Imperialism and the development myth

How rich countries dominate in the twenty-first century

By Sam King

Imperialism and the development myth


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-5901-4
  • Pages: 312
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: September 2021
  • BIC Category: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Imperialism, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing & Emerging Countries, HISTORY / Asia / China, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Economy, Politics, Political economy, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Development economics & emerging economies, China, Economics, finance, business & management / Political economy
  • Series: Progress in Political Economy


China and other Third World societies cannot 'catch up' with the rich countries. The contemporary world system is permanently dominated by a small group of rich countries who maintain a vice-like grip over the key parts of the labour process - over the most technologically sophisticated and complex labour. Globalisation of production since the 1980s means much more of the world's work is now carried out in the poor countries, yet it is the rich, imperialist countries - through their domination of the labour process - that monopolise most of the benefits. Income levels in the First World remain five and ten times higher than Third World countries. The huge gulf between rich and poor worlds is getting bigger not smaller. Under capitalist imperialism, it is permanent.

China has moved from being one of the poorest societies to a level now similar with other relatively developed Third World societies - like Mexico and Brazil. The dominant idea that it somehow threatens to 'catch up' economically, or overtake the rich countries paves the way for imperialist military and economic aggression against China. King's meticulous study punctures the rising-China myth. His empirical and theoretical analysis shows that, as long as the world economy continues to be run for private profit, it can no longer produce new imperialist powers. Rather it will continue to reproduce the monopoly of the same rich countries generation after generation. The giant social divide between rich and poor countries cannot be overcome.


Foreword - Michael Roberts


Part I: Two worlds
1 Income polarisation in the neoliberal period

Part II: Contemporary Marxist analysis
2 Decline of Marxist analysis of imperialism
3 Contemporary Marxist response to world polarisation
4 The idea of China as a rising threat

Part III: Lenin's theory of imperialism and its contemporary application
5 What Lenin's book does not say
6 Is imperialism the 'highest stage of capitalism'?
7 Lenin's monopoly capitalist competition
8 Monopoly and the Marx's labour theory of value

Part IV: Monopoly and non-monopoly capital: the economic core of imperialism
9 Neoliberal polarisation of capital
10 Polarised specialisation of nations
11 Non-monopoly Third World capital
12 Neoliberal globalisation in historical context
13 The industrialisation of everything
14 Growing state dominance
15 Stranglehold: the reproduction of highest labour power

Part V: Super-exploitation of China and why catch-up is not possible
16 China: Third World capitalism par excellence
17 The new Imperialist cold war against China
18 Trade war and China's latest attempts at upgrading




Sam King is a researcher in imperialism and world trade

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