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IV The control of space and power


This fourth session focused mainly on control over geocultural space and geo-political power, rather than over energy resources and the interplanetary regions. The key theme which underlay this session, negatively determining it and, indeed, placing it at the heart of the entire conference, was that of hegemony - the predominant control exercised by one or more foreign powers over the principal forms of the social life of a nation. The reader will have noticed that during the previous sessions criticism was repeatedly levelled against Eurocentric conceptions of the world; Drs Lefebvre, Stambuk and Mori, in particular, each formulated important objections from their own points of view. These objections were later to be further developed by several detailed expositions in the fifth session. Now, Eurocentrism can perhaps best be viewed as a particularly acute articulation of hegemony in the ideological sphere, and its force can be gauged by the extent to which it even penetrates mentalities about such supposedly 'objective' subjects as science and technology. Criticism of Eurocentric notions is undoubtedly an essential part of the struggle against hegemonic relations in the world today. However, a part should not be taken for the whole. Quite apart from the fact that many peoples within the European cultural area itself continue to be held in a state of dependence and poverty, how illusory it would be to think that the in equalities in the world are simply the results of narrow prejudices, misconceptions and ungrounded ideas. These inequalities are rather grounded in and embody a system of power relations, and hegemonic power lies at the heart of this system.

The struggle against hegemonism is the struggle of peoples to determine their own future within their own national boundaries. This struggle undoubtedly constitutes the principal task of subordinated peoples; and, in order to be effective, struggles to overcome particular inequalities - such as those related to scientific potentials and technological resources - must be integrated into this general one. Perhaps this last proposition can be understood as a specification of the general principle put forth in the first session which stated that science and technology can contribute to human liberation only if integrated into struggles for democracy. In any case, as stated by Dr Abdel-Malek in the last intervention here, the major problem today facing the nations of the Third World is that of maintaining their political and cultural sovereignty. As noted by Dr el-Kholy in his opening paper, solutions to this problem hinge on the ability of these nations to generate social and political systems which will ensure the efficient utilisation of the available human and natural resources. And Dr Pandeya pointed out that success in the fields of science and technology would require the formation of a broad, popular scientific culture.

The problem of the roles of science and technology in the contemporary world is nowadays far from peripheral to the general problem of hegemonism; and many of the participants in this conference stressed what Dr Vidakovic called the mystification of their objective social functions. Dr el-Kholy, for example, noted that innovations imposed on the authority of an external power are more likely to serve as means of increased subjugation and alienation, rather than as tokens of some trans-historical progress; and he mentioned that 'big science', despite its economic advantages in the developed countries, is not necessarily cost-effective in Third World conditions and may contribute to intensification of the international division of labour if uncritically imported. Dr Silva Michelena, in turn, observed that technological optimism is an essential part of the developmentalist advertising being pushed by the transnational corporations to assure 'developing' countries of their bright prospects within the capitalist system. Examining the significance of nuclear energy for the countries of the Third World, Dr Pinguelli Rosa illustrated some of the typical complications that arise when a heavy technology is treated as an object of prestige, rather than as an instrument for meeting popular needs; but he also noted that these countries can ignore such technologies only at the risk of perpetuating foreign domination, and he stressed the importance of building up national independence in an all-round way. Dr Vidakovic himself finally considered how, despite the various forms of scientific-technological optimism, the militarization of the contemporary world economy is dominating the development of science and technology, harnessing them more and more to purposes of repression and destruction and thus obstructing the realization of their great potentials for improving the lot of the peoples of the world.

Taking up this last point from a slightly different angle, Dr el-Kholy had remarked that the scientific and technological breakthroughs most needed, especially by peoples in the Third World, do not seem to interest the developed countries commercially; and, hence, the complementary strategies of national and collective self-reliance present themselves as practical necessities for the developing countries. On the other hand, however, he pointed out that, because the problems facing today's world are global in nature, adequate solutions to them will require appreciation of the contributions of all civilizations; and strategies of self-reliance are thus to be commended on theoretical grounds (related, inter alia, to the sociology of knowledge) as well as on practical ones. But the political prospects for bringing about such an appreciation in the 1980s - a sort of maximal programme, as it were - seemed admittedly rather bleak to Dr el-Kholy; and he therefore stressed the importance of elaborating a long-term vision of protracted transformation, on the basis of which a nation or group of nations would be guided in formulating and carrying out several distinct and realistic tasks corresponding to a series of objective stages in the process of change. For Dr Silva Michelena, progress in solving global problems is reducible to the evolution of the balance of power between the two main blocs and especially between the two superpowers. For him, the struggle against hegemony is therefore more or less equivalent to that against domination by the USA; and political prospects in the world consequently appear relatively bright for the decade to come. Approximating one of the positions in the debate within the non-aligned movement about whether the Soviet Union constitutes a 'natural ally' to the peoples of the Third World, Dr Silva Michelena stressed logistic support by the USSR as the most significant element in world politics today. One might ask about what happened to it during the revolutions in Iran and in Zimbabwe.

A number of consequences followed from Dr Silva Michelena's failure to examine the complex problems related to Soviet hegemony. He predictably gave little notice to the crucial importance of the principle of the self-determination of peoples and to the historical forces which make this principle operative. He was unable to envisage the real implications of contradictions opposing the lines of various nation-States and of national liberation movements to that of the USSR - hence his reading of the struggle in Eritrea, for example. He likewise failed to appreciate the significant contributions to world peace and liberation made by the non-aligned movement, that broad cross-ideological current which includes, inter alia, key socialist countries such as North Korea and Yugoslavia, etc.

According to Dr Silva Michelena, the West has a primarily economic interest in preventing the expansion of the Eastern bloc, which, on the contrary, has a primarily political interest in expanding. One can, of course, remark that politics itself is a concentrated form of economics; but more importantly it must be asked to what extent the expansion of the Soviet bloc differs from the extension of a hegemonistic sphere of influence. Certainly, there are few people who would deny the importance of the USSR's growing logistical capacity in the global situation today, but there are certainly also many who would differ with Dr Silva Michelena in regard to its significance. In this respect, it is perhaps pertinent to keep in mind a position put forward not long ago by Roumanian President Nicolai Ceaucescu, who, warning against attempts to re-divide the world into spheres of interest, noted that since 1975 the USA utilises principally economic means to expand its influence, while others - with inferior economic levels - make use of military force in order to reach the same ends.

All of which reminds one of the famous dictum by Clausewitz that war is politics carried on by other means. What is perhaps more evident nowadays than it was in the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, is the extent to which war is also the pursuance of particular economic goals - by means no longer alien to the 'normal' conditions of the economic process in either of the two major blocs. One of the chief contributions of Dr Vidakovic's exposition lies in his having shown that the militarization of the economy and the closely related perversion of the global development of science and technology are to be explained at the economic level by the fact that it is precisely in the militarized sectors of production that the highest rate of profit is nowadays to be realised. The struggle to secure maximum profits thus finds its necessary expression in the growing repressiveness of social structures, both in metropolitan and in subordinate societies.

Undoubtedly, the arms race and the menace of war lurking behind it number among the most overt and diabolical aspects of an entire repressive system, and they are linchpins, in particular, for holding together the system of hegemonistic relations at the international level. They are, therefore, being opposed more and more resolutely by peoples around the world, and especially by those in underdeveloped and dependent parts of the globe. Such peoples know well that, as pointed out by Dr Pinguelli Rosa, the heightening risks of holocaust (as well as the chief obstacles to their emancipation) are primarily the responsibilities of those who are so avidly going about accumulating the most incredible stocks of sophisticated weaponry - nuclear, of course, but also chemical, biological, electronic, etc. - while patting themselves on the back for signing documents designating the rate at which their arsenals will increase.

Is there anything that Third World countries can actually do about ail of this? Can they mobilise forces strong enough to alter the international situation significantly and to give themselves some breathing space? Numerous examples could be adduced to support the claim that, given certain conditions, they can. To mention only two, the experience of the non-aligned movement in defusing potential confrontations between the superpowers would certainly seem to indicate the affirmative; and, at another level, the experience of the five 'Front-Line States' in support of the liberation of Zimbabwe is very positive in this regard. In general, the crucial point in answering this question is to be found in one's evaluation of the significance and complex inter-relation of the various forms of power; and during the discussion to this session two lines of argumentation emerged. The first, exemplified in Dr Furtado's intervention, stressed that since the end of World War 1I the economic potentials of the Third World had been significantly strengthened when compared with world levels; the inference was that countries in the Third World are therefore objectively more capable of building up their technological infrastructures. The second position, put forward by Drs Issa and Rasheeduddin Khan, for example, emphasised that those Third World countries which had not undergone a fundamental political transformation freeing them from foreign domination have typically less and less power to dispose of their own national resources as time goes on. Although presented in a somewhat antithetical way, the two positions do not necessarily exclude one another unless, of course, the need for political emancipation is denied. Taken together, they attest to the growing possibility and urgency of Third World nations' asserting their genuine independence, singly and collectively.

However, while most discussants agreed in principle with the strategies of collective and regional self-reliance, many were quite concerned with the various divisions within the Third World. Overcoming such divisions and achieving a unity of action while accommodating differences are, of course, extremely difficult practical problems in the building of any united front; and there may, indeed, even be a few gaps which cannot be bridged. Such difficulties, however, cannot justifiably be allowed to serve as an excuse for the a priori dismissal of the possibility of united action among the peoples of the Third World. Were there no contradictions between the various participants in the anti-Fascist front during World War 11? Who could be naive enough to think so? Their common actions, however, were based not on an undifferentiated 'identity' of interests, but to one degree or another on a certain community of interests which had to be elucidated by protracted efforts and struggles. Perhaps this point is still valid today in the struggles versus hegemony and the menace of war. And a critique of the contemporary development of science and technology cannot be isolated from such struggles.

The first position paper presented to the fourth session was that by Dr Osama el-Kholy, entitled Towards a clearer definition of the role of science and technology in transformation. Dr el-Kholy noted that more than two years of intensive and world-wide discussions had been devoted to preparation for the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD), which was held in Vienna in August 1979. Since "practically all the important issues relevant to our theme have been discussed in preparing for and during UNCSTD", what is now needed is an "exercise in the analysis and assimilation of all this effort and a distillation of the essence of wisdom in it. In the face of the danger, however, that the valuable results of UNCSTD might simply be shelved, it is necessary to take the Conference's diagnostic conclusions and to formulate prescriptive orientations for implementing them." Any such orientations must meet four fundamental requirements, viz. those for complementarily among developing countries, internal consistency of proposed strategies, political realism and respect for each nation's cultural heritage.

Until quite recently, "the role of science and technology in bringing about significant changes in society has been considered... as a 'technical' problem that is to be dealt with mainly by the professional scientists and technologists.... [And] as a rather drastic oversimplification, we might say... that the social scientists are not well versed in scientific-technological practices, while the [natural] scientists and technologists are still rather insensitive to the socio-political implications of their activities, and even to the full extent of their economic consequences." There is thus an obvious need for an interdisciplinary effort aimed at formulating programmes for the realisation of desirable future transformations.

As pointed out by other speakers, such transformations must be seen within a global perspective. While the majority of the population of the Third World is living below subsistence level, it is quite mistaken to consider this state of underdevelopment as having been reached independently of events in the other 'Worlds'. The problems of developing countries, therefore, "cannot be discussed in isolation from the nature of current problems and developments in other parts of the world". However, "dialogues between 'North' and 'South', though important and necessary, cannot by themselves lead to a solution of the problems of the world". At a more fundamental level, "there is a need for persistent intellectual effort originating from within [each country] and leading to a specification of objectives and strategies as well as for the choice of alternatives". Coming close to the position adopted by Dr Despic on the previous day, Dr el-Kholy stated that "the crucial factor here is our ability to achieve socio-political systems that would enhance the efficiency of utilization of their resources. Only effective forms of such systems [will be able to] provide the driving force needed to start and sustain the changes required to overcome underdevelopment on the national, regional and international levels. Intellectual effort plays a leading role in the realization of such forms of socio-political organization and is the only guarantee of the rationality of national and regional decisions." Such an effort should, in particular, "be based on the recognition of the specificity of the conditions in the Third World as a whole and within each country; [and it should place] emphasis on co-operation between Third World countries...."

"If, under the impact of the revolution in communications, our world has become very small indeed, this should not mean the obliteration of civilizations incapable of asserting themselves under the present circumstances. On the contrary, this should lead to their liberation and to the creation of a suitable climate in which they could provide humanity with the full richness of their heritage of thought, art and values. The solution we are seeking for world problems is a solution for all of humanity. Thus, it can only originate in the experience and heritage of all civilizations and countries. This is no call for chauvinism, nor does it mean that theories 'originating from reality' are the rejection of all that is positive in other civilizations and systems. Rather it is the realization that neglecting other civilizations - past or contemporary - or failing to analyse them deeply so as to reveal the positive elements in them will only lead to more global problems and more underdevelopment and subordination. One of the more important positive elements in Western civilization is the development of science and technology and the very close links that have been forged between them, while one of its most serious negative impacts is the obliteration of the civilizations of others", and especially the destruction of their cultural identities and life-styles.

Really, how relevant is Western 'culture' as such to Third World peoples today? "Through naive acceptance of the superiority of the Western cultural model, we have tacitly adopted three basic assumptions: (1) that this development pattern is desirable in itself and is suitable for our society now and in the future; (2) that its realization is possible to achieve nowadays as it has been possible to achieve in the past; (3) that our own experience so far in following this path is encouraging. The simple fact is that none of these assumptions is true, theoretically or empirically. Dissatisfaction with this model is now wide-spread within the industrialized societies themselves; the signs of its disruption and breakdown, materially and spiritually, are now recognised by those who adopted it. This pattern was based on a reckless squandering of resources and disruption of the environment which is neither possible nor acceptable nowadays. [And] our experience so far is that adoption of this pattern has widened the gap between rich and poor, heightened social tensions and resulted in more dependence and subordination to the developed world, with grave political consequences that threaten world peace."

Yet, "the nature of scientific-technological activity and the role of science and technology are predetermined by the development pattern and life-style we choose. Adapting the Western model means that national effort will be restricted to the importation of technology from abroad, with its ready-made solutions developed by a far superior technological potential, for the satisfaction of a social demand for the goods and services that form the material basis of this lifestyle. The national scientific-technological effort will be geared to the needs of the élite, and it stands no chance of competing with the developed world in this race. At best, our scientists and technologists will be called upon to participate in some adaptive effort or, in the extreme, to imitate the production techniques that provide these goods. There is [in fact] only one viable option open to them, viz. to become integrated in the framework of a transnational corporation, at the latter's own terms....

"Rather than allow contemporary science and technology as practiced outside of our society to dictate our socio-political systems and to alienate us from our cultural roots, rather than let 'progress' be an outside force beyond our control, we seek an order within which alienation disappears, or - at least - decreases, and within which man becomes master of science and technology... directing them rationally towards the goals of harmony and equilibrium with resources and the environment, of satisfaction of essential needs, of justice and [the] liberation of Man's faculties on the basis of positive elements in our cultural heritage, and not [on the basis of] the dictates of profit maximalisation that currently prevail in international relations. This is the essence of self-reliance, reliance [based] on liberated creativity and sound traditions." Within such a framework the function of science and technology will change fundamentally: their role will be "to provide the technologies needed to bring about the alternative life-styles we may choose". Simultaneously, however, the possibility would emerge for an exchange of technology "as practiced nowadays between the developed countries, rather than the unidirectional transfer from the centre to the periphery". In practical terms, this technological self-reliance can be characterised as the autonomous capacity to: (1) formulate policies, draft and implement national plans; (2) exercise well-informed social control over technology; (3) change and adapt imported technology; (4) exploit imported technology effectively in terms of socio-economic criteria; (5) innovate and deal effectively in the world technology market; and (6) maintain national cultural identity.

In proposing a course of self-reliance, "we are not seeking the return to a glory that has vanished. Such romantic ideas, usually tinged with sanctification of the past, make of our societies museums of culture and lead to extremist and reactionary concepts that ignore the weaknesses and defects that led to the passing away of those golden ages." "Development that is not the copy of another model or a slave to it is bound to be the conscious effort of an educated and well-informed society, enjoying freedom of thought and expression, unfettered by pseudo-religious obscurantism and intellectual bigotry." Yet it is essential to observe here that "such obscurantism and bigotry are usually veiled by the promotion throughout society of a view of science as a deterministic discovery of ultimate and immutable truths and not as an endeavour to understand better the world we live in. This 'magical' view of science, in a stagnant and autocratic society, leads to intellectual oppression and manipulation of public opinion. The label 'scientific' is used as the means for validating the views and values of the power groups in society. It becomes the justification for suppressing 'unscientific' opinions and the views of the 'laymen' and the 'extremists'. Let it be stated clearly here that what is at stake now is freedom for the whole of society to participate in the decision-making process and not simply a legal or formal definition of the rights of man, commendable and desirable as these may be."

Scientism also frequently takes the form of "an adulation and blind faith in the achievements of technology, which are presented simply as great victories of the human mind and of man's endeavour to master Nature. This masks the hidden forces that have motivated such developments, the physical and social problems [entailed] and the disruption they bring about; [it] presents technology as a disinterested and disembodied activity worthy of admiration. It renders acquisition of the products of modern technology synonymous with progress; and even in the field of armaments, technology is depicted in euphemistic language and with breathtaking glamour that hide the ugly face of death and destruction it brings with it.

"Integration of the social and physical sciences and technology thus becomes an urgent need. Technological activity must be viewed as essentially social action which involves the whole of society. The issue of scientific freedom becomes particularly crucial for the social sciences, since they often clash with the vested interests in society."

In the context of ever-increasing globalization of scientific-technological activities, there are a number of phenomena which have developed according to a dialectic proper to the developed world, but which nevertheless exert especially strong influences on the developing countries. For example, at the ideological level, in spite of the "devastating onslaught by social scientists," there is "the desperate stand... [taken] by certain natural scientists who still maintain that theirs is a neutral and dispassionate pursuit of knowledge for its own sake and who disclaim any social responsibility for the consequences of their actions". On the other hand, at a much more material level, there is "the crippling distortion of scientific and technological activities - particularly in the developing countries - under the pressure of so-called 'defence' requirements", which have "siphoned hundreds of billions of dollars away from financing further effort where it is most needed and from 'transforming the world' by means of the application of available scientific and technological know-how". Finally, in terms of material organization, emergence of 'big science' and the large-scale multidisciplinary R & D establishment has also brought with it "a whole string of critical problems for the periphery". While 'big science' may be "cost-effective within the organizational framework of industrialized societies", it is "very expensive to establish and to run"; and, following in line with the general international division of labour, it has resulted in "extreme polarization of scientific and technological activity and its concentration in the centre". This area of problems must be considered in close connection with the rise and operation of the transnational corporation as "the most efficient form of integrated techno-economic activity and as the main investor in and exploiter of technological innovation".

At present it seems that "practically all initiatives by the Third World to transform the prevailing world order have been thwarted and frustrated. One could almost go as far as saying that they have boomeranged and are most likely to become in the near future a means for entrenching dependence and subordination". For instance, efforts to modify the Paris Convention of 1883 (governing the patent system) and the call for an international code of conduct for technology transfer have been rallying points for the Group of 77 in their search for bringing an end to technological dependence. Likewise, construction of an infrastructure of heavy industry (e.g. metallurgical and petrochemical) and the development of engineering industries and national consultancy services have been accepted as recommended courses of action for building up indigenous technological capabilities. Yet there is now a growing concern that an internationally recognised code of conduct for technology transfer "would be of considerable help to the TNCs" and "would weaken the bargaining position of the developing countries". On the other hand, construction of indigenous technological capabilities along classical lines "might well lead to further qualitative intensification of technological dependence and subordination" with the metropoles "increasingly monopolising the decisive elements of R & D, engineering, finance, maintenance, etc., leaving the developing countries with control over the relatively low levels of the productive system".

In addition to these considerations, we are faced, in general, with "the rather bleak political prospects the eighties seem to bring with them. The dialogue between North and South is grinding to a halt and is now replaced by confrontation and open threats to use force for settling global problems. While the West seems unable or, owing to internal conflicts of interests, unwilling to grapple effectively with inflation and energy problems, the socialist camp is divided and at war. Détente has been degraded, and the price for Salt 11 seems to be an increase in armaments. Local wars have become daily occurrences in the Third World. Any serious attempt at transforming the world and any prescription for action must analyse these symptoms, take full account of them and look beyond them to the future long-term prospects of the global scene."

Despite this sombre outlook, it is up to the Third World countries to take the initiative and unite to solve their problems. How can this be done? "The last decade has witnessed an increasing interest in prospective studies under the influence of the threats of global problems..., [and] experience with these studies has emphasised the suitability of the regional approach." In a series of three appendixes attached to his paper, Dr el-Kholy drew on the experience of the Arab League institutions with such regional studies, in order to sketch an elaborated framework for effectively organising "a multidisciplinary and systematic approach for understanding and influencing [both] the processes of transformation" and the role which science and technology play in those processes.

The real practical significance of any such formal organizational approach, of course, "hinges on a theory of the sequence of development stages and of the international division of labour, which thus gives consistency to social and economic priorities". Theories of this type differ appreciably, but, on the whole, they tend to fall between two opposing views. "In very general terms, we may say that the first sees the problem as one of backwardness, primitiveness of economic structures and low returns on labour. This leads straight to the adoption of technological solutions concerned with the importation of modern technologies compatible with cultural development in the West and, hence, to adoption of its consumption patterns. It then concentrates on favourable contractual conditions or optimum adaptation procedures. The other sees the historical development of colonialism, subordination, monopolistic practices and economic penetration as the cause of the alienation of human labour from the technological environment. The economic structures that were originally dedicated to the satisfaction of the needs of the citizenry have been distorted to comply with production and consumption needs from without and to operate to the advantage of the stronger colonial power. This suggests the search for technological solutions that would end this alienation through a new economic structure capable in the first place of satisfying the basic needs of the whole population."

In the light of these two general social evaluations, it is possible to depict three prospective scenarios from which "a clear definition of the role and content of technological activity can be deduced, as society moves from one to the other:

(1) The 'consumer' society is one which adopts a cultural and consumption pattern derived from the 'Western' model and in which technology is imported according to the criteria of commercial profitability for certain social groups. A primitive economic structure would still prevail as well as the phenomena of the 'extended' family and a weak local market. Some improvement in living standard could be achieved by means of exportation of raw materials and primary goods based on production processes involving a rather low level of division of labour.

(2) The 'productive' society is one in which the cultural and consumption patterns are the same as before, but in which technology imports are based on appropriate choices, efficient operation and successful adaptation. The economic structure is now more varied and improvements in living standard come from a higher level of division of labour. Dualism of the economy, rapid expansion of the local market and closer links with 'superior' industrialized societies are now common.

(3) The 'pioneering' society is one characterized by an independent cultural and consumption pattern; in it, technology is the natural environment for human effort or the [body of] techniques necessary for a 'productive' society and an economic structure that meets the demands of the people."

In each of these three cases, as noted above, "the role of science and technology in transformation depends on objectives for the future, the definition of which has to be guided by a theory and a concept of development".

In concluding, Dr el-Kholy made a point that had been touched upon by many of the other speakers, viz. that concerning the necessity of linking the power of modern science and technology with the endogenous culture and creativity of the peoples of the Third World. As long as the social function of science is judged "as bigoted and oppressive" (i.e. in accordance with contemporary practice alone), it is obvious that the social climate will not be conducive to integrating science and technology into an attractive scenario for transformation. "However, hope for the future lies in a rebirth of the original attitude of the culture of the region towards science." Speaking as a member of the Islamic community, Dr el-Kholy said: "..the scientific method as we know it today is a product of our cultural heritage, closely intertwined with a religion that clearly recognised the universe around us as a source of knowledge and exhorted people to seek knowledge even in China! One might well think that the royal road to desirable transformation is an assimilation of our cultural heritage on a new - or is it an old? - level."

In his paper, entitled Science and politics in a changing world, Dr Jose Silva Michelena first analysed major socio-economic trends in the world today, and then considered certain problems of technological dependence and the possible solutions for such problems. Dr Silva Michelena began by pointing out that, in a long-term historical perspective, the world is now undergoing "the process of transformation from the capitalist mode of production to the socialist mode of production". Nevertheless, "it is a fact that most analyses of the present world crisis, be they Marxist or not, tend to concentrate [only] on what is happening in the capitalist world, thus leaving aside the unity, albeit a contradictory one, of world history today". Dr Silva Michelena, on the other hand, took what may be called a 'Great Power view of history': "... the basic dynamics of the present transformation of the world are determined by the dialectics between capitalist and socialist camps, which, without ignoring the internal contradictions in each one of them, are mainly determined by the specific objectives of the great powers of the capitalist and socialist blocs". What is the precise content of such dialectics? "Consideration of the objectives of the Great Powers, both capitalist and socialist, leads to the conclusion that the bourgeoisie, as the hegemonistic class of the capitalist system, has a primarily economic interest [according to which it] tries to prevent the expansion of the socialist camp; from this derives its need to combat [the latter] politically, militarily and ideologically. On the contrary, as socialist powers try to expand their influence to other countries, their primary objective is a political one "

The process of transformation, "of course, is not a unilinear one, nor can it even be said that the outcome is inevitable or predetermined. Options are open to the point that it is not possible to say what final from the socialist mode of production will adopt. The so-called socialist societies of today, from a long-term perspective, can only be regarded as incipient historical experiments from which a more definitive form will gradually emerge."

The present world crisis is by nature "a structural one". "The world division of labour, which began early in this century, but which accelerated after the crisis of the 1930s, reached its limits (i.e. the impossibility to increase profitability for private enterprises) by the end of the 1960s." Attempts to escape from this general crisis have been based on: "(1) technological breakthroughs, which provide both new levels of profitability and new opportunities for capital accumulation, and (2) increase in the proletarianisation of the world by means of organizational innovations which facilitate the exploitation of low-cost labour". In addition, since the early 1950s a "new thrust in the international economy" has been provided by the growing process of transnationalisation, "which eventually resulted in an expansion of the social division of labour to an international scale and a further concentration of the means of production in the hands of a few gigantic enterprises". Although transnationalisation has not been enough to counteract the "structural factors which provoked the world economic crisis", so far "only seven or eight underdeveloped countries are fully incorporated into the new transnationalist structures; it is therefore possible that the process of transnationalisation has only just begun".

"The main consequences for the underdeveloped countries of the process of transnationalisation are: (1) an increase of the role played in the economy by the State, which is not only performing the traditional function of the State, but is also assuming the function of producing material goods in leading sectors of the economy; (2) a reconcentration of income in the privileged strata of the population,... determined [firsts by the need to expand demand for products of the leading transnationalised sectors of the economy (usually such goods can only be purchased by the capitalist sectors of the economy) and [determined] secondly by the need to keep down the real salary of the workers in order to make [investments] more profitable for the transnational corporations, which could otherwise invest somewhere else; (3) the relative deterioration of the capacity to produce both industrial and agricultural products oriented to the satisfaction of the needs of the impoverished masses of the population."

Both of the last two consequences "inevitably lead to the discontent of the masses which sooner or later may explode in violent reactions, strikes or even... revolutionary movements". Meanwhile, the fact that the crisis is a global one "determines a deepening of class struggle in the developed countries", which, in turn, emboldens the labouring classes of the developing countries.


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