The economics of globalization: towards a new mode of accumulation?

Stéphanie Treillet

Global Justice School 2003



I/ Globalization: a historically specific phase of capitalism


A/ Not an entirely new phenomenon: a historical perspective

1)       Globalization is a permanent part of capitalism

2) Capitalism has gone through other phases of heightened economic internationalization — and of financialization

3) We are not seeing a total deterritorialization of production; in particular, multinational corporations (MNCs) are not “footloose”.


B/ What is new, compared to earlier phases of economic internationalization?

1)          Global organization of production, not just of trade

2)          Tendency towards formation of a homogeneous global space for valorisation of capital

3)          Total freedom of action for MNCs, guaranteed by treaties


C/ The four characteristics of globalization

1)                                          Rise in trade and investment flows

2)                                          Globalization of production

3)                                          Financiarization, which includes several dimensions

4)                                          Relative loss of autonomy of nation-states


D/ An incomplete tendency with internal contradictions


II/ The mechanisms of globalization


A/ Domination by finance?

1)              Many Marxist economists speak of financial, or financialized, regimes of accumulation

2)              Limits of this approach

3)              The functions of finance in the accumulation and reproduction of capital


B/ A new global hierarchy of imperialist powers?

1)            A renewal of the mechanisms of imperialist domination?

2)            Super-imperialism, ultra-imperialism or inter-imperialist competition ?

3)            New and old forms of North-South” relations. The modalities of reproduction of peripheral capitalism today


C/ Vanishing states?

1)       Relativization of their role on several levels

2)       The function of neoliberal policies

3)       New forms of state economic intervention


III/ Is there a new long wave, that is, a new regime of accumulation for capitalism?


A/ Globalization as a response to the crisis of capitalism

1)       Forms of class struggle

2)       The new rise in  profit rates

3)       The search for new markets for commodities


B/ A new capitalism?

1)       The illusions of technology

2)       Has the law of value been repealed?


C/ The preconditions for take-off of a new long expansive wave and the internal contradictions of a new model

1)       In the realm of class struggle

2)       In the realm of inter-imperialist competition

3)       In the realm of realization of surplus-value


Conclusion: a fundamentally unstable regime of accumulation