363 views Feb 9, 2022 The Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) is pleased to host a series of public lectures on Volume 1 of Marx’s Capital, given by the political economist and activist Andy Higginbottom. This is the first lecture of the Marx’s Capital Lecture series, held on 7th February 2022.
The Ukraine War is today’s most important geostrategic issue. Along with capital flow/investment, trade and profit, it’s impacting the global dominance map. At the end of the war, significant changes in geopolitics will appear. Different parts of world capital are behaving/moving in different ways; and a few parts are interacting with, pushing/pulling each other, at times, in antithetical ways. This is significant, and also dangerous for the world comity.
Apart from inflation and war, what grips current economic thought is the apparent failure of what mainstream economics likes to call ‘globalisation’. What mainstream economics means by globalisation is the expansion of trade and capital flows freely across borders. In 2000, the IMF identified four basic aspects of globalisation: trade and transactions, capital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge. All these components apparently took off from the early 1980s as part of the ‘neoliberal’ reversal of previous national macro-management policies adopted by governments in the environment of the Bretton Woods world economic order (ie US hegemony). Then the call was to break down tariff barriers, quotas and other trade restrictions and allow the multi-nationals to trade ‘freely’ and to switch their investments abroad to cheap labour areas to boost profitability. This would lead to global expansion and harmonious development of the productive forces and resources of the world, it was claimed.
An extraordinary thing about British diplomacy is that it continually looks for ways to stay ahead of the curve and provide added value to its customer across the Atlantic, the United States. That makes the remarks on Ukraine conflict by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson at his press conference in New Delhi on Friday highly significant.
Johnson brought to mind the evocative lines of Matthew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach on the “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” when faith is receding. He was completely at odds with the focus of the US president Joe Biden’s remarks at the White House just the previous day where he vowed
Cohen’s article describes the case of “Shariy, a Ukrainian opposition figure and one of the country’s most popular journalists.” A friend of Shariy’s had sent him an email on 7 March 2022, and: “Four days later, Shariy received an email from [the same friend but from] a different [email] address, … confirming Shariy’s suspicion that the first email had been written [actually] by an SBU [Security Bureau of Ukraine] agent.” Shariy’s friend, in this second email, “explained that he had been interrogated and tortured for his ties to Russia.”
The Russian President Vladimir Putin said defiantly on Monday that the western sanctions have proved to be “ineffective” in meeting their objective. In his words, “They (US and EU) expected these sanctions to rapidly produce a devastating effect on Russia’s finances and economy, sow panic in the markets, bring about a collapse in the banking system and create major shortages of goods in shops.”
“However, we can already say in all confidence that this policy has failed in Russia. The strategy of unleashing an economic blitzkrieg has been ineffective. Moreover, the sanctions affected those who initiated them. I am referring to higher inflation and unemployment and the worsening economic outlook for the United States and European countries, as well as the declining living standards of Europeans and the depreciation of their savings.” (Kremlin website)
The tremors of the United States’ tensions with Russia playing out in Europe are being felt in different ways already in Asia. The hypothesis of Ukraine being in Europe and the conflict being all about European security is delusional.
From Kazakhstan to Myanmar, from Solomon Islands to the Kuril Islands, from North Korea to Cambodia, from China to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the fault lines are appearing.
To be sure, extra-regional powers had a hand in the failed colour revolution recently to overthrow the established government in Kazakhstan, a hotly contested geopolitical landmass two-thirds the size of India, bordering both China and Russia, Washington’s sworn adversaries. Thanks to swift Russian intervention, supported by China, a regime change was averted.
The city of Bucha, in Ukraine, has recently come to the attention of the US and EU corporate media, for the purpose of criminalizing Russia for the supposed assassination of 300 civilians. However, the lack of evidence for these claims brings into doubt any allegations that the Russian military was involved.
After the Ukronazi regime of Volodimir Zelensky published images depicting corpses in Bucha, supposedly killed by the Russian military, in the middle of the street and in mass graves, calls have been issued for Russia to be tried internationally for war crimes.
Reuters correspondents confirmed that they had seen bodies strewn in the streets, with their hands and feet tied, as if they had been arrested.
As the ugly war in Ukraine drags on, with more lives lost and atrocities (apparently) committed, energy and food prices hit yet more highs. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the UN publishes a monthly global price index. The FAO Food Price Index reached yet another record high of 159.3 points in March, up 12.6% from February.