expression of growing state intervention in the economy, and the high rates of capital accumulation and production accompanied by insignificant levels of unemployment.
If there were no other consequences, aside from the danger of mortal defeat in battle, it might be assumed that the capitalist system had acquired a new lease on life. Sard was not only calling it as it unfolded, but critically, he was anticipating the trends which would follow into the s. The irrationalities of rearmament and imperialism fed on each other, and this made Sard conclude that the Third World War was likely to break out sometime after The need to avert such a possibility was the essential lesson to be derived by the organised working class from the study of the new system.
Moreover, the permanent war economy did not do away with the dangers of rising inflation, and before long this would result in a general decline in living standards. Chris Harman and, as we shall see, Cliff noted that Sard was wrong to expect a fall in living standards.
This criticism had already been levelled against him in the late s, when it was becoming abundantly clear that living standards were generally improving. In Sard had restated the point in a more circumspect way by responding that the ability of the war economy to increase employment had increased the number of income earners per household.
However, he cautioned, the growth of state intervention in the economy and, with it, the growing levels of arms spending were substantially increasing tax pressure on workers. Rearmament would tend to crowd out commodity production and harm British exports as well as push up prices and force down wages. In an echo of Sard, Hallas insisted that it fell on the organised working class not simply to resist the economic effects of disarmament, but to bind that struggle to the fight against imperialism:.
The rulers of the two great empires are preparing a new bloodbath. They have no other way out. But for the vast majority of the people everywhere their road means new sacrifices, new exploitation, new oppression. And for what? There are only two ways out of this situation. The first, of course, would be the social ownership of the means of production. Indeed, as Hallas wrote:.
Even today…there is still a semi-boom. This is due to the production on a considerable and rapidly growing scale of a very peculiar type of commodity; very peculiar in the sense that, in general, it is purchased only by governments; namely armaments. As in his text, Hallas warned that rearmament was not an easy exit for the problems of capitalism.
Sard had been very explicit that the key function of the war economy was to offset the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Cliff had already been studying the nature of the Soviet system for some years before the late s. And the significance of this was enormous, argued Cliff. The reproduction of capital on an extended scale accumulation is imperative under capitalism.
As Marx had argued in Capital , volume 3, this extended reproduction is a contradictory process, limited by two internally related tendencies: the first is for the rate of profit to fall, and the second is towards the production of more value than can be realised by the market.
Capitalism contains within it its propensity towards crisis, and evolves through a permanent succession of booms and busts.
He rejected the idea that arms spending could in any way be beneficial for capitalism. The military economy cut into the mass of surplus value and drained the economy from its productive energies, throwing valuable resources into an unproductive activity. But, according to Bukharin, war is not unproductive simply in the sense that it destroys things rather than creating them. As in Bukharin, Cliff saw the production of means of destruction as unproductive in the sense that it did not play any role in the productive investment of capital.
The boom-war-boom cycle would thus appear as the abolition of the economic cycle, as all the time there would be full employment, and the economy would be working at full blast. Some sporadic mention was made of overproduction, but for the most part the gist of the piece was Keynesian, in the sense that the emphasis had shifted back from the effect of arms spending on the rate of profit to the problem of underconsumption and unemployment.
By the early s the ideas of Sard and Cliff, as well as the attention given to the question by Hallas, contained all the essential points which would be updated and reformulated by Mike Kidron and Chris Harman as part of the theoretical contribution to the IS tradition.
It was with these authors, and Harman in particular, that a fully fledged formulation of the theory of the permanent arms economy first incorporated all these insights as a systematic account of post-war capitalism: of the growing role of the state in the period, of its impact on the rate of profit, of the nature of state capitalism, and the contradictions which would eventually end the boom in the early s.
Mike Kidron had been thinking about the effects of military spending since the early s. The arms budget cuts deep into investible surpluses; it provides resources for the capitalist state to maintain a rough correspondence between the major economic sectors; and, through its effect on the size, structure and number of the important capital concentrations it makes the need to correlate the parts of the system apparent.
If the first assumption, that all outputs flow back into the system, was dropped—in other words, if some of these outputs are lost to the production cycle—then there would be no need for investment to grow more rapidly than the labour employed.
The law of the falling rate of profit would not operate. Of course, historical capitalism had never been a closed system.
In the book Capitalism and Theory , published in , Kidron continued:.
The penguin atlas of war and peace by dan smith
However, the world landscape after the war was fundamentally different, if not diametrically opposed to the one anticipated by Trotsky. Trotskyism, already bedevilled politically by the organisational and political inadequacies of the Fourth International, was left in theoretical disarray. In the early s, and particularly after , the boom came to a sharp halt, breaking open a deep international crisis characterised by the simultaneous blight of high inflation and high unemployment so-called stagflation. Those who had tied their colours to the mast of Keynesianism, and who by the late s had come to be part of a dominant consensus in economic theory and policy, were left out in the cold. Similarly, most Marxists found themselves caught between the rock of the unexplained boom and the hard place of the unexpected slump. The length and timing of both events had squarely defied their analysis and expectations. For many of those on the left who had originally denied the importance of the boom it was better to be late by about a quarter of a century than wrong.
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Reassessing the permanent arms economy
Michael Kidron 20 September — 25 March  was a British cartographer. He was one of the early founders of the International Socialists forerunners of the Socialist Workers Party ; SWP through the s and s, and the first editor of International Socialism journal. Kidron was born on 20 September in South Africa to a family of Zionists , but joined his parents in Palestine just after the Second World War , and soon rejected zionism.
Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users. After graduating in English Literature from the University of Cambridge in , Smith worked first for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament before taking up research on UK defence policies in During the s Smith worked as a freelance researcher and writer. He was awarded the OBE in Smith is also responsible for over articles in journals and periodicals and chapters in anthologies, as well as a number of reports, of which the two most significant are:.
- Откуда нам знать, что для Танкадо было главной разницей. - На самом деле, - прервал его Дэвид, - Танкадо имел в виду первичную, а не главную разницу. Его слова буквально обожгли Сьюзан. - Первичное! - воскликнула. И повернулась к Джаббе.
Сьюзан опустилась на стул. Повисла пауза. Стратмор поднял глаза вверх, собираясь с мыслями. - Сьюзан, - наконец произнес он еле слышно. - У меня нет семьи. - Он посмотрел на. - Мой брак практически рухнул.
- Вы вместе с Танкадо взяли АНБ в заложники, после чего ты и его обвел вокруг пальца. Скажи, Танкадо действительно умер от сердечного приступа или же его ликвидировал кто-то из ваших людей. - Ты совсем ослепла.
Они ее не бьют, им легко угодить. Росио натянула ночную рубашку, глубоко вздохнула и открыла дверь в комнату. Когда она вошла, глаза немца чуть не вывалились из орбит. На ней была черная ночная рубашка; загорелая, орехового оттенка кожа светилась в мягком свете ночника, соски призывно выделялись под тонкой прозрачной тканью. - Komm doch hierher, - сказал немец сдавленным голосом, сбрасывая с себя пижаму и поворачиваясь на спину.
Энсей решил пойти на собеседование. Сомнения, которые его одолевали, исчезли, как только он встретился с коммандером Стратмором. У них состоялся откровенный разговор о его происхождении, о потенциальной враждебности, какую он мог испытывать к Соединенным Штатам, о его планах на будущее. Танкадо прошел проверку на полиграф-машине и пережил пять недель интенсивного психологического тестирования.
Они наклонялись и распрямлялись, прижав руки к бокам, а их головы при этом раскачивались, как безжизненные шары, едва прикрепленные к негнущимся спинам.