Matthew Raphael Johnson deals with the Russian economist Valentin Katasonov (he erroneously refers to him as “Vladimir” at the beginning of the show. Vladimir Katasonov is also a philosopher of some repute. Its an easy mistake to make). As an economist, Katasonov is a historian concerned with the development of not only capitalism, but the “capitalist idea.” Capitalism is a state of mind as much as it is a state of affairs. Largely untranslated from Russian, he’s known only to those who can speak the language. However, he is influential in nationalist and anti-globalist circles.
In this podcast, Katasonov’s ideas on the development of the modernist idea are analyzed in detail. The Eurasianist conception of history posits the confrontation of the “Atlanticist” versus the “Eurasian,” that is, the sea versus the land empire. These are not just facts of geography, but facts of ideology as well.
Capitalism is based on imperialism. This is to say, imperialist governments had to exist prior to capitalism and industrialization. This is because only through the large-scale exploitation of entire nations could the surplus value exist to create industry. Immense sums were needed to create even the rudimentary infrastructure for industrialization. Only empires could afford this. There was never a “national” economy in the industrial world. It was always and inherently internationalist.
Katasonov was born in 1950 and graduated from the Moscow State University’s Institute of International Economic Relations in 1972 in the area of foreign trade. He worked as a financial expert for the UN (1991), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (1993-1996), World Bank (1995-2000), as well as an economic adviser to the Bank of Russia (2000-2010). For 10 years (2000-2010) headed the department of international monetary relations MGIMO. He was once part of the establishment’s financial structure. Now he denounces it.