Ukraine Take 2 – Stephen Gowans

5 Jan

A few days ago, in a post replicated here, Caitlin Johnstone followed the above with this:

There’s still this notion in some anti-imperialist factions that Putin is a strategic wizard outfoxing the empire at 5D chess, but really he’s just fighting on the back foot against a far wealthier, far more powerful foe, and it’s costing his nation dearly.

Whether Ukraine “wins” is irrelevant to the fact the US empire was for relatively little cost able to create a massive sinkhole for Moscow to pour energy and attention into, freeing up the imperial machine to turn the screws on China.

Ukraine Take 1 critiqued the most evidence-defiant and most widely held view (in the West) of the Ukraine War; viz, that Russia is the unprovoked aggressor. That view requires blindness to the reality of the US Empire, an affliction daily reinforced by the silence of media systemically incapable of being truthful with us on matters vital to power.

The subject of Ukraine Take 2 does not make that error. He regards the USA as imperialist but says that so too are Russia and China. I disagree, as I do with the corollary that socialists can defend neither side but must organise for international revolution.


In Ukraine Take 1, I said this of a reference by Richard Murphy to “just-in-time capitalism”:

… just-in-time capitalism is the product of a globalised economy run by and for the rentiers who captured Western governments forty years ago … Those rentiers  – the latest in a 500 year line of supremacists whose greatest fear has always been of the rise of a united Eurasia  1 – are determined to crush Russia and ultimately China for one reason alone: the threat those two powers pose to their own licence to exploit the ‘developing world’ …

In an attached footnote I added that:

… the mere possibility of alternative funding, from such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, gives the global south leverage in the face of IMF and World Bank loan conditionality.

I claim – as one who, for reasons given many times, pays little heed to the predictable smears by Western corporate media – that Eurasia rising has moral and historic legitimacy. (I could be wrong though, and even if right today that’s no guarantee of what tomorrow may bring. 2 )

In other posts – this for instance – I’ve given my reasons for cautiously welcoming China’s rise. On the one hand I’ve followed assessments of humanity’s grim predicament with the claim that none of the West’s main currents of resistance – social democracy, trade unionism, ‘vanguard’ revolutionary sects, direct action – is capable, though all have merit, of effecting change of the kind, scale and timeliness needed. On the other I’ve said that China’s capitalists (a) have been instrumental in lifting hundreds of millions from poverty, (b) are subordinate to the state – in the West it’s the other way round – and (c) exist precisely because the failure of the West’s Left to make its own revolutions obliged China to adapt to globally entrenched neoliberalism. 3

But that’s China. Isn’t this post meant to be about Russia and Ukraine? Re-read Caitlin’s words:

Whether Ukraine “wins” is irrelevant to the fact the US empire was for relatively little cost able to create a massive sinkhole for Moscow to pour its energy and attention into, freeing up the imperial machine to turn the screws on China.

She might have added that whether Ukraine “wins” is also irrelevant to further and equally low cost goodies for Washington. I refer to the cutting off of EU trade with Eurasia, binding Europe more tightly to its imperial orbit. Also to the weakening, as Europe’s energy-starved businesses go to the wall or relocate in the US, of its transatlantic rival. These things are addressed in other posts, such as this.

While I say Russia has right on her side, there’s a bigger picture. That’s where Stephen Gowans, author of my second take on the Ukraine War, comes in. His analysis is way ahead of Professor Murphy’s, the latter adrift on a sea of delusions fed by failure to see the US as hub of the most powerful empire ever – hence by failure to locate the source of Washington’s hostility to Russia and China in its fear of imperial decline. 4

But that’s a very low bar.

Before I move to the substance of Steve’s take on Ukraine, let me set the scene. In early 2019, I was approached by the publishers of his recently launched, Israel: a Beachhead for Imperialism in the Middle East. Would I care to review it? I would and did, giving the book a resounding ten out of ten. But why was I asked in the first place?

Possibly because I’d more than once – this 2018 post for instance – cited Steve approvingly on the West’s dirty war in Syria. Of which I’ll say this. While Israel: a Beachhead … is a diamond of perspicuity, Palestine has long been an easier cause to sell – other than in Israel itself 5 – than Syria; the propaganda blitz against Damascus far more intense.

This has had consequences not only for liberals and left reformists, but also the far left. Many Marxist groups have fled for cover over Syria (as forty years ago they did over the Provisional IRA) and for this reason those who refuse to do so, like Stephen Gowans, have my respect. 6

The scene duly set, let’s turn to Steve’s position on Ukraine, as expressed in numerous posts. Of which I have selected his What’s Left?  blog entry of December 27:

The Multipolaristas’ Theory of Ultra-Imperialism Doesn’t Fit a Multipolar World

Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that “Mr. Putin” is “convinced Russia’s Western enemies” are “seeking to yank Ukraine from Russia’s orbit.” Clearly, the United States and Russia are locked in a struggle over Ukraine; each wants the territory in its own orbit—that is, in its own empire. US efforts to yank Ukraine from the Russia orbit have been largely successful. Russia is yanking back, but it’s unlikely to win the tug of war.

The US and RF are indeed locked in a struggle over Ukraine. (Given the fog of war – and attendant propaganda – I’ll pass on who will prevail.) But Steve is priming us for a moral equivalence I reject. A regional power seeking to contain a neighbour within its sphere of influence – and this is me being ridiculously generous given Ukraine’s history 7 – is not to be likened to a global empire which views the entire planet as its fiefdom. Where Ukraine membership of NATO crosses a red line for Moscow, Washington draws its own red lines wherever it sees fit, typically thousands of miles from its coasts and borders.

Elsewhere Steve has dismissed Russian fears of NATO semi-encirclement as baseless, on the ground she can incinerate all her neighbours. I find this a remarkable argument. Why, we might ask, does Washington move unfailingly – and with far less cause, strategic or moral – to remove or isolate Latin American governments which prioritise the needs of their peoples over US ‘security concerns’?

To be sure, Steve is not in the game of defending Uncle Sam but the question merits an answer, and the fact Washington has many non-nuclear ways of controlling its southern neighbours serves only to underline the point I’m making. Could it be that, when one’s sole means of response to a hostile alliance on one’s doorstep is to trigger world war three, one might feel a shade underinsured?

The idea that the war in Ukraine is but one battlefield in a larger war between two empires is difficult to grasp for people whose understanding of imperialism is influenced by dependency theories developed in the immediate post-WWII period.

Yes, the Ukraine War is indeed “but one battlefield in a larger war”.  No, it is not a “war between two empires”.  

We can argue this in “common sense” terms. The USA rings the planet with 800 military bases, outspends on weaponry the next ten spenders put together, has been at war for almost its entire history and has slaughtered millions – by bombs, invasions, murderous ‘sanctions’ and terror unleashed – in this century alone. Mostly in far off lands.

In what universe can anything remotely similar be said of China or Russia?

Or we can argue it in terms of dialectical materialism. We can point out that neither Steve nor those other Marxists (like WSWS) who say China and Russia are empires have backed with empirical analyses their view of either as defined by the export of monopoly capital and repatriation of profits. For more on this I recommend two essays. One is The Myth Of Russian Imperialism: in Defense of Lenin’s Analyses, by Roger Annis and Renfrey Clarke. The other is Stansfield Smith’s, Is Russia Imperialist?

That Moscow would be so foolhardy as to launch for imperial motives an unprovoked attack on Ukraine beggars belief. The truth – evidenced often on this site, 8 accepted by Western scholars before things got so hot that many ran for cover, 9 and corroborated by Angela Merkel’s boast, ignored by Western media, that Minsk was a decoy – is that war came after years of reasoned argument had fallen on deaf ears in Washington. Caitlin is correct in saying Moscow took the least unattractive of two terrible options: fight now, or fight later in worsened circumstances. President Putin’s domestic approval ratings are at levels no Western leader may dream of because Russians believe – and with good cause – that they are engaged in an existential struggle.

Steve follows with a few hundred words (here again is the link) on multipolarity, taking in questions – such as dependency theory and the work of Karl Kautsky – beyond the scope of this post. They conclude with this:

… Continuing to see Russia and China as socialist powers that lie outside the metropolis, when they are now large capitalist powers with unconcealed projects of integrating regions into their own economies, is tantamount to applying the geology of the desert to the rainforest, and on this basis, declaring that trees (i.e., an imperialist Russia and an imperialist China) don’t exist.

Steve doesn’t say who sees Russia as a socialist power, and I can’t imagine who’d take so outlandish a view. But then, I’m not obliged to try. It suffices that there are other grounds for defending Russia in Ukraine. These being that:

  • The US Empire poses, for reasons given many times on this site – reasons I do not suppose Steve would contest – a threat to humankind which is very concrete and very ‘now’. Any future threat from Russia (or China) is a matter of speculation, and Steve’s’ speculations do not strike me as backed by serious empirical engagement, though burden of proof falls decidedly on him.

(A US ruling class no longer divided on this has recognised there is zero prospect of sowing discord between Moscow and its more serious economic rival, Beijing.)

  • Under her current management, Russia’s recent superiority in hypersonic missiles – neutralising US ability to launch with impunity a first nuclear strike 10 – has met with fury in Washington. Likewise and more generally her leaders’ refusal to bow, as Mr Yeltsin had, to US diktat. To be sure, being the target of Washington ire does not of itself merit approval by progressives. In general I’m not big on my enemy’s enemy being my friend. But on this specific question, yes sir! What the Empire of Chaos finds unacceptable – a fiercely independent Russian Federation – should indeed be embraced as wholesome. The option of neutrality (with or without the fantasy of a “third way”) is illusory.

(Washington’s fury is laced – and here too I doubt Steve would gainsay me, given that we see eye to eye on the nature of the West’s war on Syria – with desire to punish Moscow for thwarting regime change in Damascus. And so put the world on notice as to what happens to all who would defy its imperial writ.)

  • The specifics of the situation in Ukraine make Russia the victim of aggression, the USA the perpetrator. It is incumbent on those who disagree to say why, and equally incumbent on those who agree – but insist Russia should not have taken the bait – to set out in detail the alternative options she could and should have pursued.

As to whether China (Steve having bundled it with Russia) is a socialist power; that too lies beyond my scope here but the case for calling it imperialist has not been made. To those interested in this question – and if not, why not? – I commend Michael Hudson’s 2022 book, reviewed hereThe Destiny of Civilisation: Industrial Capitalism, Finance Capitalism or Socialism.

That, and a reminder of what I said earlier:

… I’ve followed assessments of humanity’s grim predicament with the claim that none of the West’s main currents of resistance – social democracy, trade unionism, ‘vanguard’ revolutionary sects, direct action – is capable, though all have merit, of effecting change of the kind, scale and timeliness needed.

Emphasis added. If the socialist response to coming barbarism is that rabbit-from-a-hat call for the workers of the world to unite and throw off their chains – and I’m not even sure Steve is saying this when he rightly, unlike most of the revolutionary left, avoids so fanciful a remedy for Syria – you’ll forgive my being underwhelmed.

Meanwhile I’m standing by Russia.

* * *

  1. That 500 year fear of Eurasia rising is expanded on in a post a year ago – Eurasia’s rise is unstoppable – featuring historian Alfred McCoy.
  2. My fear (other than of US determination to stymie China and Russia triggering WW3) is that Beijing will lose control over its capitalists – finance capitalists in particular – the way the West has. Where I differ from Stephen Gowans and others on the revolutionary left is in seeing that risk as the best of the options realistically available.
  3. A far more detailed assessment of China’s economic status is given in Michael Hudson’s 2022 publication, The Destiny of Civilisation: Industrial Capitalism, Finance Capitalism or Socialism – see my review here.
  4. That the US Empire can at one and the same time be both the most powerful ever to have existed, and facing its own decline, is no oxymoron. That mix of formidable power with terminal illness is what makes today’s world so damn scary.
  5. Support for resistance movements always meets with the most hysterical demonising in the oppressor state. That’s why defending the IRA in the Six Counties was tougher for British socialists than defending the ANC or PLO, and why it was easier to defend the IRA if you were French or American than British. It’s a measure of the importance to Western rule of overthrowing Assad that the propaganda blitz against “Assad apologists” was as intense as that once waged by the British state against “IRA apologists”.
  6. For all my differences with the Socialist Equality Party hosts of WSWS, including on the question of whether Russia and China are imperialist, it too – unlike most of the far left – refuses to damn the Ba’athist government in Damascus.
  7. As in Georgia 2008, Russia had its reasons to invade Ukraine. One was to protect ethnic Russian populations who’d had no say in their government’s post-Soviet secession, and whose territories had seen eight bloody years of civil war. We could liken the situations in post-secession Georgia and Ukraine to that of Scots in post-Brexit Britain, but this would not do justice to ethnic Russian fears of Kiev’s brand of nationalism with a decidedly neo-Nazi stripe as evidenced, inter alia,  by Zelensky being forced to u-turn on his 2019 vow to mend fences with Moscow and Russian majorities in Eastern Ukraine. (Similar fears had beset Russian speaking Ossetia vis a vis Tbilisi, while in both cases petrol was poured on the flames by the two respective governments’ explicit contemplation of joining Nato.) That’s before we even get on the one hand to the 2014 Maidan coup, on the other to that much longer history set out in Richard Sakwa’s masterly 2016 book, Frontline Ukraine. (By the way, I drop the definite article – The Ukraine – as a courtesy to West Ukrainians but there are arguments for retaining it given that Ukraine literally means ‘borderland’. After all, isn’t this what makes The Ukraine, alongside South China Sea and Middle East, so likely a flashpoint for Armageddon?)
  8. See this post of January 2022, its context the failed coup in Kazakhstan. I quote at some length a 2019 report by the RAND ‘think tank’ which sets out detailed suggestions for crippling Russia in Ukraine. Small wonder that so inconsequential a figure as the newly elected and olive-branch waving Zelensky was so easily turned – on the one hand by Azov thuggery, on the other by US and European pressure.
  9. Western scholars who did not run for cover – honourable exceptions proving the rule – include Reagan appointees Stephen Cohen and Paul Craig Roberts, and Chicago based “political realist” John Mearsheimer. (As ever I stress, since otherwise intelligent folk can muddle the general principle at stake here, that my appreciation of a virtue in one sphere – intellectual and moral courage in this case – need not imply wider endorsement.)
  10. Russia having focused her deterrence efforts on surface-to-air and other missile systems (as has China) removes US capacity to launch a first strike, aimed at taking out most of her response capability, secure in the knowledge it could deal with the remnants through ‘star wars’ shields. There is currently no answer to incoming missiles at Mach 10 or higher. To which I add only this. It is a habit with bullies to see any diminution of their power to abuse as an act of aggression by the abused.

9 Replies to “Ukraine Take 2 – Stephen Gowans

  1. Really struggling here to find any evidence to substantiate Gowens attempt to fit Andre Gunder Frank’s Dependency Theory/One World System (which I, among others, spend months wrestling with as far back as 1983 on the very first Open University ‘Third World Studies’ course) with Russia.

    Refreshing my memory from forty years ago with the aid of Wikipedia:

    Dependency theory is the notion that resources flow from a “periphery” of poor and underdeveloped states to a “core” of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the expense of the former. A central contention of dependency theory is that poor states are impoverished and rich ones enriched by the way poor states are integrated into the “world system”.

    Its certainly an interesting, even novel (in the fictional sense), to hang ones hat on the notion that on any of the relevant metrics upon which Frank’s theory are based that the RF forms part of “the” (not “a” core of wealthy States because the world Systems Theory falls apart if more than one “core exists) core of wealthy countries.

    Indeed all the available evidence, which is easily found even by numpties at my level, is that the core of wealthy countries in Frank’s World System have consistently treated and viewed both Russia and China as very much periphery rather than core as a systemic matter of sacred policy substantiated by numerous actions over a lengthy period of time.

    As for the other key metrics – from the flow of resources to the alleged ‘core’ of the RF to the resulting enrichment – one has to wonder what games console Steve Gowens has just unhooked from?

    Nothing fits Frank’s analysis of theories in this case.

    Which leaves us with the same question (albeit in a slightly different variation) we covered in relation to Richard Murphy. Why is it that an evidence based approach is used in case but not in another by the same individual?

    Doubtless everyone will, as Clint Eastwood’s ‘Dirty Harry’ would say, have an opinion. Rogue or fool/UI? Either way it amounts to the same thing. A dead end which, at best, detracts from rather than adds to the sum of knowledge.

    • As ever your comment is packed with valuable stuff, Dave. And I’m immensely gratified to know your early ‘eighties diligence at the OU has so handsomely paid off!

      • Frank’s name and works got hard wired simply because everyone (at least those who attended the summer school at Norwich) struggled to get to grips with, comprehend, and understand WTF he was on about.

        To the extent that during an organised debate between Progress Theory and Dependency Theory one mature student, picked to represent the team arguing for Dependency Theory, brought the house down with his opening remark/statement:

        “Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to be Frank.”

        A plea which resonated with every student in the room along the lines of ‘you and me both mate’ – the consensus at the time being that the only way to understand Frank was to be Frank.

  2. “Angela Merkel’s boast..” Recently confirmed by Francois Hollande who, as President of France, was the joint guarantor with Merkel the German Chancellor at the time, of the Minsk agreements.

    Given that, the Ukrainian President at the time, Poroshenko was the first to confess the truth behind Minsk, Hollande’s and Merkel’s confirmation make it unanimous.

    • Indeed. Poroshenko (barely remembered) + Hollande (ditto) + Merkel = a hat trick of corroboration. Meanwhile the fearlessly independent Guardian, Bezos-owned WashPo – and for that matter the Emir of Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera – have given muted coverage (or maintained total silence) of what should have been a front page story.

      (For those unaware of the significance of what Ms Merkel said in three interviews with German and Italian journalists, this Global Times piece of fewer than a dozen short paragraphs gives a useful summary.)

  3. Here are a few random thoughts. Don’t expect coherence or a systematic critique. That is where other people come in.

    Gowans proffers several definitions of Empire.
    Here “… the United States and Russia are locked in a struggle over Ukraine; each wants the territory in its own orbit—that is, in its own empire. ” He tells us that a state wishing to exert influence over its neighbours is an Empire and its neighbours are what? In the case of Ukraine the Empire, pulling it into its orbit and employing it as a military base from which it threatens Russia, is the United States.
    And here
    “…Russia and China… are now large capitalist powers with unconcealed projects of integrating regions into their own economies…”
    The argument seems to be that the ambition of integrating regions into their own economies- and I’m not sure what that can mean- is imperialism. Suffice it to say that if that is the case there are a lot of Empires around.

    Part of the problem may be that Gowans seems to think that Russia and China (not to mention Ukraine, Poland , Hungary and the rest of the USSR and Warsaw Pact countries) have only recently joined the world capitalist economy, dominated by imperialism. If that were the case the USSR would probably still exist- unfortunately its entire existence was spent fending off aggression from Imperialism.

    He appears to believe that the distinguishing feature of an Empire is its military power: that Russia and China challenge the US based Empire (by refusing to surrender to it) and therefore are themselves an Empire. I suppose that the Moguls and the Qing were in the same position- they attempted to defend themselves against the British empire and were empires themselves. So that will have been OK: Clive was just doing to others what they would have done to England, if they had had a navy and an interest in using it. One King Emperor is much like another Son of Heaven or Mughal conqueror.

    So Gowans might argue that were China to overtake the USA, militarily and economically, it might start behaving in the way that the US now does. Four thousand years of history would seem to suggest otherwise but maybe that doesn’t count.

    Does Russia even have a ruling class? Its oligarchs appear to be middlemen employed by US imperialist interests to facilitate the plundering of Russia-compradors, very different animals from the US ruling class which demonstrates its power over Russia’s economy with every new round of sanctions, expropriations and other forms of economic warfare. Surely the reality is that in Russia there is a constant social struggle from which no permanent ruling class has yet emerged.
    In China the situation appears to be similar. The Capitalists own the means of production except that the state owns the banks and control credit. Ask Jack Ma.
    Do the capitalist class control the Communist Party? It must do if the ruling class is capitalist. Does anyone want to argue that it does?
    Both Russia and China are states in transition. And the crucial fact about this transition is that its issue will be determined not by ideals but by reality. My guess is that Russia cannot survive unless its working people can impose their class interests on the state. And in China, where conditions are different and the period of transition has lasted much longer, something similar is the case.
    The alternative to imperialism is democracy, in the real sense of the term. And nowhere is that going to be more evident than in the imperial metropolis itself in the coming years. That this is the case is well understood in Moscow and Beijing. It is equally well understood in Washington and the ‘west’ where the real fear is that, without war and its accompanying propaganda, a reasonable populace will begin to insist on government behaving rationally and equitably. Long after two centuries have passed the simple slogan of the French Revolution, calling for brotherhood and equality, remains the purpose of society.
    Gowans talks about Ukraine as if it had ever been anything other than a Russian borderland. Maybe that’s his Canadian position showing, but the reality is that Ukraine, though its borders and demography have shifted regularly through the centuries, has never been anything but Russian. To call a project aiming at re-uniting the Donbas, Kiev and Odessa with Russia ‘imperialist’ is cheap propaganda. We expect that from Downing Street but not from a blogger quoting Kautsky and Lenin.
    No doubt China, wanting to reintegrate Taiwan (aka the Republic of China) with, inter alia its vast store of documents removed from Beijing and art works plundered from a hundred cities, into itself is also acting like an Empire.

    • Hi bevin. I’m dashing out but want to response on two of your points.

      One, conflating capitalism with imperialism – and Steve sails close to doing just that – makes, by reductio absurdum, Bangladesh imperialist! We might well ask: why bother with separate words?

      Two, does Russia have a ruling class? Good question – wish I’d thought of it. Given the recent origins, in the IMF imposed disaster capitalism under Yeltsin, of Russia’s tiny and murderously faction-riven oligarchy, I believe you’re onto something. One swallow doth not a summer make, and a handful of brigands and cut-throats made stinking rich in those extraordinary conditions doth not a ruling class make.

      • Talking of disaster capitalism:

        In regards Ukraine; over recent weeks I’ve encountered the odd snippet – usually below the line – which goes something along the line of:

        – The Ukraine economy is tanking; High inflation. Deficits running at circa $5 billion a month. Low, if any GDP (possibly negative?). Current deficit in the region of tens of billions of dollars. Public sector in chaos. Tens of millions of people have fled the region etc.etc.

        – Even the IMF is reported to be refusing to entertain committing further funds.

        – Whilst some reports suggest the USA is planning to use its majority shareholding in the IMF to force through changes in IMF loan criteria for the Ukraine basket case – watering down requirements via the usual arm twisting – other reports suggest that the private sector may be the vehicle by which the disaster capitalism/dependency theory model is imposed in the present situation.

        – The name which crops up is the company Blackrock – which is claimed in some quarters to have more money than the GDP of a lot of nation states.

        – The upshot of which is that the private sector, via Blackrock and its investors, will, to all practical intents and purposes, take over the Ukrainian State and its public sector. With zero provisions which would curtail maximum profit potential. Such as any worker, consumer, environmental protection/safeguards etc; no right to strike. Outlawing of any civil society groups which might object and so on.

        – In other words, taking their pound of flesh in perpetuity. The kind of approach which would certainly fit the criteria of the behaviour of an ‘Empire.”

        – At the same time, the same sources make a point of comparing the actions of the Russian Federation in the areas it has liberated/occupied (take your choice). Which is to write off debts and rebuild infrastructure along the lines of a model that actually works for the benefit of the population at large – which sounds as good a job description for Government as one might construct.

        Some observations:

        – This model/approach does not seem that different from that employed by the Chinese in regards its investments outside China. Which are of rescheduling or even writing off debts rather than impoverishing local populations via the debt bondage of the disaster capitalism/dependency theory model/approach .

        – An approach which once formed an integral part of normal practice as detailed in the old Testament section of the Christian text, The Bible.

        – Micheal Hudson, last year, produced a number of texts and recorded interviews around this issue. In effect identifying the existence of two competing and incompatible models.

        “In a meeting to create such a bank, China would be in a similar dominant position to that which the United States enjoyed in 1944 at Bretton Woods. But its operating philosophy would be quite different. The aim would be to develop the economies of bank members, with long-term planning or trade patterns that seem most appropriate for their economies to avoid the kind of dependency relationships and privatization takeovers that have characterized IMF and World Bank policy…..

        …..The only alternative to imposing economic austerity on themselves is to withdraw from the dollar trap in which US-sponsored “free market” economics (markets free from government protection, and free from government ability to recover the environmental damage from US oil companies, mining companies and the associated industrial and food dependency) is to make a clean break.

        The break will be difficult, and US diplomacy will do everything it can to disrupt the creation of a more resilient economic order. But US policy has created a global state of dependency in which literally There is no alternative but to break away.””

        “And the political order is basically based on the main distinction between the non-neoliberals and the neoliberals, and that is: who will control the money supply. And China is the prime example. Instead of private banking creating the credit to create loans basically for financial reasons, China will create credit to spend into the economy the way that MMTers hope to see credit created.

        Namely, spend to hire labor, to make new means of production, hopefully in an environmental way, as opposed to the commercial banks that look at “how do we make money in the short term?” Well, you make money in the short term by cutting down the forest of the Amazon. You don’t look at global warming.

        And already you’ve had the heads of American oil companies and investment firms say “what do we care about global warming ten years in the future? We care about the next three months’ earning statement, and the next year. Ten years from now, the sea levels go up. We can deal with it then.” So you’re dealing with two different economic philosophies and as the world divides into these two different economies, this is an important element.”

        “We have two diametrically opposed scenarios depicting how the most basic economic relationships came into being. On the one hand, we see Near Eastern and Asian societies organized to maintaining social balance by keeping debt relations and mercantile wealth subordinate to the public welfare. That aim characterized archaic society and non-Western societies.

        But the Western periphery, in the Aegean and Mediterranean, lacked the Near Eastern tradition of “divine kingship” and Asian religious traditions. This vacuum enabled a wealthy creditor oligarchy to take power and concentrate land and property ownership in its own hands. For public relations purposes, it claimed to be a “democracy” – and denounced any protective government regulation as being, by definition, “autocracy.”

        Western tradition indeed lacks a policy subordinating wealth to overall economic growth. The West has no strong government checks to prevent a wealth-addicted oligarchy from emerging to make itself into a hereditary aristocracy. Making debtors and clients into a hereditary class, dependent on wealthy creditors, is what todays economists call a “free market.” It is one without public checks and balances against inequality, fraud or privatization of the public domain.”

        – There is sufficient evidence to clearly indicate that the Russian and Chinese approach, among others, does not meet the criteria of Empire committed to replicating the Western dependency theory model which forms the core of Steve Gowen’s arguments.

        – It would seem reasonable to suggest that Gowen, like many Western ‘experts’ (across many fields), is incapable of assessing anything outside of a Western orientated framework based on Western criteria, modes of behaviour and philosophy.

        – Hence the tired and typical projection contained in his arguments.

        – Another manifestation of Western Ethnocentricity.

        – A general trait within and throughout the West which Andrei Martyanov often refers to and laments.

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