Here's a bit more detailed description of Marxist
theory or analysis of imperialism, since earlier wu
s have already scratched its surface. As a disclaimer let's mention that this is not
necessarily something I agree with but I just wrote it because I think I know it well enough. The majority of the wu
is just quotes and my interpretations of what Finnish researcher Jyrki Käkönen
I won't go into forms of imperialism before WWII because the analyses doesn't differ that much. I just want to mention that sferics put it well down saying imperialism consists of both economic and military powers.
Vladimir Ilyitsh Uljanov, better known as Lenin, was the one who contributed a lot for marxist theory of imperialism. It should be mention that his theory is not printed only in his pamflet "Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism" but the core ideas are examined in detail in "Notebooks on Imperialism". Imperialism is the natural consequence of capitalism because its inherent nature of expansion. Military presence and invasions are just certain means for capitalism to expand.
Lenin said that financial capital takes over the capital tied in production. George Soros triumphes but Henry Ford plays only a minor role compared to him. At the moment we can see how the finance capital reorganizes both production and markets. The importance of State diminishes as the capital expanses under the abbreviations of NAFTA, EMU, GATT and others. We may note that the "lead time" of financial capital converges to zero whereas capital bound in material products has certain physical limits. Therefore financial capital is the one to conquer markets first. It happened in Eastern Block after the Soviet collapse too: There wasn't that much material investments but western capital bought existing production and first and foremost it took control over the natural resources of Russia.
Late-marxists interested in the concept of imperialism cannot ever pass the foreign policy of USA. The expansion of NATO was dictated by Clinton without asking their allies beforehand. Somalia goes for the example of US control over United Nations - UN is handcuffed if it tries to do something against US interests. NATO involved in Bosnia mainly because presidential elections were coming closer in USA and Clinton needed to prove his ability as the leader of the world. Kosovo and Serbia were bombed later without asking UN opinion. The blockade of Iraq continues regardless of uneffectiveness - let alone million dead children! "If that was the price it was worth of paying", said Madeleine Albright. 80 small native cultures of Amazonas were crushed to extinction due to overharvesting. A genocide driven by the profit.
Now, Toni Negri and Michael Hardt recently wrote a book "Empire" with the underlying theme that we shouldn't speak about imperialism anymore because there's no room to expand geographically. It was already Rosa Luxemburg who said that capitalism will decay when it cannot expand anymore. But socialists, please, don't you hooray for victory yet! We are living in the phase of capitalism where expansion is qualitative. The privatisation of water resources was striked back in Bolivia by the people but the trend is clear. Quotas for fishing are already sold in some areas of world and libertarists dream about privatisation of oxygene, etc, etc.
But it's not only capital and production that is moving from a country to another. It's also labour. Now, there has been "ethnic" conflicts around the world. Recently they had big ones in UK. Some late-marxist theorists claim that ethnicity is only the surface of the problem. The real problem lies in McJobs and unemployment. Slums and ghettos heaves around megapolis like New York and Mexico City. People construct their identities based on the features that are clearly visible like the color of skin. However, according to theory, removing the certain ethnic groups doesn't remove the problems because they are built in the system. National economies cannot provide the resources to solve the real problems and thus they're "ethniced" and all we have to do is to make up the next excuse for the same problems.