The main theorist of dependency anticipated trends of neoliberal globalization. He analyzed productive globalization, the centrality of exploitation and the relative weight of surplus value transfers. But the employment crisis exceeds what was envisaged by Marini, in a scenario disrupted by the mutation of the United States, the collapse of the USSR and the rise of China.
The new national and social disparities emerge in an internationalized economy, without correlation in states and ruling classes. This absence of total transnationalization recreates dependency. The semiperipheries present an economic dimension differentiated from the geopolitical status of subimperialism. There are solid pillars to renew dependency theory. In the final works of his intense career, Ruy Mauro Marini - the principal theoretician of dependency - explored the dynamics of globalization.
He observed the beginning of a new period based on the internationalized functioning of capitalism Marini, Some interpreters are of the view that this research crowned his previous work and inaugurated the study of the political economy of globalization Martins, His findings anticipated several characteristics of the stage that followed his death.
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Evaluating those observations in light of what happened is a good way to update his theory. In the late s Marini noted that capital was internationalizing in order to increase the surplus value extracted from workers. He analyzed from this standpoint the cheapening of transportation, the irruption of new technologies and the concentration of companies Marini, He assessed in particular the new manufacturing-export model of the periphery as it was managed by multinational firms. These companies secured common spaces between their headquarters and branches in order to expand the manufacturing process.
They separated skilled activities from assembly-line operations and profited from national differences in productivity and wages. Marini understood that this operation on a global scale was a structural, not cyclical trend in accumulation. Its scope is obvious today. Globalization introduces a qualitative change in the functioning of capitalism. It promotes the liberalization of trade and the adaptation of finances to the instantaneity of information.
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- Imperialism and Dependency: Similarities and Differences with the Marini era;
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The Brazilian thinker rightly located the epicenter of this shift in globalized manufacturing. He recorded the close connection of internationalization with the flexible production pattern that replaces Fordism. The transnational companies are visible protagonists of the current economic scenario. They fragment their production into a web of intermediate inputs and final goods destined for export. This framework operates under principles of intense competition, cost reduction and cheaper labour.
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The consequent offshoring has turned several Asian economies into the new workshop of the planet. Transnational companies complement their direct investments with subcontracting and labour outsourcing. They make their suppliers responsible for control of the workers and the management of uncertain demand. In this way, they distribute risks and increase profits. Marini experienced only the beginning of that process and highlighted its contradictions in very generic terms.
He was unable to note the commercial imbalances, financial bubbles and overproduction of commodities Commodities The goods exchanged on the commodities market, traditionally raw materials such as metals and fuels, and cereals. This shock destabilized the system without reversing productive globalization. It temporarily put into question the financial deregulation, which was preserved without any relevant change.
The recent questioning of trade liberalization Trump, Brexit illustrates the reaction of those powers that are losing ground. They try to recover spaces by restoring a certain unilateralism, but they do not favour a return to the old protectionist blocs. The political economy of globalization - which Marini foresaw - persists as an appropriate approach to contemporary capitalism. The influence that the Brazilian theorist assigned to the increase in rates of surplus value has been confirmed in recent decades. This reorganization maintains the stability required for the continuity of accumulation in the formal sector and generalizes the insecurity of employment and wages in the informal universe.
The main foundation of globalization is the reduction of labour costs. The transnational firms are enriched by the low wages of the periphery and with the cheapening of the goods consumed by workers in the metropolis. They use offshoring to weaken unions and flatten salaries in all regions. Net profit is profit after tax. Distributable profit is the part of the net profit which can be distributed to the shareholders. These disparities are stabilized by the absence of international mobility of workers.
While in the initial period of globalization foreign investment tripled, the total number of migrants hardly varied Smith, The work force is marginalized in all the movements that shake up the globalization scenario. Marini recorded the first relocation of industry to the East. But he did not see the subsequent mutation that completely modified the manufacturing map.
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China is the current epicenter of a growing installation of subsidiaries in Asia. The bulk of globalized production is generated there. The magnitude of the change is confirmed in the U. One third of these goods are currently manufactured abroad, which is double the average in effect in Smith, , The foundation of neoliberal globalization in the exploitation of workers is evident.
Investments are shifted to countries that offer greater cost reduction, discipline and productivity of the workforce.
Marini also saw how the model of import substitution which inspired his analysis of dependency was replaced by a new pattern of manufacturing exports. But he noticed only the generic features of a pattern that has since been reconfigured by global value chains GVCs through which the entire manufacturing process is fragmented according to the comparative profitability offered by each activity.
This division includes linkages directed by the manufacturer aeronautical, automotive, IT firms or ordered by the buyer the Nike, Reebok or Gap trading Market activities trading Buying and selling of financial instruments such as shares, futures, derivatives, options, and warrants conducted in the hope of making a short-term profit. The companies that head up these structures not only control the most profitable resource brands, designs, technologies. This model differs radically from the one prevailing in the s and s. Instead of integrated processes, the subdivision of parts predominates and national manufacturing is replaced by an assembly of imported components.
The proximity and size of markets lose relevance in contrast to the comparative labour cost advantages. In the activity of transnational corporations, the specific weight of intermediate goods is multiplied through linkage and mechanisms of vertical industrial specialization Milberg, These modalities introduce forms of export management that were unknown at the end of the last century.
Marini analyzed the economy of globalization in the belief that capitalism had entered a long cycle of growth. That was the context in which he situated productive specializations and the emergence of the newly industrializing countries NICs of Asia. He considered that the processes of regional integration were re-emerging to widen the scale of markets Marini, His dependentista colleague shared this reasoning, investigating the impact of new technologies on long waves Dos Santos, The subsequent course of globalization did not confirm or refute the presence of this long-term upward cycle.
The controversies between those who postulate or object to the applicability of these movements did not lead to clear conclusions. That is why we have emphasized the convenience of clarifying the qualitative transformations of the stage without insisting that this period conforms to a long wave Katz, Marini inscribed his assessment in Marxist characterizations that highlighted the disruptive nature of accumulation. He emphasized the traumatic potential crises that globalization was generating and highlighted the presence of simultaneous tensions in the sphere of demand retracted consumption and valorisation insufficient profitability.
He emphasized both imbalances, with more observations on the first type of contradictions. In recent decades those tremors have come to light. The explosive retraction of employment has also been verified, reinforced by the relative immobility of the labour force in the face of the vertiginous displacement of goods and capital.
That contradiction distinguishes the current globalization from the old European industrialization. Between and more than 70 million emigrants left the Old Continent. This massive transfer depleted the remaining population at one pole and generated new centers of accumulation in the areas receiving workers. An equivalent demographic movement would currently mean the entry of million immigrants to the central countries Smith, But the helpless are currently denied that displacement. The developed economies build fortresses against the dispossessed of the periphery and absorb only irrelevant contingents of skilled labour.
The safety valve that in the past generated the accumulation process has itself been weakened. The countries that conclude in an accelerated way their processes of primitive accumulation can not discharge their surplus population over other localities. This restriction fosters further tensions in capitalism, such as the destruction of jobs due to the expansion of the digital universe.
The parameters of profitability - which guide the introduction of new technologies - impose a dramatic elimination of jobs. Unemployment is growing with globalization. At this stage there is less work for everyone than there was in the preceding phases. Available employment shrinks and its quality is decreasing in the underdeveloped regions.
Accelerated automation - and the expulsion of the agrarian population through technical development in the countryside - drastically reduce employment opportunities.