Colonialism and Dependence
In "Imperialism, the Highest State of Capitalism", Lenin warned, in
refuting Kautsky, that the domination of finance capital not only
does not lessen the inequalities and contradictions present in the
world economy, but on the contrary accentuates them.
Time has passed and proven him right. The inequalities have become
sharper. Historical research has shown that the distance that separated
the standard of living in the wealthy countries from that of the poor
countries toward the middle of the nineteenth century was much smaller
than the distance that separates them today.
The gap has widened. In 1850 the per capita income in the industrialized
countries was 50 per cent higher than in the underdeveloped countries.
To have an idea of the progress that has been achieved in the
DEVELOPMENT OF INEQUALITY, we have only to listen to President Richard
"...and I think about what this hemisphere, the new world, will be like
at the end of this century. And I consider that if the present growth
rates of the United States and the rest of the hemisphere have not
changed, at the end of this century the per capita income in the United
States will be 15 times higher than the income per person of our
friends, our neighbors, the members of our family in the rest of the
The oppressed nations will have to grow much more rapidly just to
MAINTAIN their relative backwardness. Their present low rates of
development feed the dynamic of inequality: the oppressor nations are
becoming increasingly rich in absolute terms, but they are richer still
in relative terms.
The overall strength of the imperialist system rests on the necessary
inequality of its component parts, and that inequality is achieving ever
Capitalism is still capitalism, and unequal development and widespread
poverty are still its visible fruits.
"Centralized" capitalism can afford the luxury of creating and believing
its own myths of opulence, but myths cannot be eaten, and the poor
nations that constitute the vast capitalist "periphery" are well aware
of this fact. Imperialism has "modernized" itself in its methods and
characteristics, but it has not magically turned into a universal
philanthropic organisation. The system's greed grows with the system
Nowadays imperialism does not require the old-style colonial
administrations. The archaic Portuguese model of control over Angola
and Mozambique is no longer the most "convenient". Lenin described the
reality of his time, saying that "naturally...finance capital finds it
most 'convenient', and is able to extract the greatest profit from a
subordination which involves the loss of the political independence of
the subjected countries and peoples".
In his report to the Twenty-second Congress of the CPUSSR in 1961,
Nikita Khruschev reached the conclusion that "imperialism has
irrevocably lost its control...