Mike Kidron

The Flow of Money

(Spring 1960)

From International Socialism (1st series), No. 1, Spring 1960, p. 31.
Transcribed by Christian Høgsbjerg, with thanks to Paul Blackledge.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Capital Imports into Sterling Countries
A.R. Conan
London: Macmillan & Co., 1960, ix + 110 pp., 18s.

A close reading of this book will make marxists want to straighten out some of their categories, and especially their understanding of imperialism. If capital imports are the prime criterion of colonial status, Australia with a total of £1,700m of foreign capital owing is more a colony than the combined British Colonial Empire (with a mere £1,200m) (p. 36) and India today is twice the colony it was on the morrow of independence in 1948 (p. 31). Whoever thinks that capital exports flow mainly into mining and other extractive industries is still right to some extent but becoming less and less so as manufacturing replaces primary industry (and developed Commonwealth countries replace backward colonial ones) as a haven for capital.

The book is no revolutionary tract. Its peremptory rejection (in one paragraph on p. 85) of the idea that British capitalism has been able to pump funds into the Commonwealth only by virtue of its control over colonial resources shows where its sympathies lie. Nevertheless its author has provided a sober compilation of first-rate raw material in three chapters (the volume, the character and the source of capital imports) with a minimum of generalization.

Last updated on 7 February 2017