1940s >> 1942 >> no-458-november-1942

Can the Scramble for Markets be Ended?

DR. LANG, at a recent debate on world reconstruction in the House of Lords, made the statement “We must by international co-operation bring to an end the old accepted scramble for markets.”

How, in this age of fierce competition, nations are to be made to co-operate Dr. Lang does not propose.

Having forsaken his position as Archbishop of Canterbury for a pension of a mere £1,500 per year, and sympathising with himself for having (in his own words) “to face the restraints and inconvenience of very slender means,” it is most unlikely that Dr. Lang advocates the abolition of the social system that pays him this welcome, though allegedly meagre, pension. Thus Dr. Lang must be advocating international co-operation within the framework of capitalism.

Socialists know that such an achievement impossible.   

The nationalistic capitalism of any particular country is composed of the capitalist activities of individual capitalists or groups of capitalists within that country.

The fierce competition between capitalists compels them to secure as great an amount as possible of commodities, and to find ever-increasing markets for the transforming of these commodities into cash. Without such markets the surplus value produced by the workers could not he converted into profits.

Within each capitalist country the sum total of this production and scrambling for markets is identified as the capitalism of the country from which it emanates.

The whole of the exploiting of labour power and the grabbing of markets by, for example, American, German, or British capitalists, is recognised as American, German, or British capitalism.

Thus we see that behind the separate entities of American, German, or British capitalism (or whatever nationalist capitalism it be) are individual capitalists who must ever maintain competitive equality or supremacy—or be ousted from their privileged positions as capitalists.

The expansion of individual capitalism within a country, therefore, brings an expansion of that particular country’s capitalism.

This law prevails in all capitalist countries with the result that the capitalism of such nations finds itself in fierce competition with the capitalism of other nations.

As long as we live in a society wherein there exists commodity production, and the urgent capitalist need to sell widely the commodities produced, there can be no possibility of removing a world-wide scramble for markets.

Dr. Lang may be sincere in his seeking of a New Order that has no place for market-grabbing, but in his long life he has failed to learn that this can only be done by establishing a social system in which commodity production and commodity selling cannot exist.


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