6) Qualitative changes in Imperialism!

The Congress Documents state: "Although certain essentials of the system, such as the capitalist mode of production, production relations, and surplus-value have not in essence changed, in accordance with new developments, they indicate significant differences.” (p.19)

And it follows: "We must break away from incorrect approaches by analyzing these developments, which are not changes in the essence [of the system] but emerge according to the historical conditions that arise upon the same essence." Further on, the emergence of "some new qualitative changes" is explained as follows:

"The fundamental contradiction of capitalism and imperialism is between the social nature of production and the private property. Today too this is the unchanged content-essence. However, imperialism shows not only quantitative but also certain qualitative changes. National monopolies are replaced by multinational monopolies; concentration and concentration have brought out some quantitative changes." (p.249)

What are the significant differences occurring in the surplus-value on the basis of the capitalist production system? The following is extremely important and had been explained by Marx more than 150 years ago: The large industry does not see the existing production process as the final and unchanging form; in this regard, its technical basis is revolutionary; and this is its fundamental difference with the conservatism of the previous modes of production. Large industries not only lead to changes in the technical basis of production but also, conditional to these changes, they would bring about changes in the tasks of workers and in the social compilation of the labour process.

Marx never claimed that these changes have caused significant changes in surplus value as well. Concentration and centralization of production does not lead to a change in surplus-value. International monopolies or today's transnational production and multinational monopolies cannot be the elements of changes or significant transformation in surplus-value. As Marks had pointed out, even "fundamental changes" in the technical conditions of labour process have "not in the least degree affected the essential difference between" the constant and variable capitals. They would change "only the quantitative relation between the constant and the variable capital, or the proportions in which the total capital is split up into its constant and variable constituents." (Capital, Volume I, p. 226) [https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch08.htm]

This means the following: Closely parallel to the progress of the society, gigantic steps in the relative surplus-value and thus the increase in the productivity of labour or the shortening of necessary labour-time cannot cause significant alterations in surplus-value. Surplus-value remains as the confiscation of the worker's unpaid labour by capital. All the developments in labour productivity at the end come to one conclusion: reduce the necessary labour, increase the surplus-labour, and turn it into unpaid labour. This situation does not cause a qualitative change either in the mode of production or in the fundamental relation between labour and capital, meaning in surplus-value.

It is incomprehensible that despite such clear scientific analyses by Marx, the MKP still insists on arguing about significant changes in surplus-value. So the question that the MKP must answer still remains: What is the significant change or difference in surplus-value? How will they answer this question satisfactorily without avoiding Marx?

They claim that besides some quantitative changes, imperialism has also undergone some qualitative changes. National monopolies are replaced by multinational monopolies. Certain qualitative changes have emerged in the centralization and concentration. What is the centralization and concentration?

As Marx described in the third volume of Capital, centralization is the merging of many capitals into several large capitals, through changes in the distribution of existing capitals or through the changes in their quantitative grouping. In other words, centralization is the transformation of many capitalists into a few capitalists. And, again paraphrasing Marx, concentration is another name given to the production in large scales.

Concentration and centralization have to do with the extraordinary expansion of concentration, not with the qualitative transformation. This means the realization of production in very large scales. This is a natural tendency of capitalism.

The question here is this: Is the replacement of national monopolies by multinational monopolies a qualitative change? Or does it have to do with the scale that concentration has reached? More importantly, is the emergence of multinational monopolies a new development? Or had they already appeared soon after the completion of the process of monopoly stage?

Replacement of national monopolies by international monopolies is not a new phenomenon. It should be noted that the national monopoly of multinational monopolies to leave the place of what was the last year of the decade what the problem is and what the last thirty years. Its historical background goes way beyond the last decade or the last three decades. It is a development that goes as far back as the "golden years" of capitalism. This is a development of the period so-called the "golden years” in the history of capitalism. If we were to follow this historical development along its major lines: Even in Marx and Engels' days, due to the nature of capital or due to the concentration and centralization of capital and production, a trend of monopoly mergers was on the rise. As could be clearly seen from the examples that Engels gave based on the American and British capitals, there were already trust type monopolies popping up here and there. This was so "by the trusts of manufacturers of whole spheres of production which regulate production, and thus prices and profits." (Engels, in Supplement to Capital, Volume III , p. 110, footnote 16) [https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Capital-Volume-3rd .pdf]

At the time, this trend was at its embryo stage. By the very beginning of twentieth century, free competitive capitalism, due to the concentration of production, reached the monopoly stage. As Lenin had noted, this development went on with giant steps until 1912. So much so that, by the first decades of the twentieth century, this line of development led to emergence of super monopolies, as Lenin pointed out:

"Monopolist capitalist associations, cartels, syndicates and trusts first divided the home market among themselves and obtained more or less complete possession of the industry of their own country. But under capitalism the home market is inevitably bound up with the foreign market. Capitalism long ago created a world market. As the export of capital increased, and as the foreign and colonial connections and 'spheres of influence' of the big monopolist associations expanded in all ways, things 'naturally' gravitated towards an international agreement among these associations, and towards the formation of international cartels. This is a new stage of world concentration of capital and production, incomparably higher than the preceding stages. Let us see how this supermonopoly develops." (Lenin, Selected Works, Volume V, p. 70-71) [https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1916/imp-hsc/ch05.htm]

So, it is obvious that "the formation of international cartels," what is by Lenin called "supermonopoly", is not a new phenomenon. Lenin gives the cartelization in the electric industry as a typical example. Further on, in the same work, he writes about how the private and state monopolies are intertwined. Afterwards, during the "golden years of capitalism, an era that covers the post-WWII years until 1973, the year when the oil crisis blew off, international monopolies organized themselves as multinational monopolies. However, the trend did not stop there. In especially the last twenty years, merged megamonopolies that rule the markets across the world became a reality of our days. It must be underlined that this development is closely linked with the abandonment of Keynesian model after the 1970s and the adoption of Friedman market model (no-liberalism) and with the elements of the collapse of modern revisionism in Eastern Europe and Russia.

This means the followings: Firstly, in the Congress Documents, these developments in imperialism, namely the emergence of multinational monopolies, are being touted as something new. However, multinational monopolies have a history of at least 50-60 years. Secondly, even these developments do not correspond to a new qualitative change in imperialism. The fact that international monopolies became multinational monopolies 50-60 years ago does not lead to a change at the core of business and cause an imperialism as a in the new predicament we face. In the development of capitalism, centralization and concentration would remain at the level of cartels in the transition to a new order.

By the way, at some point the Congress Documents uses terms "unification and centralization" within the context of capital next to each other. Do we need to remind that from the viewpoint of economy, centralization is already the term used to describe the quantitative merger of capital groups?

As for "the trend of progress towards a single world monopoly," as mentioned by the Congress Documents, it of course will not find any possibility of realization. It has been resolved in Marx; "This process would soon bring about the collapse of capitalist production if it were not for counteracting tendencies, which have a continuous decentralizing effect alongside the centripetal one." (Capital, Volume III , p. 218-219) [https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Capital-Volume-3rd.pdf]

As Lenin had noted in his Introduction to Bukharin's Imperialism and World Economy in 1915:

"There is no doubt that the development is going in the direction of a single world trust that will swallow up all enterprises and all states without exception. But the development in this direction is proceeding under such stress, with such a tempo, with such contradictions, conflicts, and convulsions-not only economical, but also political, national, etc., etc.-that before a single world trust will be reached, before the respective national finance capitals will have formed a world union of "ultra-imperialism," imperialism will inevitably explode, capitalism will turn into its opposite."

It is apparent that with round sentences such as "the mechanisms of capitalism do not go on as a routine quantitative increase and decrease. They are shaped by historical circumstances, showing quantitative and qualitative changes," the MKP's Third Congress gets the feet entangled in the theory. It is a fact that as the new stage of capitalism, monopoly capitalism does not stand still on one point; it develops, expands. This development, however, has not come to an extension to express a qualitative leap. In this regards, the basis of the theory of MKP is deprived of real ground.