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Imperialism — for the Value of Money

Prabhat Patnaik: To me, imperialism is immanent in the money form, and I want to argue that in the era of finance capital, far from its becoming less relevant, it becomes more relevant. . . .  I would even define imperialism as an arrangement in which not only you get use values but you get use values in ways that do not destabilize the value of money and therefore the value of the whole range of financial assets which is required by the wealth holders under capitalism as a part of the stability of the system and do so in a manner which, whether through political control or through income deflation, keeps the system going. . . .  There is far greater inflation sensitivity precisely because of the fact that this enormous buildup of finance actually makes the system extraordinarily vulnerable to changes in the value of money and therefore the imperialist strategy, far from receding to the background, is actually something that becomes even more significant in the era of finance capital.

Prabhat Patnaik is a Marxist economist in India.  This talk was given at a panel discussion on “Is Imperialism a Useful Concept in the Age of Financial Globalization?” at the New School on 6 March 2012.  The text above is an edited partial transcript of the talk.

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