The Guardian
February 18, 2003

War to Open Up New Opportunities for Surplus Capital

by George Monbiot

. . . In a series of packed lectures in Oxford, Professor David Harvey, one of the world's most distinguished geographers, has provided what may be the first comprehensive explanation of the US government's determination to go to war. His analysis suggests that it has little to do with Iraq, less to do with weapons of mass destruction and nothing to do with helping the oppressed.

The underlying problem the US confronts is the one which periodically afflicts all successful economies: the over-accumulation of capital. Excessive production of any good - be it cars or shoes or bananas - means that unless new markets can be found, the price of that product falls and profits collapse. Just as it was in the early 1930s, the US is suffering from surpluses of commodities, manufactured products, manufacturing capacity and money. Just as it was then, it is also faced with a surplus of labour, yet the two surpluses, as before, cannot be profitably matched. This problem has been developing in the US since 1973. It has now tried every available means of solving it and, by doing so, maintaining its global dominance. The only remaining, politically viable option is war. . . .


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