Global Contentions – East and West
Edited by Geoffrey M. Hodgson, Makoto Itoh and Nobuharu Yokokawa
Chapter 10: From bureaucratic capitalism to transnational capitalism: an intermediate theory
Nobuharu Yokokawa* INTRODUCTION In Capital, Karl Marx described the maxim of the capitalist as: ‘Accumulate, accumulate! That is Moses and the prophets!’ (1976, p. 742). This is no less true today, as it was in the nineteenth century. Only those ﬁrms that successfully accumulate capital can survive in the competitive process. In the twentieth century, the accumulation of capital became not only the private goal of capitalists but also the public goal of nations. Nations competed among each other for higher international economic and political status. The development of universal suffrage made full employment and the improvement of living conditions a political obligation. Furthermore, the existence of a rival mode of production in the form of a centrally planned socialist economy also helped to make the more rapid growth of each economy a national objective. The nation states came to resemble large corporations seeking ever-faster growth for their survival. Marx called the compelling and self-regulating nature of capital accumulation ‘the law of value’. The sections that follow illustrate the importance of an intermediate type of theory, between abstract theory and concrete analysis, to examine the law of value in various historical capitalist world systems. The law of value is examined in bureaucratic capitalism, which was established in the mid-twentieth century. The possible formation of a transnational capitalism since the 1990s is also discussed. THE LAW OF VALUE AND INTERMEDIATE THEORY As Marx explained, the existence of labour power as a commodity is the precondition for the capitalist mode of...
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