A Marshall plan for Ukraine?

The Great Recession of 2008-9 was a turning point for the US global strategy.  Up to then, the general aim was to ‘engage’ important economic powers like Russia and China.  Throughout the 1990s onwards, the US government pressed for the opening-up of their economies to multi-nationals and banks from the ‘West’.  These economies would then grow and trade, but in doing so also provide the global profits expansion that US imperialism needed as domestic profitability began to slip.  ‘Globalisation’ would take advantage of cheap labour and new markets in China and the rest of the Global South which had expanded sharply from the early 1980s, under this policy of ‘engagement’.  It was no accident that the World Bank published a report in 2013 calling on China to move quickly to a full ‘market economy’.

But the Great Recession changed all that.  It became clear to the US strategists that, while globalisation brought extra profit, it also led to much faster economic expansion of countries like Russia, China and east Asia.  The problem here was it was becoming clear that the likes of China and Russia (but particularly China) were not prepared to play ball with American imperialism and its multi-nationals.  Russia sought to link up with Europe and separate it off from the UK and the US; while China sought to rival the US in technology and spread its influence throughout the global south.  US capitalism plunged during the Great Recession and the advanced capitalist economies crawled along afterwards during the Long Depression of the 2010s.  Meanwhile, China grew rapidly and Russia also built up its energy and mineral exports.  This was too much.  Something had to be done to put these rival economic powers in their place.  ‘Engagement’ was dropped for ‘containment’.

Under the Trump administration, the US sought to isolate China with tariffs and bans on Chinese goods and companies.  It insisted that Europe start paying for an expansion of NATO and arms in Europe.  Under Biden, that policy was extended to back any pro-West and nationalist parties against Russia.  The aim to was to include in NATO all countries along Russia’s borders, most of which were keen to take advantage of supposed economic prosperity from the European Union and ‘protection’ by NATO from Russian control.  This has culminated in the Ukraine conflict.

Ukraine is now being destroyed by Russian bombing and arms.  Thousands have died, millions have been displaced and/or fled the country.  The economic base of the country is being annihilated.  Before the war, Ukraine was already a very poor country with a real GDP of just $160bn.  Before this war is over – and it looks like lasting years, not weeks or months any more – that GDP is going to be halved at least. 

Ukrainian sources estimate the cost of restoring infrastructure: financing the war effort (ammunition, weapons, etc.); losses of housing stock, commercial real estate, compensation for death and injury, resettlement costs, income support, etc.) and lost current and future income at from $500 billion to $1,000 billion.  The World Bank estimates that Ukraine’s produced capital stock per capita in 2014 was approximately $25,000, which amounts to approximately $1.1 trillion at the aggregate level. Early reports by government officials and business leaders suggest that 30-50% of that capital stock has been destroyed or severely damaged. Assuming 40% destruction, the cost stands at $440 billion.  In addition, on the assumption of a cost of €10,000 per refugee (per year), the cost of financing 5 million refugees for one year is €50bn, or 0.35% EU GDP.  So to restore the Ukraine economy and rebuild is likely to cost $500bn minimum, say over the next five years.  That’s about 1.0% of EU GDP per year or 0.75% of G7 GDP – at a minimum.

Will the West in its wisdom decide that it is worth spending that sort of money to fund Ukraine’s war effort indefinitely, supporting its population and rebuilding the country as a NATO bulwark against Russia?  It looks like it.  Ukraine is becoming the touchstone of the US global containment policy.  Already US President Biden is pushing US Congress to agree to $33bn in support of Ukraine.  But he is refusing to cancel or reduce student debt that has now reached $1.8trn. International policy is more important that helping American youth to get an education.

For example, here’s what Martin Sandbu, the Keynesian columnist in the FT, said: “the EU, which should shoulder the bulk of this (and support radical debt relief for Kyiv as with post-war Germany) should not see this as an expense. EU companies will be contracted for infrastructure, housebuilding, transport and more — but should transfer skills and technology to Ukrainians.  Beyond this, it is an investment in Europe’s values and its security. It would bring 44mn people firmly inside the liberal democratic fold and into the social market economy — a historic achievement to rival the continent’s post-cold war reunification and the Marshall Plan itself.

Will the US and Europe go further and opt for what might be called a Marshall Plan for Ukraine?  The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative enacted in 1948 to provide foreign aid to Western Europe. The initiative was named after United States Secretary of State George C. Marshall.  The US transferred over $13 billion in economic recovery programs to Western European economies after the end of WW2. The aims was to rebuild war-torn regions, remove trade barriers for US multi-nationals, modernize industry, improve European prosperity, and so prevent the spread of communism  George Marshall’s stated goal in his 1947 speech was “to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist”.

How does the Marshall Plan compare with the cost of an aid plan for Ukraine?  Well, $13bn in 1948 was about 1.1% of US GDP then and is equivalent to about $130bn now.  So any Marshall Plan for Ukraine would have to deliver double that, as shared between the US and Europe.  The 1948 plan was composed of both outright grants and loans. The aid accounted for about 3% of the combined GDP of the recipient countries between 1948 and 1951, which meant an increase in GDP growth of less than half a percent.  Ukraine will need much more. 

What really revived Europe’s capitalist economies from 1948 was not so much the Marshall Plan, but the opening-up of US and European markets to Europe’s industries, which could expand based on very cheap and plentiful labour after the war and the ability to purchase the latest technology.  Is that the way forward for a weak and destroyed Ukraine?  Only if Ukrainians can live on extremely low wages and expect little in the way of public services, while Ukraine’s capitalists (who used to be called ‘oligarchs’) and US and Europe’s multi-nationals take over Ukraine’s natural resource base.

But It seems that the US (and Europe more reluctantly) are prepared to stump up the cash to get Ukraine fully restored as a pro-West state in order to weaken Putin’s Russia.  Most historians reckon that the political gains for capitalism after 1945 from the Marshall Plan were even more important than the direct economic ones.  Europe was kept safe from Communism.  Indeed, the CIA received 5% of the Marshall Plan funds (about $685 million spread over six years), which it used to finance secret operations abroad. Through the Office of Policy Coordination, money was directed toward support for pro-business labour unions, and anti-Communist newspapers, student groups, artists and intellectuals. 

In an analysis of the Marshall Plan, Keynesians Bradford DeLong and Barry Eichengreen concluded that: “It was not large enough to have significantly accelerated recovery by financing investment, aiding the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, or easing commodity bottlenecks. We argue, however, that the Marshall Plan did play a major role in setting the stage for post-World War II Western Europe’s rapid growth. The conditions attached to Marshall Plan aid pushed European political economy in a direction that left its post-World War II “mixed economies” with more “market” and less “controls” in the mix

As for Ukraine, it is not the end of the cost for the West.  The US is now insisting that Europe break with the use of Russian oil and gas.  Phasing that out even as fast as the end of this year is going to cost Europe in higher energy prices and lower supply.  That will take perhaps another 0.5% of GDP out of the European economy, which is already heading towards a recession.  Inevitably that will force governments to expand their spending, both on weapons to meet new NATO commitments and on ‘butter’ if unemployment rises. 

Again, this is at a time when government debt to GDP in most economies is at its highest since the Marshall Plan began.  According to the IMF, global government debt to GDP stands at 97%, up 20% just from 2017 and is forecast still to be way higher in 2027 than in 2019 before the COVID pandemic hit.  In the advanced capitalist economies, government debt to GDP was over 120% in 2020, with US gross debt at 134%.  If you include private sector debt, then global debt reached 290% of GDP in 2021, up 40% from 2001.  And the IMF forecast for 2027 does not take into account a Marshall Plan for Ukraine and the NATO build-up. 

Source: BIS

There is big price ahead for working people in the West to pay for saving Ukraine from Russian domination and opening up the country to Western multi-nationals.  But it seems to the strategists of capital that it is a price worth paying by the working people of Europe and the US, with more costs to come in dealing with China over the rest of this decade.

Of course, the burden of funding Ukraine could be reduced if the Western powers order the seizure of Russian FX reserves held abroad as reparations for Ukraine – that might be worth some $400bn.  But then that would be another step up the ladder towards outright confrontation with resisting powers like China.  No wonder this week Chinese leaders discussed how to protect their $3trn of FX reserves from seizure by the Western powers.

34 thoughts on “A Marshall plan for Ukraine?

  1. The US can’t even keep itself afloat never mind refloat other economies. In the 1950s the US share of global manufactures was over 50%, today just 10% when measured by a basket of currencies. In the 1950s the transition from a war economy to a civilian one created huge overcapacity which the Marshall Plan helped remedy. These days, as the GDP figures for the first quarter showed, where imports overwhelmed exports, the US is no longer the producer of the last resort, China is. More a case of shoring up the US economy rather than re-shoring. I am somewhat bemused by an economy which claims to have $1.1 trillion in produced assets but generates only $160 billion in output. This ratio of 6.9x is about twice the figure normally found.

    1. UCBP,

      The first thing you have to remember is that China and Russia would be nothing without western markets, capital and technology.

      The second thing to remember is that the US is the most powerful economy on the planet. It need not be the biggest.

      Gloating over the demise of US industry will strand you in a gleeful quagmire. The US can re-industrialize at will. Now more than ever there is the geostrategic imperative to deglobalize. It will also solve many domestic political problems. This will invigorate US capitalism.

      It will be China and Russia who will have to kling to each other to prosper. For the Chinese economy to continue to prosper it will have to internalize, thus raising its internal cost structure and making it less internationally competitive, adding to the pressures brought by the ongoing denial to it of western markets as the geostrategic situation deteriorates.

      1. Henry I tend to see the USA in the following way using the body as an analogy. It is obsese with fictitious capital clogging its arteries, its limbs are ulcerated due to de-industrialization, it has outsize fists (military) but its head is alert and functioning. Alongside China its intellect is world class. What was, was. I focus on two items of engineering, jet engines and chip lithography, because they are the two most complex and inticrate pieces of engineering. In the former China has caught up and in the latter it is two years away.

        More importantly from the point of view of the international working class the whole capitalist system globally is wobbling. Unlike 2008 there are no reserves left in the system.

      2. “The US can re-industrialize at will.”

        And Hank Rech can make unsupported assertions at will, I see.

        “Now more than ever there is the geostrategic imperative to deglobalize. It will also solve many domestic political problems. This will invigorate US capitalism.”

        Capitalism is an inherently global system. The intense globalization of the neoliberal era was necessitated by the dynamics of the capitalist system, particularly by the sinking rate of profit which forced western capitalists to seek cheap labor abroad as well as markets. Insofar as capitalism is forced to “deglobalize” for political reasons this will be disastrous for modern capitalism which relies on a highly complex, global and hierarchical division of labor which cannot be replicated on nearly the same scale if restricted to the “west” without access to natural resources, labor and markets in the so-called third world if the rate of profit is not to plummet.

      3. UCBP,

        A great of energy has been devoted to managing fictitious capital. I don’t quite see FC as clogging veins but as accumulated abdominal fat. The US can refocus it’s attention and put this fat to use. It’s one of the features, along with its capitalistic nature, that makes it the most powerful economy on the planet – not what it does now but what it can do given the appropriate circumstances.

        What is holding the US back is extreme political and social division. At the base of that has been globalization. Globalization has allowed US capitalists and the service providing classes to prosper and the working class to fall way behind. If the inequities in the US are not addressed, and they can be, then I would agree, the US is finished as a viable society.

        And how the state of Chinese technology is relevant to the US I cannot see. The US does not need China. It is China that needs the US, at the moment at least, but the Chinese will move their economy away from export orientation. They will be forced to. And any technology they are deficient in they will continue to “borrow” from the West.

      4. You need to get your head out of the sand and stop overestimating your relevance. The world doesn’t need the US that much nor does China need it. Most of the world depends on products manufactured in the third world. The west is mainly selling weapons & destruction around the world and blabbing about ‘freedom’ & ‘democracy’ which no one buys anymore. It’s not the 50s anymore cowboy, no one needs you.

      5. Sami Bd,

        “You need to get your head out of the sand and stop overestimating your relevance. ”

        Firstly, I’m not an American.

        I would agree the West depends on products coming from the third world, mainly China.

        If the political will exists, that could be changed virtually overnight. The geostrategic imperative certainly exists. If the West decided to shut out China from its markets, and it is happening, then China is toast and the Chinese know it. That’s partly why they will internalize their economy.

      6. luisgac,

        “…it cannot be denied that the United States is an imperialist country in relative decline…

        The key word is “relative”. It is in relative decline because countries like Chinese have large populations and have had exceptional growth. The US is still an absolute economic powerhouse. It still has unrivaled technological capacity and a reservoir of managerial skills. It has deep financial markets.

        Take for instance Intel Corp. It has recently announced it is investing ten of billions of dollars in new chip manufacturing plants in the US and Europe. The US is at the centre of electric vehicle manufacture. Etc. etc..

        “…So right now the United States simply doesn’t have the labor reserves to “re-industrialize at will.”…”

        This is patently incorrect. The US has enormous underemployment. There are millions of south and central Americans clamouring to get into the US.

        “The rise of China in the world economy should not be underestimated either.”

        What has that got to do with the fate of the US? China runs the risk of being an international pariah just as is Russia now. China can be progressively shut out of the West as the West sees fit. Given 30 – 40% of China’s economy is dependent on the West this would, momentarily at least, incapacitate China. China and Russia may hitch up, as they appear to have done, to support each other economically and strategically. If China is not careful and it continues to project military/strategic power in directions unwanted by the West, then its economic relationships with the West will be shut down at a rate convenient to the West.

      7. Henry Rech,
        The problem with your reasoning, to call it something, is that you simply do not measure the cost of the economic policies that you propose. That is magical economic thinking, like the one that dominates the politics of the European Union today. The idea that the “West” can simply “contain” countries like Russia and China with sanctionism (cutting off access to their markets) without suffering loss is magical economic thinking. For example, let’s say that the imperialist countries definitively cancel Russian oil and gas. The problem is that the current market rate for Russian oil and gas happened for a reason. If there were competitors that were cheaper than the Russians to produce gas and oil, and on a sufficient scale, they would have already displaced them from the market long ago. Therefore, Europe will have to spend more to obtain, in the best of cases, the same as before. Costs will increase more than prices and, even more so, in the world market, where they will have to fit profit cuts to stay in the market (for example in competition with the Chinese). And what goes for gas and oil goes for the vast majority of Russian raw materials. It is not rational to buy more expensive inputs. The value added by workers in these economies would remain unchanged, but the value of the constant capital consumed would increase and thus the prices of production.
        Yes, the United States could benefit from the worsening of the terms of competitiveness of European capital. But do not forget that the collapse would significantly harm the United States, not only through the fall of its exports, but also the same American companies that produce in Europe. Have you not paid attention to the aforementioned fact that the United States runs a surplus on its primary income account despite having a negative net international investment position? Don’t you understand that thanks to this it partially compensates its gigantic balance of trade deficit? So what? In the magical world of Henry Rech you can imagine any economic policy and it will cost zero.
        In the magical world of Henry Rech, empirical evidence does not matter either. He will say that Chinese industry is more reliant on US inputs, even though the share of Chinese inputs in US manufacturing output was double the share of US inputs in Chinese manufacturing output in 2015.
        In the magical world of Henry Rech, absolute advantages, that is, the lowest intrasectoral relative cost price, last forever. It will then ignore the fact that the US trade balance over the last 40 years shows that capital operating in that value space has been accumulating ever more absolute disadvantages.
        In the magical world of Henry Rech, Chinese industry’s efforts to compete in high-tech sectors, which forced the United States to resort to protectionism and sanctions (the losers’ recourse), are of no importance. For Henry Rech, China’s participation in the world economy is based purely on a depreciated currency in real terms and on a larger scale of production to compensate for the labor productivity gap. In fact, he says that China’s rise is irrelevant to US. “What have you got to do with the fate of the US?” asks our naive henry rech. He has a lot to do with it because the general laws of capitalist accumulation are imposed worldwide thanks to the necessary mediation of international capital competition: more profits for Chinese companies may be less profits for US companies.
        “The key word is “relative”. Of course, why do you think I say that American power should not be underestimated or overestimated? Because even though it is declining relative to the world economy (and China in particular) , still maintains certain absolute advantages in key technological sectors. Moreover, I believe that the situation of the United States is that of a hegemonic power “in relative decline without relief in the imperialist world”. The European project is not sustained because Germany is a capitalism of a toy without an army, and Japan is dragging through a long semi-stagnation. The difference between you and me is that for me the absolute advantages that the United States still retains are not forever and are strongly questioned in the long term. Otherwise, I would not resort to sanctionism or protectionism. The free market policy is the most pro-capitalist policy that can be conceived, but historically the imperialist countries reject it when they observe that and their positions are threatened. This leads me to ask: on what do you base the idea of the eternal absolute advantages of the United States? Is it a matter of faith or a kind of supremacist ideology?
        With regard to the question of manpower reserves, it is evident that you did not understand anything. What I said is that BEFORE you raise the viability of the reindustrialization of the United States, you have to generate a historically higher level of profitability. Why? Well, because given the current average social rate of profit in the United States, it is simply not possible to produce much more than what is currently produced. Again, if a higher level of investment, production, and labor productivity in the United States were profitable, that level would already be occurring. Which doesn’t happen. But to rebuild profitability you need to devalue means of production and workforce. Above all, you need to destroy unproductive capital, which would give you more available labor without the need to resort, in a first phase, to the international labor reserves that you mention.
        The question of profitability brings me to the last point. Henry Rech says: “What is holding the US back is extreme political and social division.” I fully understand why you don’t understand the issue of profitability. It is that you are simply an underconsumer who thinks that excessive inequality in terms of income distribution generates a demand gap. The problem is that the underconsumerist theory of crises is neither logically nor empirically supported. Therefore, the position you defend is that of social imperialism: the crises of capitalism occur because imperialism does not distribute its benefits to the workers and gaps in demand are generated. It is the typical position of the average social democrat of the average imperialist country.

      8. Luis. Much as I understand your need to spell out the arguments this comment is way too long and also discussions by and with Henry rech are getting too long and sometimes disrespectful. And that applies to rech too. All please desist from here on.

      9. Yes, Michael, you are right. I think the different positions were clear, so there is nothing more to say. Thanks and sorry for the excess.

      10. “And that applies to rech too.”

        I beg your pardon Michael, but where have I been disrespectful?

    2. My view with respect to the hegemonic position of the United States in the world economy in general and with respect to the other imperialist countries and the so-called emerging powers in particular is that both underestimation and overestimation should be avoided.
      There should be no denying the fact that the United States remains the “centre of imperialist power centers.” In fact, the US economy is much larger than its share of world output and trade would suggest. I think Tony Norfield’s “world power index” exempts me from further comment. It is also interesting how the United States with a debtor net international investment position manages to have persistent surpluses in its primary income account (which partially manages to cover the hole that the balance of goods generates in its current account). As Tony explains, the answer is simple: not all assets yield the same and direct investment stock tends to yield more than a US treasury bond. Precisely I live in a country (Argentina) where exactly the opposite occurs: it is a country with a positive net investment position (the Argentine bourgeoisie tends to under-invest and internationally transfer surplus value) but which generally obtains deficits in its primary income account, due to partly because it is an economy dominated by transnational companies (imperialist capital) that logically pay their dividends to their parent companies. US companies alone would produce 20% of GDP and 23% of exports. Finally, I think there is no need to explain the privileges derived from printing “world money”, which is already known to all.
      On the other hand, it cannot be denied that the United States is an imperialist country in relative decline, as suggested by its falling share of production and international trade. The huge deficits it accumulates both at the current account level and at the public administration level are also a strong indicator of decline. And the entire house of cards will hold as long as the rest of the countries (or the vast majority) buy, borrow and pay debts in dollars and, therefore, accumulate reserves in that currency.
      “The US can re-industrialize at will.” It’s a really funny phrase. Are you a comedian like Volodymyr Oleksandrovych? It is something similar to what Trump thought. But the reality is that if the United States’ share of global manufacturing output has trended downward over the last 60 years, it is because it is more profitable to produce in other countries. Especially for US transnationals. It may be that the United States can compete in terms of labor costs with Western Europe and (perhaps) Japan, but certainly not with the rest of the non-imperialist world. In addition, in recent times the low profitability and consequent low accumulation rate has generated a slow growth in labor productivity which, in turn, has led before the pandemic crisis to the lowest unemployment rate in last 40 years. So right now the United States simply doesn’t have the labor reserves to “re-industrialize at will.” It should generate a significant technological leap to achieve that. But for that you need first to get rid of zombie companies, devalorize strongly the stock of capital and destroy improductive capital. In the transition it will have to endure high unemployment rates and therefore profound social crises.
      The rise of China in the world economy should not be underestimated either. It is true that originally the imperialist plan consisted of transferring industries with a low or medium organic composition of capital to the countries of the capitalist periphery in order to take advantage of their enormous reserves of cheap labor. It is part of the struggle of imperialist capital against the downward trend of economic growth that has dragged on for 50/60 years and that is explained by Marx’s law of profitability. The problem is that some countries (China in the first place) seem not to be satisfied with this participation in the “imperialist division of labour” and have been accelerating their industrialization process towards more complex phases (high technical composition of capital, skilled labor , scientifically creative work, etc.) Just look at the growing participation of that country in the production of new patents.
      Finally, “deglobalization” (actually slowing it down) has historically never been good news for capitalism. It was always accompanied by deep crises and wars. And today world war is equal to MAD.

      1. Luis,

        Thanks for your comments. I can’t see the problem with you making them.

        However, I do believe you have missed the point entirely on deglobalization.

      2. Both your position and mine have already been made completely clear. So, as Michael said, let’s move on.

  2. Dear Michael.
    I was expecting a much better pronouncement than this one over Ukraine, but I see that mass propaganda in favor of American imperialism seems to be indelibly penetrated in your veins.
    First compare what is left in Ukraine with what is left in after second-war Europe is absurd.
    Ukraine has been losing its intellectual and material capacity for two decades and what was left in terms of intellectual capacity will definitely be drained to the large imperialist countries, what will be left will be exactly in the independent republics.
    France at the end of the second war was much of the physical and intellectual heritage.
    The Germany that suffered the most in terms of losses continued with its high-qualification industrial proletariat and only emigrated to the uses of the weaponry sectors and hundreds of former agents of the repression forces and these two groups were perfectly integrated in the American state (Like Japanese “medical scientists”).
    That is, with highly qualified manpower working for a plate of food, it is easy with foreign capital to recompose a small continent like Europe without its poorest part that stayed with the Russians.
    The funds for what is called “Marshall Plan” came from Europe itself through the transfer of resources from the former colonial Potence, which in turn enriched for over a century of India’s drainage.
    What is the ability to reproduce this fanciful “Marshall Plan” in Ukraine?
    First: As long as this war continues, no capitalist with more than two neurons in the head will invest in anything other than human trafficking and smuggling with weapons.
    Second, when the war ends Ukraine will be so devastated that it will have no attractiveness other than the use of its fertile lands.
    Europe is completely fragmented, and as the European Union is energetic in more debt, it will not pay something.
    And thinking in the long run is as a former Economist from the time of the Brazilian military dictatorship says:

    “In the long term we will all be dead”

  3. Oh, Michael, I should correct a few points of (mis)information you are spreading about the Ukraine war. 

    It is not your fault; it is very hard for most people to get an accurate picture of what is going on in Ukraine. I have more time and inclination to find sources who are actually there and report in English.

    Russians are not destroying anything. The Nazi battalions in the Ukraine forces are demolishing the country. They hide behind civilians. They base themselves in civilian infrastructure.

    Russian troops often have no choice but to knock down buildings to get at them. When the Ukraine army is finally forced out of a place, they promptly shell it if it was still standing. They try to destroy everything possible before leaving, and sow mines and booby traps everywhere.

    This is all just like the Syrian war was, against the jihadis. Their aim is to destroy and blame it on the Russians. The Russian aim is to separate the nazi battalions from the civilians.

    Consistently, once the nazi battalion at the backs of each regular Ukraine unit is destroyed, these conscripts surrender. Like the Syrian jihadis, the Ukronazis fight the dirtiest war imaginable. They clearly revel in it.

    The Russian speakers of south Ukraine know what the Russians are there for. They have been living under the terror of the Ukronazis for eight years, people conditioned to regard them as subhuman. They have often been starving in basements for weeks.

    It is often quite moving to see the videos of these people as they realize that the Russian army is there, with food, water, medicine, emergency shelter. The maniacs with the nazi symbols tattooed on their faces are gone. The worst is behind them, they are now free.

    You can be sure it will not be the west which pays for the rebuilding of Ukraine. It will be Russia. The west has no intention of rebuilding anything, ever.

    Pardon me if I am getting too poetic here. I have written a little in my own blog about the Ukraine conflict. My most recent one is here; https://yaxls.wordpress.com/2022/03/27/standing-up-for-mother-russia/
    That is getting a little old. I am starting another one on the subject. Writing this is a good way to get warmed up.

    I also do not think the war is going to go on much longer. The nazis are running out of cannon fodder. Most of their weapons are destroyed. The stuff being sent to them by the west cannot get to the Ukraine troops, they do not know how to use them, and it is mostly junk anyway.

    Even in the northern, Gallician speaking area of Ukraine, the population is starting to revolt. They are posting videos inviting the Russians in, promising to rise up when the Russian army gets near.

    One final point; the Russians have been able to do this while committing one eighth of their total forces. They have some losses, mostly because their troops try to avoid hitting the civilians being used as shields, thus putting themselves at more risk.

    War is hell.

  4. Nobody is going to rebuild anything. The point is not to rebuild but to destroy. This was the point of Jeff Sachs and the Harvard Institutes role in the collapse of the fSU. To decimate, destroy. That was the point in the invasion of Iraq; with the “war on drugs;” etc. The loco focos of the capitalist order have a plan and it amounts to “create 2,3, many failed states.”

    And Russia? Rebuild anything? Do we look like we just fell off a truckload of pumpkins? UCBPolitical to the contrary not withstanding, the US has twice in the last 15 years kept the financial structure of capitalist accumulation afloat. Russia is one of the countries that, having been decimated, is incapable of keeping anything afloat.

    What China cannot match, yet, is the productivity of labor in the advanced capitalist countries. And Russian labor productivity is even less. I always get a kick out of those who refer to US capitalism as “decayed” “atrophied” “sclerotic” etc, and then talk about the ascendancy of the BRICs, or the global south, without ever considering the critical element of labor productivity.

    1. The US is a parasitic economy that lives off transferred value. Even the BEA admits as much citing the boost to productivity from cheap imports. Noticed Huawei just cracked 5nm production. I wonder whether Apple will survive a Huawei come back.

      1. All capitalism is parasitic, living off expropriated time that’s converted to value. Is the US now any more parasitic then it was 1969? Is the UK now more parasitic than when it imported slave grown cotton to feed the textile mills in Manchester? And did the variations in the price of cotton determine the trend in productivity? Most notions of parasitism are either variations on “the imperialist hegemon is the main enemy,” and are some weird amalgam of physiocrat and mercantile baloney.

        Some will say anything to avoid the difficult world of class.

      2. “Noticed Huawei just cracked 5nm production. I wonder whether Apple will survive a Huawei come back”— and that aids the proletarian revolution exactly how? Go ahead and root for the emerging Chinese bourgeoisie, that’s not exactly what Marx had in mind when he wrote “workers of the world, unite,” but clearly close enough for some.

      3. Anti, its not well known that Marx devoted much of his time in his final years to researching the technical accomplishments and developments of capitalism in order to better grasp its trajectory and fate. Did it have a direct bearing on the class struggle? Probably not, but this does not rule out relevancy to the class struggle today as capitalism enters its twilight years. I have always approached the technical rivalry between China and the USA from a class perspective. The fact that China is closing the technical gap quickly and will close it shortly means the United States is RUNNING OUT OF TIME to protect its hegemony. Its non-military options are diminishing year by year. Ask yourself the question, why would the USA provoke Russia via the puppet Zelensky this year, at a time when the world is in such difficulty. The probable answer is because the USA’s timeline dictated this course of action. Thus the political consequences of these observations is to forewarn workers and mobilize them against the coming war.

      4. “Anti, its not well known that Marx devoted much of his time in his final years to researching the technical accomplishments and developments of capitalism in order to better grasp its trajectory and fate. Did it have a direct bearing on the class struggle? Probably not, but this does not rule out relevancy to the class struggle today as capitalism enters its twilight years.”

        1. Source, please. I am aware the Marx studied Russian, calculus, and penned studies of pre-capitalist formations in later years, but if he studied the technical accomplishments “in order to better grasp” the trajectory of capitalism, he sure missed out on the persistent advances that produced the long deflation of 1868-1895.

        2. And it sure does have a direct bearing on class struggle– see the railroad strike of 1877, precipitated by the owners lowering wages as profit margins were reduced by the increase in the accumulated technical component. But the competition between, say the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central was no reason for workers to support either of them, or cheer the advance of one over the other.

        3. The exact same class perspective should inform the competition between Huawei and Apple.

        4. Your perspective is not exactly one of class, but that of the “US as hegemon”– the “Great Satan.” The US is acting in the interests of the bourgeois class. That doesn’t make any existing or emerging bourgeoisie, whether in Russia or China a focus for support by the working class.

      5. @ucanbpolitical :
        Could you please provide a source, and let it be a reliable one, forbthis claim: »Noticed Huawei just cracked 5nm production.«

  5. Translating to Greek and reposting…!

    Very good article to explain why the war is an offensive war against Russia (and China) and not a war for exploiting Ukraine itself, or even worse, a war of Russia to …conquer Ukraine and who knows what else…

  6. Those figures are interesting but don’t take into account whatever the final outcome will be.
    From what we can read and see, most of the destruction and devastation is taking place in the eastern and southern parts of the countries. Whatever happens in the next months, it seems very likely that those parts will either be annexed by Russia or transformed into friendly breakaway republics. I can’t imagine Western countries sending a penny to rebuild these areas in this scenario. All the reconstruction cost in the Donbass and the black sea coast would then be shouldered by the Russian government.
    The reconstruction burden could even be greater if Russia eventually decides to place a friendly government in Kiev which would encompass most of the current Ukrainian territory. In this case as well Western countries would not send any help or rebuild anything and the Russian federation will have to finance almost the entire reconstruction of Ukraine.
    It would be interesting to think about the effect of this reconstruction debt on the Russian economy and how Russia would handle it. Considering they have granted citizenship to many citizens of the Donbass and are even talking about making the region a Russian oblast, I imagine they will not ignore the reconstruction efforts. Maybe China could contribute and integrate the coastal region into its Belt and Road initiative.

  7. Let us understand where we are. A defeat for Russia means the next stop is China. These are the goals of US imperialism. As I have said ad nauseum this is not a Ukranian war but a NATO war fought by Ukranian soldiers. It was a bait and trap tactic that the Russians could not refuse especially after Zelensky had put his army on standby to attack the Crimea in March. NATO has supplied so many arms its arsenal’s have been depleted by more than 25% for key items.

    Look what is happening on Wall Street today. A 3/4% increase in the FED rate and it is game over. Next stop is a 40% fall and a loss in paper of over $20 trillion. This kind of loss multiplied by the inequality driving this economy is going to crater it. Michael you may want to recast your heading. Not looking good is truly an understatement.

    Capitalism promises nothing and threatens everything. I predict a hot political and environmental summer

    1. Russia has already won the war.

      That means the main question now is how the American Empire will cope with such loss of territory and prestige, and how will it continue with its plan to destroy and conquer China.

      I’m an adept of the theory that the USA will enter a Byzantine stage. This phase of historical development of the American Empire will be marked by a smaller empire, centered around the West Coast and the Pacific (i.e. the decline of its Eastern provinces, meaning here European Peninsula and the Middle East, and the rise of Australia, Oceania, Japan and South Korea), smaller and weaker economy, poorer and more ignorant populus, and, on a cultural level, a more Christian fundamentalist empire, specially in the ranks of its Armed Forces.

      It’s evident by now that the Dollar Standard and the fiat currency system are mere superstructures – not material base – of capitalism. That means Marx was always right: Postmodern Capitalism did not mean the transcendence of Capitalism, let alone the death of History; the Law of Value is scientifically true.

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