Discussion on the Economy
The most powerful monopolies centred in the big powers control international trade. Free trade agreements allow them almost unrestricted access to most countries. The monopoly free traders oppose any opposition to their free access with stern measures, including blockades, sanctions, predatory war, imperialist financed and organized regime change, and other gross interference in the sovereign affairs of the people and their right to be.
Trade is more than an economic element seeking to align resources, markets and workers in the most efficient manner as apologists for imperialism have long asserted. Trade under the domination of the monopolies serves their particular narrow private interests for empire-building and the geopolitical interests of the big power in which they are key players.
The desire of peoples around the world to exercise control over their economy, politics and those matters that directly affect their lives comes into direct confrontation with the global monopoly control of international trade and the geopolitics of the big powers. The monopolies and the big powers, especially U.S. imperialism, see any hint of independence of the local economy or striving for political independence as a challenge to their hegemony and power of monopoly right.
The local sovereign economy must not be diverse, self-reliant and in the service of the public interest and nation-building, the big powers assert. The local economy must serve the narrow private interests of the global monopolies and their empire-building, the free traders declare. Who controls the economy and its direction is a focal point of contention between monopoly right and public right.
A new direction would see the local economy as the starting point putting international trade in a secondary position serving the national economy in opposition to imperialism and monopoly control. An independent economy works in lockstep with independent politics and the people’s struggle to be free from the overbearing control and exploitation of the global monopolies and the striving of geopolitics for hegemony.
How to break with the dominance of the global monopolies and their empire-building in the service of narrow private interests is an issue and problem for the working class and its communist leadership and the broad movement of the people to resolve. To break with the geopolitics of the big powers and domination of the global monopolies requires an effort of the entire people of a country. The people must be won over to the aspiration of nation-building free from the domination of the big powers and monopoly right and grasp the truth that their future lies in their own capacity to not only engage in production but also to control the direction of their economy and politics. This requires marching forward on an independent nation-building project in opposition to monopoly right and geopolitics.
When the human factor is released from the backward imperialist pressure and aspires to a nation-building project under the control of the people, the human factor/social consciousness becomes an unstoppable force to break with the old and bring in the new. The power of the people to build the new begins with the power to deprive the imperialist big powers of their power to deprive the people of their rights of which the basic one is the right to be.
Nation-Building Requires the Mobilization of the People to
Deprive the Imperialists of Their Geopolitical Control
over Trade and the Peoples’ Economies
The production and export of oil has been seen as a way forward to independence and nation-building for several countries. This aspiration to use oil as a stepping block to an independent, diverse and self-reliant economy has been met with the brute force of predatory wars of the U.S.-led imperialist front in West Asia and North Africa, conspiracies to interfere in national economies and for regime change throughout the world, and now recently with the manipulation of the oil supply and prices to cause economic crises in targeted countries.
The U.S. imperialists in alliance with various puppet monarchies in West and Central Asia have unleashed predatory nation-wrecking wars and conspiracies for regime change against oil producing states and others since the end of the Second World War. Beginning in the Cold War period, the U.S. imperialists organized the 1953 CIA coup d’état for regime change in Iran. Continuing their geopolitical march for hegemony and to control the world’s human and material resources after the Cold War, the U.S. military launched predatory wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, mercenary wars against Syria and Yemen, and conspiracies for regime change in any state deemed not firmly aligned with U.S. imperialism.
In concert with overt war and conspiracies for regime change, the U.S. imperialists following the 2008 economic crisis decided to unleash a destructive economic war against any state holding aspirations to use their oil resource as a means to build a diverse and independent economy. The U.S.-led imperialist front has set out to destroy or at least seriously disrupt the economies of Russia, Venezuela, Brazil, Nigeria and Ecuador, and also to intensify the pressure on Iran, Angola, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, Argentina, Norway and others.
A crucial weapon in this attack is monopoly control of international trade, the determination of prices of most traded goods and their realization using the U.S. dollar. Control of the international oil market and the determination of the price of oil and other basic commodities and their realization in U.S. dollars are crucial aspects of the U.S. economic war against sovereign nations. This geopolitical economic war would not succeed if independent nations agreed to withdraw from the imperialist system of states and defend that decision with the mobilization of their people in defence of their right to be.
Withdrawing from the imperialist system of states and forming alliances with others who affirm their independence from geopolitics means depriving the imperialists of their power to control the economies and politics of independent sovereign countries. The independence and sovereignty of the peoples of the world can only be sustained with control over their independent economies and vigorous nation-building projects.
Nation-building requires self-reliant diverse economies that engage in international trade for mutual benefit and development of the trading partners to strengthen their respective economies. Sovereign control over trade extends importantly to the determination of market prices based on prices of production in both the exporting and importing countries reflecting their concrete conditions, and finding a mutually beneficial method for realization of their traded goods. This requires depriving the big powers and their monopolies of the control they exercise using free trade agreements and international exchange markets where their parasites manipulate trade and prices to serve narrow private interests in opposition to the broad public interest of sovereign economies and their nation-building projects.
The Example of Oil as a Weapon of U.S. Imperialism and Geopolitics
Control of the international oil market and the determination of the price of oil and its realization in U.S. dollars are crucial aspects of the U.S. imperialist battle for hegemony and its economic war against sovereign nations.
Not long ago, the New York Times carried glowing reports of the boom in oil production in the U.S. and how the country would soon be completely self sufficient in oil. The boom was triggered by new technology in oil production and propelled forward with government assistance and willing lenders of social wealth driven by the desire for a big score. Two aspects should be considered:
The U.S. military is the world’s largest single institutional consumer of oil, which is a necessary strategic resource to sustain its striving for empire and hegemony over the world.
The surge in U.S. oil production through hydraulic fracturing (fracking) forms part of a geopolitical campaign to lower the oil market price to unsustainable depths for most producers, which is causing great harm to certain targeted economies. The control of prices, up or down, has long been a weapon of monopoly right to defeat competitors and enemies and gain hegemony over certain markets to extract maximum profit.
Now with the oil price in a prolonged slump and much damage already inflicted on certain countries, the tone in the Times has changed to gloom and doom for those companies and oil producing regions that have boomed using the new technology of hydraulic fracturing. Imperialist journalism finds it convenient to go into amnesia of what it was promoting and saying only months ago. What was the aim of the reckless boom in oil production using highly controversial and risky methods, one could ask? Was it not to disrupt certain economies from using oil sales and income for nation-building in opposition to U.S. hegemony? The boom was required to manufacture a bust, which is what happens when the economies of the world are subject to geopolitical control and intrigue.
The imperialists use new technology not to better the lives of people but to further their narrow private interests for maximum profit and serve their geopolitical aim for hegemony. Faced with fracking, the Uber app and advanced weapons of mass destruction, the peoples of the world are constantly called upon to step up their resistance and fight for a new independent direction for their economies and world affairs to deprive the imperialists of their destructive control.
The new direction requires human-centred consciousness to bring science and technological advances under the control of the people to serve nation-building and the broad public interest in opposition to empire-building, the striving for hegemony and narrow private interests of the imperialists.
The NYT reports a crisis has erupted and, “Not one oil well in the U.S. is making money at today’s price. They are only producing to satisfy the demands of lenders.” And elsewhere in their paper they report with undisguised enthusiasm of the economic difficulties in Venezuela, Brazil and elsewhere and smugly cheer on U.S. financed and organized efforts for violent regime change.
What Determines or Should Determine the Price of Commodities?
International trade generally has become entrenched within the collusion and contention of geopolitics, the striving for U.S. hegemony and the parasitism of commodity traders. The prices of basic commodities are routinely considered, at least in vulgar economics, as determined by supply and demand. Writers in the mass media preach that supply and demand determine prices. They declare this wisdom as economics 101, either without giving the matter much thought or deliberately to spread disinformation.
If supply and demand were brought under conscious control then what would determine prices, is a legitimate question that the economics 101 of the mass media and their pundits cannot or refuse to answer. To assert that supply and demand control prices is to say in a flippant manner that anti-consciousness controls thinking and to hide the fact that the imperialists and their monopolies control supply and demand to determine market prices to serve their narrow private interests. Anti-consciousness and control of supply and demand are weapons in the hands of the big powers to dominate the world and crush any independent state that arises to challenge their control.
Prices emerge from the value of a product. Average work-time required to produce the product determines its value. The price of production and a product’s subsequent basic selling price is determined by a formula comprising the three elements of value workers produce: reproduced-value (the portion of new produced value that reproduces the individual and social capacity to work), added-value (the portion of new value claimed by those who own and control the means of production) and transferred-value (the old value contained within the already-produced value of the material and instruments of production consumed in the production process). Prices should reflect and approximate the value of production. This is not the case under geopolitics as is obvious within international trade where anti-consciousness and imperialist dominated trade supply and demand determine market prices to serve their narrow interests to exploit the vast majority of the world’s working people and their resources. Further muddying the water of prices arises from U.S. dollar hegemony over international trade and financial transactions and the pricing of basic commodities in the oppressors’ own money, which they control and manipulate to their advantage and force others to use.
Four leading oil producing states, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar agreed on February 16, to freeze oil production at January levels in an attempt to stop any further slide in the price. The notable exception to the agreement is the U.S., which recently became the largest producer of oil in the world. In spite of the agreement, the Times writes, “Some analysts expect the price slide to continue as there is no sign that perceptions of oversupply will ease and because of factors like the rise of the dollar, which puts pressure on the prices of commodities, including oil.
“‘In an oversupplied market, there is no intrinsic value for crude oil,’ analysts at Morgan Stanley wrote in a note to clients on [February 22]. Assuming continued dollar appreciation, ‘$20-to-$25 oil price scenarios are possible simply due to currency,’ they wrote.”
The price of a currency in relation to other currencies, and by extension to all commodities, represents a quantity of commodities that a unit of the currency can buy. When one currency, in this case the dominant currency the U.S. dollar, rises in price against most other currencies, it means a certain quantity of dollars can be exchanged for more commodities, including more oil, than before the rise. So now it takes two barrels of oil in exchange for a certain number of dollars compared with only one barrel before the dollar strengthened. This puts downward pressure on the prices of commodities in U.S. dollars but increases their price in other currencies relative to the exchange rate with the dollar.
This arrangement and others within the imperialist system of states guarantees that tribute from around the world flows to the big powers, especially the U.S., which explains in part why it can afford a military with advanced weaponry and bases worldwide and navy flotillas threatening everyone, and can finance mercenaries and hooligans to engage in violent regime change and destroy nations wherever the U.S. ruling elite deem necessary.
International trade and the determination of prices have become weapons of the big powers to exercise their hegemony. This leaves countries that want to escape this domination and control with the question of how to withdraw out of the imperialist system of states or at least engage in trade with the big powers with the strictest of restrictions to defend their sovereign economies and their right to be. The sovereign economy takes on a pivotal importance. The sovereign economy is a starting point and any trade must be done to strengthen the sovereign economy and not damage the interests of others, the trading partners. At this historical juncture, to see trade with the big powers, without the strictest of conditions, as a way forward is like a lobster trap with an enticing morsel awaiting inside but imprisonment within the imperialist cage as the result.
Canada was swept up as collateral damage in the geopolitical battle of U.S. imperialism to crush the striving for independence of several oil producing countries. The use of new oil producing technology resulted in a boom in oil production, especially in the U.S., generating a glut worldwide and a 70 per cent drop in crude oil prices over the last 20 months.
The turmoil has already begun throughout the oil producing states. The NYT reports that the reckless gambit to flood the world with oil has even come back to bite the antagonist much like the reckless unleashing of predatory and imperialist war has unforeseen consequences. The newspaper says of the situation within the U.S.: “A reckoning in the nation’s vast oil industry has only just begun. A number of oil companies is low on cash and unable to pay their debt. More broadly, energy executives and their lenders are realizing that a recovery in oil prices is at least a year away, too long for many companies to hold out. Energy executives and their bankers are bracing for a prolonged downturn that could remake the energy industry in a way not seen since the turmoil of the late 1990s gave rise to mega-mergers like Exxon Mobil.
“If prices hold at such low levels as many as 150 oil and gas companies could file for bankruptcy, according to IHS, an energy research firm. Hundreds of other companies that had piled on debt to grow from tiny start-ups into significant players in the nation’s shale oil boom are now likely to be acquired or their assets sold off. As much as a third of the oil industry could be consolidated as a result of the downturn, according to one estimate.
“There are now virtually no wells in the United States profitable to drill. That has forced some companies into a fatal spiral, producing oil simply to satiate their lenders.”
The Times writes, “The oil industry regularly undergoes booms and busts. But the downside of this cycle may prove more extreme, and the shakeout messier, thanks to the easy money that flooded the industry from hedge funds, private equity firms and tax-advantaged investment structures called business development companies. [TML emphasis]
“Energy & Exploration Partners of Fort Worth, for example, borrowed from at least 24 hedge funds to help acquire thousands of acres of land in Texas as oil prices topped $100 a barrel. The company filed for bankruptcy in December, after its lenders could not agree on how to save it.
“As the losses mount, investors and lenders are already laying the groundwork for the rebound, snapping up assets in fire sales and making new loans. But these are uneasy days, even for opportunists. Burned by forecasts that predicted oil would recover last year, many investors fear that they could be too early if they jump in now.
“The industry’s crushing debt load, on average twice as much leverage or borrowed money as companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, is also having some perverse effects. Some oil companies are keeping up production simply to generate enough cash to make debt payments, according to bankers and energy executives. Banks looking to shore up collateral on their loans — which is typically a company’s oil reserves — are requiring producers to drill new wells to prove that their reserves can actually produce the oil.”
The downturn in the U.S. oil sector has been sharp. The Times writes, “Earnings are down for companies that made record profits in recent years, leading them to decommission more than two-thirds of their rigs and sharply cut investment in exploration and production. Scores of companies have gone bankrupt and an estimated 250,000 oil workers have lost their jobs.”
This toll does not include the disruption in interdependent industries such as transportation and steel, which heavily invested in tubular and other oil related production but is now in crisis and facing bankruptcy.
U.S. domestic oil production increased dramatically over the last several years, pushing out oil imports from the U.S. market, which then search elsewhere for buyers. Saudi, Nigerian and Algerian oil that once was sold in the United States now competes at markedly lower prices for Asian markets.
The Times writes, “The world is awash in crude oil, with enough extra produced last year to fuel all of Britain or Thailand.
“A million to two million barrels a day of excess production may not seem like much in a world market that requires 94 million barrels daily. But the amount of daily oversupply in recent months is the largest since oil prices collapsed in the late 1990s. Back then, the price dropped below $10 a barrel, on an inflation-adjusted basis. Oil from new fields flooded the market just as the Asian financial crisis was roiling emerging markets. Most of the glut today can be explained by a near doubling of American domestic oil production since 2008. The shale boom added roughly three million barrels a day to the global market.
“American oil producers are in retreat; companies have decommissioned more than 60 percent of their rigs in the last year or so. Since peaking at 9.7 million barrels a day early last year, domestic oil production has fallen by more than half a million barrels.
“This month (January, 2016), Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, reported that its quarterly earnings fell 58 percent, while Royal Dutch Shell reported a 56 percent decline (last quarter 2015).”
The effect on exploration has been dramatic. The Times writes, “Wood MacKenzie, a consulting firm, identified 68 large oil and natural gas projects worldwide, with a combined value of $380 billion, that have been put on hold around the world since prices started coming down, halting the production of 2.9 million barrels a day.
“Meanwhile, RBC Capital Markets has calculated projects capable of producing more than a half million barrels a day of oil were cancelled, delayed or shelved by OPEC countries alone last year, and this year promises more of the same. But the drop in production is not happening fast enough, especially with output from deep waters off the Gulf of Mexico and Canada continuing to build as new projects come online.
“In the United States, there are now virtually no wells that are profitable to drill. Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and BP have all announced cuts to their payrolls to save cash, and they are in far better shape than many smaller independent oil and gas producers that are slashing dividends and selling assets as they report net losses. States like Alaska, North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are facing economic challenges. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the revenues of Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies will slip by $300 billion this year.”
Noticeably absent from the reports of the Times is any comment on the destructive anarchy of this tactic to flood the world with fracked oil in total disregard for the social and natural consequences. This is shocking to say the least. The use of new technology not to serve the well-being of humanity but to destroy competitors and further the aim of U.S. hegemony to rule the world is obvious both in the economy and warfare and is a serious indictment of the U.S. ruling elite.
The Times refuses to see what it does not want to see: all these problems it describes as afterthoughts were certainly knowable as forethoughts if a different aim were in place. Instead of striving for hegemony, how about striving to meet the needs of the people and humanize the social and natural environment? But is that not asking a tiger to become a lamb or rather an imperialist obsessed with self to become an enlightened worker with social consciousness?
The total global annual production of crude oil is well known. The total global annual demand for crude oil is also well known. Why then would the U.S. imperialists throw millions of barrels per day of newly produced crude oil into the global market place in a very short span of time using controversial new technology with dangerous environmental and other consequences? They knew many long-term projects for crude oil production were already well underway in the Gulf of Mexico and Canada’s oil sands. The increase in global supply of crude oil by those large projects was well known. They also knew that efforts were underway worldwide to reduce the consumption of crude oil and replace it with other forms of energy.
The U.S. imperialists knew the consequences of throwing millions of barrels of newly produced oil onto the market would be devastating not only for certain oil producing countries but also eventually for those investors in new production in the United States. Then why did they do it other than as an act of economic warfare to serve their striving for world hegemony, similar in some ways to reckless U.S. predatory wars and forcible regime change and the gruesome predictable consequences of such actions such as the collateral damage of civilian deaths, millions of refugees and destruction of the civilizations and their social and natural environment. The U.S. ruling elite accept these consequences as somehow normal and worthwhile as long as their aim for hegemony is served in the end. The U.S. imperialists are engaged in a world war for hegemony and are prepared to accept the risks because they believe their goal of world domination is worth whatever catastrophes they cause to accomplish their aim. This is the full degeneracy of U.S. pragmatism that acts without principles, especially modern principles.
The consequences of hydraulic fracturing and millions of barrels of newly produced crude oil did not take long to materialize. Boom towns emerged in Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere. Railcar shipping of fracked oil resulted in increasing frequency of accidents culminating in the devastating explosion and destructive fire in Lac Mégantic, Quebec killing 47 people.
Soon, the trading parasites went into full gear selling oil short, and the market price collapsed worldwide. The economies of Venezuela, Brazil and Russia suffered an enormous loss in oil export revenue. The excess oil had nowhere to go except into storage as sales worldwide remained at the 94 million daily barrels while production climbed well beyond. The shutdown of shale oil production began, along with the calling of debt, bankruptcy and buyout of the smaller producers as described in the Times‘ excerpts. But as the Times says threateningly, shale oil production can begin anew quite quickly if the price of oil rises beyond $40.
The economic system based on socialized production but private ownership and appropriation worldwide results in recurring economic crises. Imperialist collusion and contention and geopolitical disputes and wars intensify the problems as economic warfare remains constant. The world has overwhelmed the forces of petty production with advanced forces of production and is in urgent need of renewal with a new direction and relations amongst the people to bring those new forces of production under the people’s conscious control with a modern aim to defend the rights of all, ensure their well-being and humanize the social and natural environment.
Manipulation of Trade
Manipulation of trade is done in the context of geopolitics. New technology acts in concert with advanced military weaponry and espionage services to force regime change to favour the dominant big powers and the narrow private interests of their monopolies. This can be seen with hydraulic fracturing to bring the oil industry under imperialist domination and with the Uber app to destroy and steal the taxi business and force transportation tribute to flow to California. International trade under the domination of the monopolies and geopolitics does not in any way favour the people and their economic development. A new direction is needed, which requires depriving the big powers and their monopolies of their domination of international trade and the economies of the peoples of the world.
The starting point for an economy is to first get a handle on it and make it viable at whatever level has been reached in the context of the victory of industrial mass production over petty production. The people have to bring the change under conscious control. The starting point cannot be international trade because global trade at this time is dominated by the big powers and their monopolies and narrow geopolitical interests. The world has reached a tipping point in global trade and all the old myths beginning with mercantilism that international trade would lead spontaneously to efficiency in use of resources and workers worldwide have been exploded and are in tatters.
The control and domination of the global monopolies and the competition and collusion they unleash including wars to protect and expand their control have brought the people to a precipice threatening their very right to be and survive. The people must deprive the imperialists of their control over international trade and their sovereign economies and escape the iron grip of geopolitics. The internal problems people face in terms of transforming their economies from petty production to industrial mass production must be confronted and resolved through their own efforts. This begins by depriving the big powers of interfering with those efforts to sort out the difficulties involved with the transition. A new direction is necessary and the peoples are capable of finding that direction but they must negate their negation from solving problems that stems from the domination and control of the big powers and their monopolies.
The current situation of geopolitics in trade has become so absurd and incoherent that Canadians and the people in the U.S., Europe and Japan are supposed to support making their monopolies competitive on the global market and willingly accept free trade dominated by the monopolies. But then, when those same monopolies, so fervently demanding support to be competitive including even with public funds, turn out not to be competitive, then the people are supposed to support measures to defend their monopolies and block their global competitors from entering the home market.
Collusion and competition amongst the monopolies can quickly turn to angry words, chauvinism and warfare. Big power chauvinism leading to war stands in opposition to building a pro-social self-reliant economy with the diversity and stability to stand on its own without the interdependent different parts of the economy competing internally and externally. This means public right must curtail monopoly right and the broad public interest must take precedence over narrow private interests. This means the modern interrelated socialised economy must be consciously recognized as such. All the nonsense and remnants of petty production based on private ownership and control of parts of the economy, which are now wholly interrelated and interdependent within the socialized economy, must be discarded.
To make headway in a new direction and solve the problems of bringing the new forces of industrial mass production under conscious control, the peoples of the world have to defend their sovereignty and right to be under all conditions. This means basing their actions on analysis and modern principles. With regard to international trade, the modern principle is that trade with others must benefit the self-reliant domestic economy and not harm it or harm the interests of the trading partner. Trading prices must be determined by prices of production taking into consideration the concrete conditions of the two countries involved and their differences. This means prices determined for trade must be adjusted so that the exchange and realization reflect the prices of production of the trading partners without going through a currency not connected with the transaction, such as the U.S. currency or any currency for that matter.
The modern forces of production demand social consciousness and the people’s empowerment to bring them under control, not the obscurantism and autocracy that dominated petty production. The people can begin at home with what they know and bring their domestic economy under sovereign control. Upholding the human factor/social consciousness and controlling what is known, soon opens a path to discover what is not known and what the people do not know that they do not know.
Abstracting absence must become the norm, but for this conscious action to thrive the people need empowerment and control; they need their own nation-building project under their control to affirm their right to be; they need to deprive the imperialists of the power to negate the rights of the people and block them from taking a new pro-social direction.
What does mutual benefit in international trade mean? As it stands, the big powers that dominate international trade steal added-value from the exporting countries. It is not much different from the old colonial methods of stealing and demanding tribute under threat of annihilation. Aside from direct ownership of means of production and taking out added-value directly, forcing tribute through trade is done mostly through the price and the currency exchange.
For example, Wal-Mart buys goods from Vietnam at a price of production established in Vietnam. The domestic price of production includes the already-produced inputs from material and machinery, which is the transferred-value. The transferred-value plus the new value workers produce all include rates of exploitation higher than in the United States, Europe, Japan and Canada. The transaction is calculated and realized in U.S. dollars, which means whatever price of production exists in Vietnamese currency is changed to the more powerful U.S. currency, which means the price falls yet again.
Even though the work-time necessary to produce the goods is similar in both the importing big power and the exporting dominated country, the prices of production in the dominated exporting country are substantially lower. The difference in prices of production, which is mostly a consequence of lower reproduced-value (wages and benefits) and lower added-value (the profit claimed in the exporting country) realized within the exporting country, is seized by the importing big power as tribute.
The rate of exploitation is a ratio between reproduced-value (wages and benefits) and added-value (profit). The added-value in unequal trade is passed on to the importing big power or seized directly if the facility is owned outside the country. The higher the added-value in relation to reproduced-value (both individual and social reproduced-value) the greater the rate of exploitation. The goods are purchased in the exporting country at a market price with a low reproduced-value and low added-value relative to the importing big power. The value of the goods priced in the exporting country compared with the importing country is low even though the actual value in work-time is approximately the same wherever produced where industrial mass production is involved.
The actual value of the imported good is determined by the average work-time necessary for workers to produce the good but the price of production is determined within the exporting economy. The difference in the price between the two countries as determined by the differences in the prices of production and its real added-value is seized by the importing country and distributed either as profits for Wal-Mart or lower prices for its customers.
The difference in the price is compounded by the fact that much of the value embedded within the good is put there through state-organized social and material infrastructure at local prices of production. The lack of return on the trade of goods inhibits the development of the weaker countries. This is most sharply evident in Africa.
The rate of exploitation and prices of production vary amongst countries and must be taken into account in international trade, especially the price of traded goods if trade for mutual benefit is to have any practical meaning. The central point being that added-value must stay in the producing country and not be seized through international trade. This means importing countries must want the good because it complements the sovereign economy and not because the importing country wants to steal added-value from the exporting country. Special consideration has to be extended to developing countries so that their economies are strengthened through trade and not weakened. Trade must also eliminate the U.S. dollar in transactions and find other ways than currency exchange to realize trade.
As all countries develop and move from petty production to self-reliant industrial mass production with the working class claiming and controlling an ever larger portion of the new value individually and increasingly socially, international trade should decrease in mass manufactured consumer goods and means of production, and revolve mostly around natural resources not widely found on earth, agricultural products and other goods of a particular national quality.
(With files from a series of articles in the New York Times. Photos: TML, F. Chowdury, A. Dubois, Ottawa Act)