Foto von Samir Amin
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Research Interests

Political Economy

Research interests

Samir Amin has written more than 30 books including Imperialism & Unequal Development, Specters of Capitalism: A Critique of Current Intellectual Fashions, Obsolescent Capitalism: Contemporary Politics and Global Disorder and The Liberal Virus. His memoirs were published in October 2006.

For Samir Amin (1997), the ascent and decline is largely determined in our age by the following 'five monopolies':

  1. the monopoly of technology, supported by military expenditures of the dominant nations
  2. the monopoly of control over global finances and a strong position in the hierarchy of current account balances
  3. the monopoly of access to natural resources
  4. the monopoly over international communication and the media
  5. the monopoly of the military means of mass destruction

The economic performance over the last few years teaches us an important lesson about the evolving mechanisms of the future Kondratieff cycle, that began in the mid-1980s. Let us recall, that for Dependency and World Systems theory in the tradition of Samir Amin (1975), there are four main characteristics of the peripheral societal formation:

  • the predominance of agrarian capitalism in the 'national' sector
  • the formation of a local bourgeoisie, which is dependent from foreign capital, especially in the trading sector
  • the tendency of bureaucratization
  • specific and incomplete forms of proletarisation of the labor force

In partial accordance with liberal thought, (i) and (iii) explain the tendency towards low savings; thus there will be

  • huge state sector deficits and, in addition, their ‘twin'
  • chronic current account balance deficits

In the peripheral countries. High imports of the periphery, and hence, in the long run, capital imports, are the consequence of the already existing structural deformations of the role of peripheries in the world system, namely by

  • rapid urbanization, combined with an insufficient local production of food
  • excessive expenditures of the local bureaucracies
  • changes in income distribution to the benefit of the local elites (demonstration effects)
  • insufficient growth of and structural imbalances in the industrial sector
  • and the following reliance on foreign assistance

The history of periphery capitalism, Amin argues, is full of short-term 'miracles' and long-term blocks, stagnation and even regression.

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