2c. Enforcement of super-exploitation by authoritarian states

Enforcement of super-exploitation by authoritarian states

Imperialist countries have been experiencing an over-accumulation of capital since at least the 1960s, leading to insufficient opportunities to profitably invest all of the available capital.[1] Countering this, investment opportunities in oppressed countries provided a vital outlet that combined with a massive expansion of credit to postpone a full-blown crisis of the capitalist system, although neither could do so indefinitely. Factors in oppressed countries that contribute to more profitable opportunities for investment frequently include weak environmental and planning controls, restrictions on trade unions, low wages, poor health and safety standards, and lax controls on tax and repatriation of profits.[2] In some areas, conditions for profitable investment were fostered through institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), in others through direct or indirect military intervention. In some cases imperialist states, formally liberal and democratic ‘at home’, backed authoritarian regimes that were prepared and able do whatever was necessary to prevent resistance from disrupting production, such as the governments of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Suharto in Indonesia and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda;[3] in other cases imperialist states used terrorism, assassination and destabilisation against ‘uncooperative’ states.[4] Such measures, which are required for the super-exploitation of oppressed countries and continue today, have a horrific human cost and contribute to high rates of forced migration.


[1] Yaffe, D. (2006). ‘Britain: parasitic and decaying capitalism’. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!(194 December 2006 / January2007).

[2] Cohen, R. (2006). Migration and its Enemies: Global capital, migrant labour and the nation-state. Aldershot: Ashgate.

[3] Sivanandan, A. (1991). A Different Hunger – Writings on Black Resistance. London: Pluto Press.

[4] Kundnani, A. (2007). The End of Tolerance: Racism in 21st Century Britain. London: Pluto Press.

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