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CASE STUDY: As previsões do marxismo-leninismo são comparáveis às profecias de Nostradamus (3)

«Perhaps the most famous and most influential explanation of economic differences between rich and poor nations was V. l. Lenin’s Imperialism. lt was a masterpiece in the art of persuasion, for it convinced many highly educated people around the world, not only in the absence of compelling empirical evidence, but in defiance of a large body of hard evidence to the contrary.

The thesis of Imperialism was that industrial capitalist nations had surplus capital, which would drive down the rate of profit over time in accordance with Marxist theory, unless it were exported to the nonindustrial poorer nations of the world, where it could find a wider field for exploitation. What Lenin called the "super profits" to be earned in these poorer nations would save capitalism in the industrial nations and even allow them to share some of the fruits of their exploitation with their own working-classes, so as to keep them quiescent and forestall the proletarian revolution which Marx had predicted, but which by Lenin's time showed no signs of materializing. This theory thus neatly explained away the failure of Marx's predictions and at the same time provided a politically satisfying explanation of income differences between rich and poor nations.

A table of statistics in Imperialism provided a crucial summary evidence for Lenin's theory. The countries listed in capital letters across the top of the table are the industrial capitalist nations that were investing the various sums of money shown in the places listed in smaller letters along the side of the table - supposedly in the poorer and less industrially developed parts of the world. But the huge and heterogeneous categories - for example, "America," meaning the entire Western Hemisphere - make it impossible to know whether the industrial nations' investments are being made in the less industrial parts of these sweeping categories or in the more industrialized parts. However, data from other sources make it clear that in fact most of the foreign investments of prosperous industrial nations went to other prosperous industrial nations - then and now.

The United States was then, and is today, the largest recipient of foreign investment from Europe. Likewise, the foreign investments of Americans went primarily to other prosperous modern nations, not to the Third World. For most of the twentieth century, the United States invested more in Canada than in all of Africa and Asia put together. Only the economic rise of postwar Japan and, later, other Asian industrializing nations, attracted American investments to Asia on a large scale in the latter part of the twentieth century. In short, the actual pattern of international investments went directly opposite to the theories of Lenin, who concealed that fact within his large and heterogeneous categories of investment recipients.»

Exploitation, Economic Facts and Fallacies, Thomas Sowell


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