John Smith’s PhD thesis ‘Imperialism and the Globalisation of Production’ available to download

John Smith’s PhD thesis ‘Imperialism and the Globalisation of Production’ available to download, from

John Smith
Imperialism and the Globalisation of Production

Far from overcoming the North-South divide, neoliberal globalisation has greatly amplified the exploitative and parasitic—and therefore imperialist—character of relations between Triad nations and the global South.

The severest and therefore most appropriate test of this thesis is to identify neoliberal globalisation’s newest, most transformational feature and ask whether it is leading to the erosion or to the reinforcement of the North-South divide. This, so argues this thesis, is the globalisation of production processes, a qualitatively new stage in the global development of the capital/labour relation, manifested in a ‘global shift’ of industrial production to low-wage nations.

Analysis reveals that the principal force driving this transformation are the efforts of northern-based TNCs to cut costs and increase profits by substituting higher-wage domestic labour with low-wage southern labour, in consequence becoming ever more dependent on the proceeds of this super-exploitation, only a small portion of which appears in financial flow data.

This thesis gives centre stage to the emerging, rapidly growing southern component of the global working class, to the conditions of its social existence, to the manner of its insertion into the global economy, and to patterns and trends in southern wages. Its central argument: the contribution of southern living labour to global wealth is massively understated, including in currently-influential Marxist literature on ‘global capitalism’ and ‘new imperialism’.

This thesis grounds its argument by analysing what GDP and trade data reveals about the globalisation of production; it then asks what this data conceals, developing a critique of the neoclassical assumptions which profoundly vitiate what is universally, and erroneously, regarded as objective raw material.

It concludes that GDP measures not what a nation produces but what it captures; that just as GDP obscures the exploitation of labour by capital, so it obscures the exploitation of southern labour by northern capital.


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