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Actually, once I read all of Galbraith's essay (and not just the paragraphs I posted), I was a bit disappointed. That's because he didn't relate the predatory economics he speaks of to capitalism in general.

So I would suggest supplementing his essay with the following speculations.

Let's say there are three kinds of capitalism: unrestrained capitalism, regulated capitalism, and predatory capitalism. Clearly, it is possible to imagine economies falling under the unrestrained/unregulated capitalist model that don't exhibit the predatory qualities that Galbraith writes about. So how does one relate the two?

Well, as we know since Hegel (Marx simply followed him here), unregulated capitalism leads to an increasing differentiation between the rich and the poor, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Sooner or later, this begins to undermine the political principle that each individual's voice must be considered equally, no matter how much income or wealth that person has. In other words, when the difference between the wealthy and the rest of the population, not to mention the poor, becomes sufficiently extreme, it is inevitable that the wealthy acquire a dispraportionate influence over the political system. And that gets you to predatory capitalism. In other words, unregulated capitalism inevitably leads to predatory capitalism (unless society comes to its senses and regulates the economy), but the two represent different periods of historical development.

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns

by Alexander on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 04:39:16 AM EST
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I wonder when Galbraith starting using this language.

Hubert Vedrine, former foreign minister of France, has been writing very similar if not same for quite some time now.

Love Galbraith, but on this, I think he's picking up Vedrine's ball and running with it.

Certainly no knock-ons in politics though, play on.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 04:04:14 PM EST
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in his Après l'empire (2002), speaks of l"Amerique predatrice". This is with regards to its "foreign policy". Do you think Todd got that from Vedrine, or the other way around? (I don't know anything about Vedrine.)

A bomb, H bomb, Minuteman / The names get more attractive / The decisions are made by NATO / The press call it British opinion -- The Three Johns
by Alexander on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 04:06:12 PM EST
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Hasn't Lenin been first ?

"Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism"

"...Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for liberty, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations -- all these have given birth to those distinctive characteristics of imperialism which compel us to define it as parasitic or decaying capitalism. More and more prominently there emerges, as one of the tendencies of imperialism, the creation of the "rentier state", the usurer state, in which the bourgeoisie to an ever-increasing degree lives on the proceeds of capital exports and by "clipping coupons". It would be a mistake to believe that this tendency to decay precludes the rapid growth of capitalism. It does not. In the epoch of imperialism, certain branches of industry, certain strata of the bourgeoisie and certain countries betray, to a greater or lesser degree, now one and now another of these tendencies. On the whole, capitalism is growing far more rapidly than before; but this growth is not only becoming more and more uneven in general, its unevenness also manifests itself, in particular, in the decay of the countries which are richest in capital..."

good old Vladimir Illitch...

by oldfrog on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 04:36:24 PM EST
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Wonder what he would think today, having thought he called the top once?

He'd at least have to write a second edition.

"When the abyss stares at me, it wets its pants." Brian Hopkins

by EricC on Tue Jan 16th, 2007 at 04:55:11 PM EST
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