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Options for socialist societies and east-west relations

A progressive outcome of the crisis suggests a discussion on East-West relations and the prospects for evolution of the 'socialist' societies.

As we have said, the offensive by capital is based on blackmail putting East-West relations (US-USSR in fact) at the centre of the strategy and subjecting intra-West and West-South rdations to this military logic. The rallying to the Atlantic pact leaves little scope for an autonomous European policy, towards the South (as the Middle East, African and other conflicts show) and towards the East. It sees North-South relations as a complement of those of East-West confrontation and by the same token contributes to making the South the battle-ground of this confrontation. It also removes any hope for opening up space for reform in Eastern Europe and thus edges the situation even closer to apocalyptic confrontation.

The arguments to justify the Atlantic pact are made as if the East (of the Soviet and Chinese East) were incapable of their own initiatives and could only 'respond' to those of the West, Europe in this instance. This hypothesis stems from another more fundamental hypothesis, that the societies in question (the peoples and authorities) yearn to become 'like' those of the West. Their development is necessarily part of the worldwide expansion of capitalism, and they accept this necessary 'constraint'. Under various 'socialist' labels (Marxist or not) these societies would produce nothing but variations of capitalist development.

The argument is based on a series of narrowly 'economistic' or 'mercantilist' reasonings. This is the case for example of commentaries on the triangular (West-East-South) trade, or quadrangular (West-USSR-East Europe-South) trade. Too much significance is given to these commercial relations by regarding them as determining behaviour, without any regard to the internal social dynamic of the various partners. On the basis of this hasty judgement it is argued that the socialist countries 'form an integral part of the world capitalist system'. These countries are fully 'de-linked' in the sense that they have broad control of their external relations and subject them to the logic of their internal development, whereas the underdeveloped capitalist partners do the opposite: they 'adjust' their internal development to the constraints of accumulation on a world scale. This qualitative difference affects in turn the differing nature of the social systems.

It is true that the countries of the East want to step up economic relations with the West; but the West raises obstacles precisely because it knows that this stepping up, under the control of the socialist states, would strengthen them in their autonomous progress: and the West fears this strengthened autonomy more than anything else. The relative 'stagnation' of the socialist countries is seen to be one of the fundamental causes of the 'viability' of capitalism and that enhanced external economic relations could help the socialist countries to overcome this relative stagnation.

Assimilation of socialist countries to mere variants of capitalism leads to misleading simplifications. For example, people talk about an 'economic crisis' in the East and in the West as if it were the same phenomenon. It is highly inaccurate. The crisis in the countries in the East is one of the passage from extensive accumulation to intensive accumulation. It is independent of the crisis of world capitalism, even if the latter has conjuncturally made the performance of the Eastern world more difficult. The origin of the 'stagnation' is once again to be found in the specific social character of these societies.

In our analysis we describe the societies in question as 'rational and popular' rather than 'socialist', meaning that these systems, products of an 'anticapitalist' revolution (a revolt against the peripheralization imposed upon them by worldwide capitalist expansion), open a long transition where capitalist, socialist and statist forces and tendencies (with the statist forces enjoying a large degree of autonomy in comparison with the two others) are composed in unstable conflictive combinations. Analysis of the internal dynamic of this conflict is therefore essential, not only to an understanding of the societies, but also for an understanding of our modern world as a whole. The opinion that the - real or potential - socialist forces would be more powerful in France or Germany than in the USSR, China. Yugoslavia or Hungary seems quite unfounded, and bordering on the absurd.

It is in this framework that we must consider the three possible different futures for East-West relations:

(i) the rallying of Europe to the Atlantic pact and surrender to the aggressive attitude taken by the United States. The war envisaged here would, at least in the first stage, be waged on European terrain:

(ii) contrarily, a deepening of the divergence between Europe and the United States as regards East-West relations. Immanuel Wallerstein envisages here a possible consolidation of a Paris-Moscow axis against the Washington

Toyko-Peking axis. It is a possibility that surfaced some years ago, and whose persistence is shown in the 'gas pipeline' affair. It is perhaps the most likely option if the currents of the most 'realistic' and least subjective in their ideological judgements about the USSR win their way in Europe. Certain currents of the European left, subjective in this ideological judgement, could fall into the trap set by Reaganism. Clearly, on this outlook, North-South relations are seen from a strictly 'imperialist' point of view but one where the Europe-US competition is maximized (a 'Gaullist' view) while the pro-Atlantic currents - of right and left - envisage a division of tasks between the United States and Europe (with Europe dealing with Africa): the rallying to the Altantic pact has not made revision of North-South relations entirely meaningless, as was shown in the astonishing retreat in the European stand on the Palestine issue and in Africa (for example, on support to Zaire and South Africa).

(iii) an 'alternative European policy' (or leftist) that was both anti-hegemonist (directed against the two hegemonisms), non-Atlantic and pro-Third World. In a word, rallying to 'non-alignment'. This option would reduce the risks of war and strengthen the scope for autonomy for workers in the West and the peoples of the South. It might, moreover, allow room for 'reformist transformation' of the East, blocked by the other policies. Evidently this option is out for the foreseeable future. A wavering Europe, where the left does not always grasp that you cannot go on wanting the privileges of imperialist domination and rejecting the restructuring that its expansion demands, is not ready to face up to it. China, from 1960 to 1970, chose this path, probably the wisest and best suited to the long-term interests of the peoples and of socialism. Isolated in its struggle 'against the two hegemonies', it renounced active non-alignment. The responsibility of Europe and of its left, which finally preferred to rally to the Reaganite Atlantic pact, is significant here.

In these circumstances, the thesis whereby an eventual rapprochement of the two Europes would constitute an even tougher front against the South than the current conflict is open to quesiton. This hypothesis, which Wallerstein takes to be a virtual certainty in the long term (in 50 years' time, he suggests) is based on two erroneous foundations: that the societies of the East will be less and less different from those of the West; that the South will have to submit to the dictates that the reconciled North will impose. At the least, according to Wallerstein, the ideological language will itself be toned down and if it does not become a mere hollow rhetoric, will at least betoken only minor amendments, like the opposition between the language of right and left in the West.

Even if it is admitted that all the so-called socialist societies are 'de-linked national and popular systems', there is room at the political level to distinguish the 'Easts' from one another. The USSR is both a global superpower and a European power, and this entails an internal conflict peculiar to its strategic and military aims that are not matters of blame but must be taken into account. This factor in no way justifies that, on the hypothesis of a political will for rapprochement between the two Europes, the USSR should be ostracized.

Meanwhile, it would probably be foolish and dangerous to set the aim of 'detaching' Eastern Europe from the Soviet alliance. Unfortunately this is the thinking of too many politicians of Western Europe, of left and right, sharing the same 'anti-Soviet' or 'Russophobic' position. The dangerous aspiration may find an echo here and there in Eastern Europe, with a fatal attraction by virtue of Europeanness to a West that must be described as capitalist. The aspiration does not serve the socialist forces and tendencies within these national and popular societies, but rather the capitalist and reactionary forces that operate there. The slide towards anti-Russian nationalism - notwithstanding the justifications that the 'big brother' provides - as it occurs in Poland, is a reminder of the limitations of this 'revolt', that, despite its worker element in some regards, is also fed on religious fundamentalism. Many Europeans irrationally applaud here what they condemn in Iran. In both cases, however, it is the same impasse. As for China, there is nothing to say that it must inevitably accept an extension of the Washington-Tokyo axis to Peking. It will do so to the degree that the USSR continues to be its principal danger. This was the case in the 1960s. It will no longer necessarily be so, especially if the Gorbachev era unfreezing goes deeper.

In East-West (or Easts-Wests) relations, the East is neither stagnant nor static, with initiative reserved for the West. The reality is rather the reverse. In the sense that the internal dynamic of the national and popular societies, the advances and retreats of the forces of socialism operating in these societies is in the forefront and largely shapes East-West relations.

Is an autonomous and progressive European initiative worthy of the name an illusory utopia? Perhaps it is in the short term, but in the long term it is an objective necessity.

This initiative obviously entails abandoning alignment with the anti-Soviet strategy of the United States. Does this mean that Europe should opt for vulgar 'pacifism' and leave it to Soviet whim to respect its 'disarmament'? Not at all. Europe must be able to defend itself on its own, without the American umbrella, and it has the capability. Without going into a complex topic that provokes prolonged discussion, we should say only that European atomic weapons are not an answer to the question. These would probably be inferior to Soviet weaponry in any event. The reconstruction of a modernized people's army (while the atomic options strengthen the professionals, who in European circumstances are almost necessarily reactionary) in the style of Yugoslavia and Sweden is probably the best answer.

Then the illusory prospect of 'economic domination' over East Europe must be relinquished, along with the even more illusory prospect of 'annexing' Eastern Europe and driving out the USSR.

Finally the 'neo-imperial' prospect of a unified Europe (under the aegis of its Western half) aggressive towards the Third World must be relinquished. Without this rupture, without the deliberate option of supporting the national and popular forms in Asia, Africa and Latin America, even to the detriment of (imperialist) advantages, talk of 'co-development' will remain hollow. It is impossible to carry out 'co-development' with a compradorized partner.

These are tough conditions. But is there not a beginning in Europe, in the frontier countries of the two Europes: Sweden, Finland, Austria. Hungary, Yugoslavia and Greece? Is not each of these countries in its own way, in its own framework (EEC or Comecon, or outside; NATO or Warsaw Pact, or outside; advanced or poor capitalism, or outside), and in this particular field (the social achievements of Sweden or Yugoslavia, or the armed neutrality of both countries) and with the modest means at its disposal, engaged in using as much as possible the narrow scope for manoeuvre that polarization on both sides has been unable to suppress?

This option is desirable since it opens up eventual (but not immediate) prospects to the forces of progress (socialist, popular or what you will) in the West and East of Europe, and may encourage their deployment on a wider stage. This is the way to contribute to a European 'cultural plan' in the best sense of the term, to a plan for a society whose history, after all, produced the Enlightenment and socialism, and thereby to play an active role - but with the others and not against them if without them - in the movement seeking to go far beyond the narrow limits of capitalist society.

The motivating forces on which such a plan could currently rely are certainly not substantial. They are not to be found in the working class as a whole, nor in the various alternatives (the Greens, and so on). But gradual deployment of these motivating forces is the only way to restore to the left the historical dimension it has lost.

The genuine long-term option, transnationalization or a polycentric world and broad autocentric regions

The offensive by capital shows the inexorable force with which it incorporates its strategies in the logic of worldwide expansion, as interdependence and interpenetration of economies has reached a much higher level than on the eve of the Second World War. This surrender to the law of worldwide expansion deprives the peoples and labouring classes of any possible autonomy and reduces their scope for choice to nil. It is also accompanied by an unprecedented ideological offensive: the objective of socialism is declared to be defunct, the dreams of 1968 absurd, and so forth.

It must urgently be recognized that submission to the demands of economic transnationalization is incompatible with a policy for a progressive outcome to the crisis. This is as true for the North as for the South.

There are two ways of envisaging evolution of the world political system towards polycentrism. The first reduces the centres of decision to five 'greet powers' - United States, Europe, USSR, China and Japan - and leaves the Third World marginalized. The second envisages, in addition to these five centres, the crystallization of new forces organized at various regional levels of the Third World (Latin America, the Arab world, Africa. India and South-East Asia). This second perspective is the only one acceptable.

For the first question on the agenda of humankind is the solution to the problem of 'underdevelopment' affecting the majority of human beings. This situation will, in the future, as it does in the present, demand that we go 'beyond capitalism'. In this sense the Third World will be a storm zone for a long time to come.

In this perspective we can certainly start from the hypothesis that it is possible to act against the spontaneous laws of capitalism. There are bound to be some who think it impossible to act against the demands of worldwide expansion through which the absolute constraint is manifest today. But is that not a renunciation of the freedom that is perhaps the common denominator of the left presenting itself as a force for transformation as distinct from the force of conservation on the right?

The building of polycentrism entails significant transformations in the internal policies of the nations of North and South and in international political and economic relations.

It entails the beginning of 'alternative development' by the developed capitalist societies. Here, expansion of the social sector to the detriment of that governed only by value and in contradiction with the maximum pursuit of external competitiveness. It entails a selective protectionism without with the programmes indicated would be void of content. Of course European construction could contribute to a positive evolution in this direction, provided that a socially and politically conscious Europe was gradually established.

The last battle is far from won, since it has not even begun yet. If response to capital's offensive is sometimes marked by an electoral return to the left, it is as often a pronounced slide to the right, whose fascistic touches preclude a positive evolution of the European construct. It is true that European society is no longer what it was in the 1930s. Then the middle classes of the old kind (petty producers, and so on) could be the allies of the working class in popular fronts provided that these, without aiming for profound social changes, could unify them, in defence of democracy for example (against the fascism that was appealing to the same middle-class victims of the crisis). Today, greater steps have to be taken in the direction of satisfying the incipient 'post-capitalist' social aspirations.

Polycentrism obviously entails a start on evolutions towards autocentric national and popular constructions. As in Europe, regional co-operation is essential here to provide a sufficiently broad scope for these constructions. Some of the Third World bourgeoisies may still believe themselves strong enough to play the game of worldwide expansion as it is; but the failures of attempts at integration in the world financial system by OPEC for example-and the stifling of the model of industrialization by the NlCs - should be enough to destroy these illusions.

Alternative North-South relations should be possible on this dual basis. The progressive governments of the North cannot ignore the South and line up with the strategies of the complex linking the United States, the World Bank, the IMF and the consortium of banks representing financial capital on a world scale, even if the alignment is larded with 'Third-Worldist' rhetoric as has sometimes been the case. The popular governments of the South will have difficulty in envisaging a withdrawal into virtual national autarky, and they can no longer rely, as they have rightly or wrongly believed possible, on the alternative of the Soviet alliance.

There is, therefore, a common interest in envisaging a new North-South co-operation on a selective basis that, if it is in conflict with worldwide expansion under the aegis of financial capital, could reinforce the supersessions of capitalism and the popular constructions in this or that place. The content, aims and modalities of this new co-operation must be discussed and envisaged in a creative spirit. For it is clear that development strategies cannot be identical from one region to another of our world, a world that is too diversified at all levels for this to make sense. The theological formulas that propose to make the 'market' - or the state - the pass-key to the happiness of everyone are today the main ideological obstacle to polycentrism.

Responses to the crisis challenge founded on this perspective of polycentric construction would certainly open up: (i) scope for popular autonomy to begin a supersession of capitalism in the North; (ii) scope for autonomy to progress with national and popular construction in the South; and (iii) scope perhaps to facilitate reformist advances in the East (on the basis of this might we hope to see a gradual annulment of the great schism that has since 1917 broken the world labour and socialist movement?).

Can we ask for more? Is there anything on the agenda more urgent than an internationalist revival.

Where does socialism fit into this perspective? I do not know much about that. But where does socialism fit into the developed West, the countries of the East, the nationalist or compradorized Third World? Socialism is surely still before us, if, as we suggest, we accept that the national and popular transition is not yet over.

The fracture of the world manifest in the centres/peripheries polarization inherent in capitalism obliges us to review the schema for construction of socialism produced in the 19th century. The fracture has put on the agenda of history the national and popular revolution at the periphery of the system and not the socialist revolution in its centres.

Is the conclusion that we must entirely accept all the consequences of this major fact?

Must we accept the fracture between the Western labour movement (which has abandoned the notion of a classless society to become a player in the capitalist rules of the game, and consequently a follower of the ideology and imperialist practice of dominant capital) and the popular movement of the backward countries (whether 'socialist' or not), stuck on a long, difficult and tortuous path that drives them into many compromises and retreats?

To refuse to accept this fracture as 'definitive' courts the risk of being described by some as 'voluntarist'. This does not prevent us believing that European detente, permitting a return to dialogue of peoples beyond states and even perhaps parties, could begin the long process of rebuilding popular internationalism. It does not prevent us believing that on the same condition a dialogue between the peoples of North and South (the two Norths and all the South) could reach an unsuspected pitch.

Should we, in conclusion, return to the theme of 'de-linking'? This global perspective is precisely one of general de-linking, that is subjection of the external relations of each of the various parties in the world to the logic of the demands of popular development, demands that are necessarily varying and specific by virtue of the heterogeneities of the starting point. De-linking is neither commercial autarky, nor chauvinistic culturalist nationalism. If there is a positive side to the universalism begun by capitalism, it is not to be found at the level of economic development (since this by nature remains unequal), but definitely at the level of a popular, cultural and ideological universalism, boding for the 'post-capitalist' stage, a genuine socialist outlook.

What is at stake in the conflict is not capitalism or socialism in the abstract, as systems of social organization. The real alternative is worldwide development, which in the current phase supposes a return to subjection to the hegemony of the United States over the whole of the Western system, or the rejection of this prospect to the advantage of maximum autonomy. Accepting worldwide expansion means accepting the dual crystallization around the two superpowers, in an atmosphere of cold war tempered with hot wars and with all that the cold and hot wars may bring in terms of slide towards mass destruction. The alternative is: acceptance of worldwide development as it is with all this entails, or an attempt to implement autocentric national and popular development strategies that will operate as forces to reshape both the national societies and the world system. The latter is, after all, only a reflection of its components in the national societies. The alternative therefore is: worldwide expansion or greater scope for autonomy for peoples, states and nations, that is to the benefit of the popular classes. To surrender or to de-link to the utmost the fate and future of the peoples, states and nations from the implacable demands of gross, capitalist expansion worldwide.

A new internationalism of the peoples could be rebuilt on these bases. It is the only humanistic and civilized option for our age.

Conclusion: a crisis of transnationalization, ideology and development theory

The considerations we offer by way of conclusion encourage further discussion in four directions that seem to us of particular significance: (1) the character of the transnationalization typifying our epoch; (2) the new elements called into consideration by its crisis; (3) the dangers of the situation; and (4) the character of the crisis of ideology and the social considerations that flow from it.

Terms such as transnationalization (beyond nation) and worldwide expansion (that by-passes the concept of nation) that have come into common parlance are, like everything in the social science vocabulary, necessarily ambiguous, with positive and negative implications. They indicate in fact the existence of powerful trends in the economic, cultural and social life of all peoples, driving them beyond the limits of conditioning by forces operating solely within the nation and into acceptance of interaction with others. Worldwide expansion, the potential bearer of a humanist universalism, is given a positive value in all systems of modern thought. At the same time, transnationalization in a narrower but more precise sense defines one of the key characteristics of the system in which we live, one we prefer to describe as 'really existing capitalism'. It would require an acceptance of all the distortion that Western-centred ideology has imposed on the 'social sciences' to put en 'equals' sign between the two concepts. For the system is also, in economic and political terms, polarized between the centres that determine the direction of global evolution and the peripheries that more or less passively endure the worldwide expansion in question. Cultural universalism produced under such circumstances is truncated; it is a bogus universalism, an illusion.

Realistically speaking, transnationalization is nothing more than the expression of the subjection of the various segments constituting 'really existing' world capitalism to the worldwide law of value. Not that such subjection operates uniformly, ironing out specific local characteristics of the societies where it is implemented, and thereby bringing an eventual 'homogenization'. In contrast to such a vision, it must be understood that these specific characteristics are reproduced by a common subjection to the worldwide law of value. Certainly, the world system has varying productive systems, in a hierarchy. To some extent these systems, or the most evolved among them, correspond to the area of state government. Just as national productive systems are beginning to collapse and to re-emerge within the world scope. A plurality of productive systems in no way contradicts that values of one cannot be compared with values of another. Here the economy is running ahead of institutionalized politics. We are still living in an inter-state system where each state is in principle sovereign. There is no world state, nor world currency, nor common world legal system, still less common political, economic and social systems. Despite this fact, the world economy is based on comparability of values, whose reality is shown in talk about 'competitiveness'. The keystone currency of the hegemonic centre is imposed as a world currency; in the absence of an alternative, it goes on being imposed as such when the hegemony in question is declining and under challenge.

This worldwide system is no novelty. It is as old as capitalism. It has not had a linear development without 'ups and downs', but through a succession of long cycles through the centuries with alternations of relative stability of the hierarchies and the rules of the game and challenges to such hierarchies. We are currently at the peak of one of the latter and so we must ask ourselves what is new and in embryo and what, therefore, will be the structures of the future.

It might hypothetically be argued that the most significant qualitatively new feature is precisely the beginning of the rupture of the concomitance between the individual productive system and the established national bourgeois state.

This rupture - and not by chance - is operating within the framework of a triple 'revolution': cybernetic, cultural and military. The extent of the first, technological, dimension is still little known, and often obscured by the technological catch-phrase, whether in the rather childishly scientific style ('Science will solve the problems of humankind'), or in the discouraging doomsday style ('The peoples who do not join in this scientific revolution are irretrievably damned'). The extent of the universalization of the messages - the world is a global village where people overlook what these messages bring as supposedly universal values - is no less ambiguous: its strength is obvious, just as the frustrations it entails are. As for the extent of military technology, it is far too apparent for there to be any doubt as to its decisive influence on politics: for the first time in the history of humankind the earth's self-destruction has become a real possibility.

The dangers presented by our epoch are gigantic. The play of economic, political and cultural forces operating within national plans and the global system will, it seems, determine evolution in one of three possible directions: (I) pursuit in new patterns of the worldwide expansion dictated by the narrow demands of capital; (2) collapse of the system; (3) its reconstitution on a polycentric regionalized basis.

Only lack of imagination makes the economic technocrats consider only the first hypothesis. The institutions of world capitalism operate in this direction specifically. They argue that the inter-state regulation corresponding to the concomitance of productive systems and states can be replaced by 'private' regulation adapted to the rupture of this concomitance. As this is the fashionable ideology it commits the grossest blunder possible in social thought: it puts economics (reduced to the dominant productive system) at the helm, without regard to the political and cultural dimensions that are supposed to adapt to it without difficulty! It also pays little heed to the victims of the 'adjustment': the peoples of the Third World condemned to super-exploitation, and those of the fourth world doomed to extinction. It cannot conceive of their revolt against the system.

Sticking stubbornly to this line of thought and action is the sure way of maximizing the dangers of collapse that will then come as no surprise, except to the idiots who did not want to think about its mechanisms. The rush into speculation in response to the crisis worsens the dangers of financial collapse. The desperate political responses - whose potential is already clearly signalled - may cause the abortion of a still fragile construction such as that of Europe. The neo-imperial rush to North-South conflict or the 'hotting up' of the East-West conflict will turn these skids into directions whose result can be imagined!

The only remaining hope is for wisdom. Acceptance of a plurality of productive systems, political visions and cultures requires reconstitution within a polycentric, regionalized perspective along the lines sketched out in this book.

The analytical instrument available for an understanding of the mechanisms of social choice and a fortiori for effective action is far from meeting the scale of the challenges - to the extent that we prefer to speak of social thought and avoid the term social science, as the status of this discipline is in no way analogous to that of the physical sciences. The collapse of social thought along the lines of the various academic 'disciplines' sometimes leads to a belief that the economic dimension of the reality does follow laws similar to those sought in other fields of scientific research. But as has been indicated, it is obviously not the same when it comes to a possible 'theory' of power or 'theory' of culture. Their interaction in the explanation of contemporary history must remain subject to the hypotheses of 'schools of thought' and not to 'scientific' theories (where the adjectives 'true' or 'false' may legitimately be applied). That is why social thought remains a perpetual battleground of the models of opposing schools of thought, whereas in the physical sciences new more accurate and complex models displace the ancient and obsolete theories.

In these circumstances, prevailing social 'theories', that form this or that majority view, are inadequate. They are subject to a dual distortion. Its first facet is their 'economistic' character, in the sense that they are based on the notion that 'economies' rules the world and everything else must adjust to its demands. An economic conception that is often very threadbare is doubly limited by the belief that 'market laws' operate like natural laws (and that the former laws are known!), and by the belief that technological progress operates as an autonomous external force. Hence, Progess is analogous to Providence in the replacement of the ancient metaphysical alienation of former societies by the economistic and technological alienation peculiar to capitalism.

The second facet of the distortion in question arises from the view that worldwide expansion is 'ineluctable' and must therefore be accepted as it is. Eurocentrism lurks behind this distortion. In three books of the series that this book completes these issues have been tackled head on. Faysal Yachir stresses the shortcomings of the various theories offered to 'explain' recent evolutions in the world economic system, Samir Amin stresses the shortcomings of social thought as regards the economics-power-culture articulation and the western-centred distortion of the prevailing schools, while Bernard Founou-Tchuigoua synthesizes the discussions on the theme of transnationalization or national construction indicated in the title of his book.2

Periods of crisis such as ours exacerbate the conflicts between the schools. As is apparent every day and in the face of the challenge, the schools in question slide gracefully into theology; whether that in vogue of the market with the argument that market laws under a laissez faire policy can achieve what they have failed to achieve over four centuries (homogenization of the world and material happiness for all!) or that of the state willing to proclaim that it can effectively replace the shortcomings of the market. Rather than such largely sterile debates we prefer the path of 'critical thought', meaning by that a consideration that challenges all schools of thought.

The debate on the failure of development made us highlight several of the essential issues that critical thought must examine: the character and extent of the economic constraints of transnationalization and the worldwide expansion of the law of value, the character and extent of state power and the crisis of the nation-state, historical agents of social change and evolution of forms of expression in the social movement, the character of inter-state conflict in the East-West. North-South and South-South context, the evolving content of the capitalism versus socialism debate, the rigidities and flexibilities of cultures, and so on. As the reader will obviously hare noted, the hypotheses put forward in these fields go beyond the single issues of 'development', although world polarization as the number one problem for all humankind is a privileged terrain of critical thought.


1. Amin, Samir, 'A. G. Frank and the Crisis'. Monthly Review, No. 6. 1983; 'La crise, les relations Nord-Sud et Est-Ouest', Nouvelle Revue Socialiste, Sept-Oct. 1983; Une autre configuration des relations internationales est-elle possible?, Delphes, in preparation: and cf, references to the study of the crisis in La crise de l'impérialisme and Dynamics of Global Crisis.

2. Amin, Samir, L'eurocentrisme, Paris, Economica, 1988, in English. Eurocentrism, New York, Monthly Review Press, 1989 and London, Zed Books. 1989: Yachir, Faysal, La transnationalisation et la crise de la théorie et de l'idéologie du développement, in preparation; Founou-Tchuigoua, Bernard, Transnationalisation ou construction rationale: l'expérience africaine, in preparation.

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