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Going Global: Differential Accumulation and the Great U-turn in South Africa and Israel

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  • Nitzan, Jonathan
  • Bichler, Shimshon

Abstract

This paper offers a new theoretical approach for comparing the current political-economic U-turns in South Africa and Israel. Our principal focus is on a revised notion of capital, emphasizing the central role of differential accumulation by dominant capital groups. We further distinguish between an antagonistic “depth” regime in which differential accumulation is achieved via stagflation, and a less conflictual “breadth” regime where redistribution occurs through growth. Within this framework, we argue that both the recent transition in the two countries, as well as their former regimes, were greatly affected by global developments. Until the 1980s, accumulation in both countries depended largely on depth, characterized by a marked disparity between deepening crisis on the one hand, and rapid differential accumulation on the other. In South Africa, the large companies benefited disproportionately from the impact on gold profit of global inflation, and were therefore reluctant to abandon apartheid. Similarly, Israel’s leading firms recorded spectacular gains riding the global arms race and regional conflict, and hence voiced little opposition to the continuation of a war economy at home. Recently, however, these global forces went into reverse, triggering in both countries a shift from depth to breadth. The disinflation associated with rapid globalization undermined gold profit in South Africa, while the end of the Cold War pulled the rug from under the global arms race, drying up the flow of war profit in Israel. In these new conditions, dominant capital groups in the two countries can sustain their differential accumulation only by investing outside their own borders. Capital mobility, though, requires political-economic stability, hence the support of these groups for democracy in South Africa and to regional reconciliation in Israel.

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  • Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2001. "Going Global: Differential Accumulation and the Great U-turn in South Africa and Israel," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 21-55.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:157772
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 1996. "Putting the State In Its Place: US Foreign Policy and Differential Accumulation in Middle-East “Energy Conflicts”," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 608-661.
    2. Rowley, Robin & Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 1988. "Some Aspects of Aggregate Concentration in the Israeli Economy, 1964-1986," MPRA Paper 5395, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    4. Nitzan, Jonathan, 2001. "Regimes of Differential Accumulation: Mergers, Stagflation and the Logic of Globalization," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 226-274.
    5. Shimshon Bichler & Jonathan Nitzan, 1996. "Military Spending and Differential Accumulation: A New Approach to the Political Economy of Armament — The Case of Israel," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 51-95, March.
    6. Veblen, Thorstein, 1904. "Theory of Business Enterprise," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number veblen1904.
    7. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2000. "Capital Accumulation: Breaking the Dualism of "Economics" and "Politics"," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 67-88.
    8. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 1995. "Bringing Capital Accumulation Back In: The Weapondollar-Petrodollar Coalition – Military Contractors, Oil Companies and Middle-East "Energy Conflicts"," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 446-515.
    9. Nitzan, Jonathan, 1998. "Differential Accumulation: Toward a New Political Economy of Capital," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 169-217.
    10. Nitzan, Jonathan, 1992. "Inflation As Restructuring. A Theoretical and Empirical Account of the U.S. Experience," EconStor Theses, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, number 157989, November.
    11. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 1996. "Military Spending and Differential Accumulation: A New Approach to the Political Economy of Armament – The Case of Israel," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 51-95.
    12. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2000. "Inflation and Accumulation. The Case of Israel," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 274-309.
    13. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 1996. "From War Profits to Peace Dividends: The New Political Economy of Israel," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 61-94.
    14. Steedman, Ian, 1975. "Positive Profits with Negative Surplus Value," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 85(337), pages 114-123, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "Manuscripts Don't Burn," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2020/03, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    2. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2012. "The Asymptotes of Power," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 18-53.
    3. Syed Ozair Ali, 2012. "Power, Profits and Inflation: A Study of Inflation and Influence in Pakistan," Working Papers id:4693, eSocialSciences.
    4. Syed Ozair Ali, 2011. "Power, Profits and Inflation: A Study of Inflation and Influence in Pakistan," SBP Working Paper Series 43, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department.
    5. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2018. "Arms and Oil in the Middle East: A Biography of Research," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 418-440.
    6. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2006. "New Imperialism or New Capitalism?," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1-86.
    7. McMahon, James, 2021. "Reconsidering Systemic Fear and the Stock Market: A Reply to Baines and Hager," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 2(1), pages 30-70.
    8. Nitzan, Jonathan, 2001. "Regimes of Differential Accumulation: Mergers, Stagflation and the Logic of Globalization," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 226-274.
    9. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2017. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2017/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    10. Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2018. "The CasP Project: Past, Present, Future," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(3), pages 1-39.
    11. Ali, Syed Ozair, 2011. "Power, Profit and Inflation: A Study of Inflation and Influence in Pakistan," EconStor Preprints 157853, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    12. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "Growing through Sabotage: Energizing Hierarchical Power," Review of Capital as Power, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism, vol. 1(5), pages 1-78.
    13. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2020. "The Capital as Power Aproach: An Invited-then-Rejected Interview with Shimshon Bichler and Jonathan Nitzan," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2020/02, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    14. Muhammad Akmal, 2011. "Inflation and Relative Price Variability," SBP Research Bulletin, State Bank of Pakistan, Research Department, vol. 7, pages 1-9.
    15. Bichler, Shimshon & Nitzan, Jonathan, 2017. "Oil and Blood in the Orient, Redux," EconStor Preprints 172198, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.

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