Marxist theory of Imperialism: A critical survey has analysed the history of capitalism since 1500. The author critically analysed the development of capitalism and further provide the belief that capitalism is synonymous to imperialism. However, with modern day economic society, the arguments put forward by Brewer has become obsolete where there are standard norms of governing business in modern economic system. Introduction Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A critical survey written by Brewer (1990) is based on the emergence of the world and critical survey on the Marxist writing on imperialism.
The book analyses the various aspects of capitalism in the world economy as being put forward by Marxist theory. The Marxist theory of imperialism is a book based on the theory of trade and conventional knowledge that was pinpointed by Karl Marx on his analysis of capitalism. The book is based on the new notion of capitalism, while some contributors disagree with the notion of capitalism propounded by Marx. Some contributors still belief that the United States capitalism still dominates the world economy and with dominance factors of capitalism, no other economic system can survive with the dominance of United States.
The essay provides the response on the Marxist theory of Imperialism Critical analysis of Marxist Theories of Imperialism Brewer (1990) describes how the industrial countries effectively integrated the capitalism in the world. The various account of the capitalists economy provided by Marxist was discussed in the book, where it is noted that the as capitalism was spreading to the world, it was also spreading unequal development where some countries were being termed as underdeveloped and some countries were painted as developed countries.
Brewer argues that capitalism is synonymous with imperialism and the notion of capitalism is based on exploitation of the other. In this context, there is Brewer’s over generalisation by referring capitalism as exploitation. It should be noted that over the years, many countries have found the benefits of capitalism over socialism propounded by Karl Marx. History has revealed that socialism is synonymous to poverty. For example, the North Korea that adheres to the socialist economy, it has been revealed how the economy of North Korea is paralysed from isolation and by being neglected by many countries in the world.
Brewer discussed the emergence of mercantile period, which felt between 1500 and 1800. During these periods, the trades were dominated by Spain and Portugal. However, from 1800, the domination of world trade shifted to British Empire, although, Brewer (1990) argues that by the end of 19th century German and the United States had become the major industrial rivals to the British Empire. Thus, the emergence of inter- imperialism according to Brewer started when there was tension between German and Britain over export of capital.
I have to point out that Brewer is wrong in referring trading conducted by the British Empire and German as exploitation, which he refers as imperialism. What happened during those years is what is happening in modern world business of today. All countries are looking for market beyond their territory. Although, Brewer is right in pointing out that competition is the classical heart of capitalism, however, Brewer is wrong describing capitalism as the system of exploitation.
In addition, Brewer assumes that in the production of goods and services, it is only labor that buy good produced in the capitalist society and the capitalists could only sell surplus to themselves. However, Brewer has overlooked that world is changing rapidly, with advancement of technology; it is possible to source for market from any part of the world. The prediction of fall of capitalism is another blunder proposed by Brewer. History has revealed that capitalism has been expanding since the collapse of former USSR.
Many so-called former Eastern European countries have changed from communist system of government to the capitalist system of government. Brewer over exaggerates the British colonial rules in Asia where he argues that British Colonial rule perpetually destroys the Asiatic society. What Brewer overlooked was that Asian countries are among countries where the people are still maintaining their culture despite the British colonial rule. In India, Hindus religion is still the predominant religion despite the introduction of Christianity by the British Empire.
The British colonial rule did not remove the India’s norms and beliefs. In term of economic realm, some Asian countries are now competing economically with some European countries. Weber describes capitalism as the production of commodity where goods produced are offered to the market. Although Weber supports the notion that production of goods and services are essential for the survival of a society. Moreover, Brewer was right by arguing that as the markets are expanding in the capitalist society, there is need for the expansion of markets for the goods produced.
However, there is misconception put forward by Weber that the capitalist economy may find it difficult to sell all the goods produced because of the assumption that it is only the labor that consume the goods produced by the capitalist society or the capitalists society consume the goods produced themselves. What Brewer overlooks is the rapid technological development that is engulfing the world today. The use of internet to sell products has helped many industrialised countries to sell their surplus goods to the nations that are unable to produce the good or cannot produce sufficient quantity to feed their population.
Thus, gone are days where there is unavailability of markets for the surplus goods produced. Presently, there is worldwide market for the surplus goods, while many Asia countries are able to found market for their products, it will not be difficult for the industrialised countries to find markets for their surplus products with their superior technology. Moreover, Brewer was wrong in arguing that Marx was clear in assuming that merchant in the world economy does not necessarily make the mode of production in capitalist society.
It is very clear that production of goods and service is synonymous with capitalist society. The essential survival of any capitalist society is how it can produce goods to feed its teeming population and improvement of its Gross Domestic Product for the improvement of country per capita income. Conclusion Weber’s argument on the capitalist economy is purely based on the Marxist belief. It should be noted that most of the Karl Marx writing on capitalism has gradually gone out of date. It has been revealed that, there is norm in the present day capitalist society.
The notion provided by Marx capitalist society is created to exploit labor is out date. There are labor unions in most part of the world where labor are being protected from the exploitative nature of the employers. In the United States, there is law that stipulates the minimum payments, which individual workers could earn. Nevertheless, the book provides the picture on the Marxism theory of imperialism and not the modern day system of capitalism.
References Brewer, A, (1990), Marxist Theories of Imperialism, A Critical Survey, London: Routledge