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Argument: Capitalism has fostered imperialism, exploitation, and suffering

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Imperialism is the primary function of capitalism in the third world - it works thusly: the first world countries use the third world countries as a source of cheap raw materials and cheap markets for goods. This impoverishes the "third world" countries at the peripheries of capitalism and their citizens are often killed for fighting against this - hence the constant colonial wars in capitalism, all the way up to the present. There have been many stages of imperialism, all causing vast suffering, but in the current version people in the "third world" are impoverished by imperial policies (either by straight imperialism by capitalist nations or indirect imperialism via the world bank, IMF, etc.) and most of their food and raw materials are exported to first world countries for prices that they cannot buy food with, which is compounded by the fact that they are used as cheap markets for subsidised products from the first world, undercutting employment and local sales. See for example, Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for the Poor by Mark Curtis, Making Poverty: A History by Thomas Lines, Rethinking Globalisation by Bill Bigelow et al. and many others including reports by the World Development Movement, War on Want, Share the Worlds Resources and many others.

The economic rational behind capitalism fostering imperialism is simple. In order to make profit and achieve enough growth to outcompete opponents both capitalist nations and corporations have had to subjugate and exploit people in what are now unkindly called "third world" countries. This exploitation has led to untold horrors, as described in Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization by Immanuel Wallerstein, Year 501: The Conquest Continues by Noam Chomsky, Making Poverty: A History by Thomas Lines, Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World by Mike Davis, The Black Holocaust for Beginners by S.E. Anderson, Vanessa Holley (Illustrator), and Cro-Maat Collective (Illustrator), Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano, Trade for Life: Making Trade Work for the Poor by Mark Curtis, and many others including reports by the World Development Movement, War on Want, Share the Worlds Resources and many others. In an Interview with L'Humanite, economist Samir Amin describes the relationship between capitalism and colonialism thusly: "Capitalism has been colonial, more precisely imperialist, during all the most notable periods of its development. The conquest of the Americas by the Spaniards and Portuguese in the 16th century, then by the French and the British, was the first modern form of imperialism and colonization: an extremely brutal form which resulted in the genocide of the Indians of North America, Indian societies in Latin America thrown into slavery and black slavery through the whole continent, north and south... During all the stages of capitalism, the plunder of the resources of the peripheries, the oppression of colonized peoples, their direct or indirect exploitation by capital, remain the common characteristics of the phenomenon of colonialism."

In essence, the division of labour that exists between workers and managers in capitalism also exists between nations. The division between nations is between the core and peripheries with the semi-peripheries in the middle. This was one of the insights of the world-sytems analysis - see much of the work by Immanuel Wallerstein, the most detailed is "The Modern World System", Volume 1: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century, Volume 2: Mercantilism and the Consolidation of the European World-Economy, 1600-1750 and Volume 3: The Second Era of Great Expansion of the Capitalist World-Economy, 1730s-1840s. Other works, that are less detailed but fill in the gaps, include The Capitalist World Economy, Dynamics of Global Crisis (with Samir Amin, Giovanni Arrighi and Andre Frank), The Politics of the World-Economy: The States, the Movements and the Civilizations, Geopolitics and Geoculture: Essays on the Changing World-System, Creating and Transforming Households: The Constraints of the World-Economy (with Joan Smith), Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilisation and World Systems Theory: An Introduction. Immanuel Wallerstein was the founder of the world-systems analysis but other important theorists include Samir Amin, Giovanni Arrigh and Andre Gunder Frank, with major contributions by Christopher Chase-Dunn, Volker Bornschier, Janet Abu Lughod, Thomas D. Hall, Kunibert Raffer and others. The theory of imperialism in world-systems analysis is called dependancy theory and it goes thusly: in capitalism wealth and resources flow from the peripheries to the centre through exploitation and that profit and capital accumulation is made by the centre via this exploitation. The premises of dependency theory are that: 1) Poor nations provide natural resources, cheap labor, a destination for obsolete technology, and markets to the wealthy nations, without which the latter could not have the standard of living they enjoy. 2) Wealthy nations actively perpetuate a state of dependence by various means. This influence may be multifaceted, involving economics, media control, politics, banking and finance, education, culture, sport, and all aspects of human resource development (including recruitment and training of workers). 3) Wealthy nations actively counter attempts by dependent nations to resist their influences by means of economic sanctions and/or the use of military force. For information on dependancy theory, see the Immanuel Wallerstein books listed above, or Imperialism and Unequal Development by Samir Amin, among others. The world-systems analysis and dependancy theory is perhaps the most worked-out and and supported theory of imperialism in capitalism.

This imperialism is conducted by both states and corporations in capitalism. According to Howard Zinn, in A People's History of the United States, "The relationship of ... global corporations with the poorer countries had long been an exploiting one . . . Whereas U.S. corporations in Europe between 1950 and 1965 invested $8.1 billion and made $5.5 billion in profits, in Latin America they invested $3.8 billion and made $11.2 billion in profits, and in Africa they invested $5.2 billion and made $14.3 bullion in profits" - the spoils of imperialism being large in capitalism. See also here for a brief overview of why capitalism fosters imperialism.

Capitalism has always necessitated massive levels of suffering at its peripheries. One example of this is the Maafa, or African Holocaust, that refers to the "500 hundred years of suffering of people of African heritage through Slavery, Imperialism, Colonialism, Oppression, Invasions and Exploitation." Capitalism fuelled the slave trade, the profits from which were used to fuel the industrial revolution, which halved the population of Africa (leading to between 40-100 million people being killed or enslaved and taken out of Africa), it also fuelled the imperialism and conquest which left millions of dead and left a legacy of poverty, suffering and misery. According to the official website of the African Holocaust "the transatlantic slave trade is in direct relationship with modern concepts of exploitive capitalism. Capitalism was the driver behind the transatlantic slave trade" ([1]). On the suffering that capitalist imperialism has brought to Africa see How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by Walter Rodney, Maafa, Capitalism and Slavery by Eric Williams and The Black Holocaust for Beginners by S.E. Anderson, Vanessa Holley (Illustrator), and Cro-Maat Collective (Illustrator). It may not be unrealistic to estimate the total deaths from the Maafa at 100-200 million, and if deaths through starvation are counted then this may well be a conservative estimate. The official website dedicated to the documentation of the Maafa (noted earlier) describes it thusly: "The African Holocaust was the greatest continuing tragedy the world has ever seen."

Another similar holocaust (perhaps the second greatest tragedy) occurred in the Americas, beginning in 1492, as a result of the expansion of capitalism and the most conservative estimates give an 80% death rate among Native Americans (including North and South America) and a death toll of 40 million (that is the most conservative estimate).For information about this holocaust see American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World by David Stannard and A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present by Ward Churchill.

Similar imperialism and suffering has been brought to other areas of the world through capitalism. One example of this is the El Nino famines of the mid to late 1880s and the late 1890s. These came as a result of completing of the introduction of capitalism through imperialism to what is now considered the third world, combined with bad el nino weather patterns, and in India alone (the famines affected almost everywhere) 29 million people starved to death in 2 out of the 3 famines. See Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World by Mike Davis for information about these famines and how they resulted from capitalist imperialism. Imperialism is the primary function of capitalism in the third world (it works thusly: the "first world" countries use the "third world" countries as a source of cheap raw materials and cheap markets for goods. In fact, adding up the Raj's own statistics for various famines under British rule, you get a figure of 75 million dead. When general deaths from poverty resulting from british rule in India are added, the death toll easily goes into the hundreds of millions. In fact, the only estimate of total avoidable mortality during British rule in India, (Body Count: Global Avoidable Mortality by Gideon Polya) puts the death toll at 1.5 to 1.8 billion (based on "the difference between the actual deaths in a country and the deaths expected for a pweaceful, decently run country with the same demographics"). For a devastating account of British rule in India see India To-day by Rajani Palme Dutt, and chapter 2 of Economic Liberalism and Underdevelopment by Frederick Clairmonte. These accoutns accurately portray the immense suffering that British imperialism brought to India, a suffering perhaps unequaled in history.

This impoverishes the "third world" countries and their citizens are often killed for fighting against this - hence the constant colonial wars in capitalism, all the way up to the present. It must also be noted that all three of these examples (excluding their continuations today) represent population samples that were much lower than today, so the extraordinary numbers of deaths are even more grotesque since they were achieved with a vastly smaller population. For information on imperialism in Latin America see Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano and Jungle Capitalists: A Story of Globalisation, Greed and Revolution by Peter Chapman. For general accounts see Historical Capitalism with Capitalist Civilization by Immanuel Wallerstein, Year 501: The Conquest Continues by Noam Chomsky, Making Poverty: A History by Thomas Lines, Black Shirts and Reds and The Sword and The Dollar: Imperialism, Revolution and the Arms Race by Michael Parenti, Super Imperialism by Michael Hudson, In Praise of Barbarians: Essays Against Empire by Mike Davis, An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire by Arundhati Roy and Against Empire by Michael Parenti, among others. There has been much other suffering caused by capitalism and some other forms (poverty, economic destruction, etc.) is discussed later in this debate. One example of the level of suffering is that 36 million people starve to death every year as a result of capitalism (discussed briefly later). In short, they are impoverished by imperial policies (either by straight imperialism by capitalist nations or indirect imperialism via the world bank, IMF, etc.) and most of their food and raw materials are exported to "first world" countries for prices that they cannot buy food with, which is compounded by the fact that they are used as cheap markets for subsidised products from the "first world", undercutting employment and local sales.

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