Excerpts from: David Harvey - The 'New' Imperialism: Accumulation by Dispossession 2004
'the US has in recent years with its huge increase in indebtedness absorbed surplus capitals chiefly from East and South East Asia but also from elsewhere. The aggregate result, however, is increasingly fierce international competition as multiple dynamic centers of capital accumulation emerge to compete on the world stage in the face of strong currents of overaccumulation. Since they cannot all succeed in the long run, either the weakest succumb and fall into serious crises of devaluation, or geopolitical confrontations erupt in the form of trade wars, currency wars and even military confrontations (of the sort that gave us two world wars between capitalist powers in the twentieth century). In this case it is devaluation and destruction (of the sort that the US financial institutions visited on East and South East Asia in 1997-8) that is being exported'
'Wholly new mechanisms of accumulation by dispossession have also opened up. The emphasis upon intellectual property rights in the WTO negotiations (the so-called TRIPS agreement) points to ways in which the patenting and licensing of genetic materials, seed plasmas, and all manner of other products, can now be used against whole populations whose environmental management practices have played a crucial role in the development of those materials. Biopiracy is rampant and the pillaging of the world’s stockpile of genetic resources is well under way, to the benefit of a few large multinational companies. The escalating depletion of the global environmental commons (land, air, water) and proliferating habitat degradations that preclude anything but capital-intensive modes of agricultural production have likewise resulted from the wholesale commodification of nature in all its forms. The commodification of cultural forms, histories and intellectual creativity entails wholesale dispossessions – the music industry is notorious for the appropriation and exploitation of grassroots culture and creativity. The corporatization and privatization of hitherto public assets (like universities) to say nothing of the wave of privatization of water and other public utilities that has swept the world, constitute a new wave of ‘enclosing the commons’. As in the past, the power of the state is frequently used to force such processes through even against the popular will. As also happened in the past, these processes of dispossession are provoking widespread resistance and this now forms the core of what the anti-globalization movement is about.27 The reversion to the private domain of common property rights won through past class struggles (the right to a state pension, to welfare, or to national health care) has been one of the most egregious of all policies of dispossession pursued in the name of neo-liberal orthodoxy.'