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2. Imperialism delaying the development of productive forces in the colonies
The profoundly negative impact of imperialist enslavement on the development of colonial and semi-colonial countries is striking at the first glance with the course of development and the state of the national economy, with the level of industrial and agricultural production, with the standard of living of the population and with the cultural state of any enslaved country.
Reality categorically refutes all sorts of theories of decolonization put forward by some apologists for imperialism. Of course, the imperialists, in their own interests, developed the mining industry in the colonies. They also created some manufacturing enterprises. But the pace and scale of this "construction" only confirms the fact that the colonies, as a rule, remain agricultural appendages of their imperialist metropolises with raw materials.
Taking advantage of their political dominance, the lack of customs independence of the colonies and semi-colonies, and all their economic might, the imperialist monopolies deliberately hampered the development of heavy industry in these countries.
Only in certain periods, when the imperialist countries were not able to fully exert their influence on the economic development of certain Asian countries, or when, for special military reasons, they were in dire need of semi-finished products of heavy industry and weapons, did some colonies and semi-colonies develop to a certain extent heavy industry. In the same periods, light and mining industries developed with a little more success than under normal conditions.
So, during the First World War, the industrial development of India, Indonesia, and China made a definite leap. In the Japanese colonies - Manchuria, Korea, Taiwan - the military industries developed during the preparations for the war against the USSR, China, and other countries and in the first years of the war (30s and early 40s). Japanese imperialism was in dire need of industrial products for military purposes and, in accordance with its strategic plans, was creating a military-industrial base on the mainland.
But monopoly capital not only delayed the industrialization of the colonies and semi-colonies, supporting the power of the feudal lords and landowners and creating the appropriate economic conditions, it preserved feudal vestiges in the social system and in the agriculture of these countries - the political domination of the feudal lords, semi-feudal land ownership, rent-tax, rent in kind in the amount of 40-70% of the crop, usury, semi-serf and even slave labor. This circumstance has played no less important role in the maintenance of extremely low living standards and painful conditions of existence in the oppressed countries than the delay in their industrialization, for the overwhelming majority of the population of these countries earn their livelihood in agriculture.
Both in China and in Indonesia, Indochina, in all colonial and semi-colonial countries, from year to year one could observe thousands of facts confirming that “Capitalism has grown into a worldwide system of colonial oppression and financial strangulation by a handful of “advanced” countries of the gigantic majority population of the earth" (1).
In industry and in other branches of the colonial economy, an extremely high level of exploitation and an extremely low, colonial standard of living for the working masses have always been preserved.
The imperialist countries, flooding colonial markets with their products and suppressing handicrafts and domestic industry in the colonies and semi-colonies, created in them a huge surplus of labor, as a result of which wages often fell below the value of labor power, which in turn contributed to delaying industrialization. In pursuit of maximum profit, the capitalists act as reactionaries in the development of new technology and often switch to manual labor. “Capitalism stands for new technology when it promises it the greatest profits. Capitalism stands against new technology and for the transition to manual labor when the new technology no longer promises the greatest profits. ”In the colonies and semi-colonies, an excess of labor and wages below the value of labor power very often make the use of machines superfluous from the point of view of capital and often even impossible, that’s how the capitalists get the maximum profit by using the most primitive technique and manual labor.
During and after the Second World War, the imperialist (2 ) and semi-feudal exploitation of the working masses of the colonial countries intensified especially living conditions deteriorated sharply as a result of the decline in agricultural and industrial production in most of the colonies and semi-colonies of Southeast Asia.
By 1947-1948 in almost all of these agrarian countries, the area under crops has been significantly reduced in comparison with the pre-war period, and harvests have dropped even more. According to data published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East, in 1947 the harvest of rice - this "bread of Asia" - reached only 61% of the combined harvest for 1935-1939 in occupied Indo-China, 72 in Malaya, in Indonesia - 78, in Thailand - 95%.
How much the food situation has deteriorated in the colonial world of Asia can be seen from the following more general data published by the Economic Review for 1948. While in South and East Asia, with a population of more than one billion people, the population in 1948 increased by approximately 10% compared with pre-war, the harvest in the same year (when it increased compared to 1947) was generally lower than pre-war by 4% (3). But in the "Review" data on the harvest in 1948 in a number of Asian countries (for example, in Kuomintang China, Indonesia) are exaggerated. In fact, the harvest as a whole in the entire group of Asian countries was about 10% lower than before the war.
According to American data, in Indonesia in 1948 the rice harvest did not exceed 75% of the pre-war level, the corn harvest - 60%, and the tapioca harvest - one of the most important local food products - 30% (4) .
According to the same Economic Review, the rice harvest in Burma and Indochina in 1948 and 1949 amounted to about 80% of the pre-war; tea in Indonesia in 1948 was collected 12 thousand tons against 77 thousand tons of the average harvest before the war. A number of agrarian colonial countries of Asia in 1947-1951. imported rice, wheat, flour, maize and other grains from America, whereas before the war, the average total export of rice from these countries was 1.7 million tons per year. Cotton in all Asian countries in 1948 was produced, according to the "Review", 13% less than pre-war, but since the "Review" contains exaggerated data regarding China, in fact, cotton was produced hardly more than 75% pre-war.
The number of livestock has dwindled everywhere. Working livestock - horses, bulls, buffaloes - in most countries of Southeast Asia, even in 1947-1948. only 70-85% of the pre-war number remained. Livestock in most countries and in 1950-1951. did not reach pre-war levels.
Industrial production dropped sharply. In Indonesia in 1947, the output of the manufacturing industry reached only 30% of the pre-war level. In Indo-China, coal mining in 1946-1951. remains within 10-20% of the 1939 level. In Malaya, iron mines did not work at all until 1950. Almost no oil was produced in Burma, lead and zinc production was in 1947-1951. insignificant.
(1) V. I. Lenin, Soch., vol. 22, p. 179.
(2) J. V. Stalin, Economic problems of socialism in the USSR, p. 40.
(3) Economist Survey, 1948, p. XV.
(4) "Far Eastern Survey" No. 18, 1948.