The Scottish Independence Podcast 1

This is the first Scottish Independence Podcast. This project will be an attempt to discuss some of the real choices coming up for Scotland without the jingoism and, frankly, the silliness, that surrounds much of the debate at the moment.

It is hosted on spreaker and from there you can download it and listen at your leisure, or listen online. This is the link to the show’s page and this is the link to the rss feed. It will shortly be available on itunes as well.

Initially it will be fortnightly but in future hopefully we will be able to do a weekly show.

This first episode is a conversation between Bella contributor Michael Greenwell, who will be hosting the first few episodes, and fellow Bella contributor Donald Adamson who teaches political economy at Cambridge and social science at the open university. He also quite likes Karl Marx.

This is the first part of the interview with Donald Adamson. There will be a second in a later podcast but in between the next guest will be Lallands Peat Worrier.

Comments (7)

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  1. If you want to chat about this on twitter, please use hashtag #scotindypod

  2. sneekyboy says:

    Well done on the podcast. Its always good to hear an argument as well as read it given that not everyone responds to print.

  3. Chris Ferguson says:

    Great work, I really enjoyed the podcast and I look forward to hearing more.

    I’m curious about the relationship between British militarism and its role in sustaining the British balance of payments. What conflict would be an example of this process in action? And how did the UK benefit directly out of that conflict?

    1. Hi Chris,
      Happy you enjoyed it, the next episode is tomorrow.
      Re your question, I think Donald is the man to ask but there is a second part of that interview on the way.

      For your question

  4. Donald Adamson says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for your question. First thing I’d say is that the issue isn’t the balance of payments so much, notwithstanding the question of how the British have financed their current account deficits, but the value of assets and liabilities (and corresponding returns and payments) of British capital’s international investments. Similarly, the question is not how British militarism has sustained the balance of payments but how British capital’s overseas investments requires the British to use their military power, foreign policy and so on to secure environments overseas that are conducive to the exploitation of workers in other regions of the world and advancing the interests of British capital.

    There are a number of ways of addressing these relations from a socialist perspective but the argument I was trying to advance with Michael in the interview is that these relationships provide the most compelling socialist argument for independence, though, of course, there are other good socialist arguments for supporting independence.

    One discussion I found helpful in clarifying my own thinking on some of these relationships is Robert Norfield’s blogpost last year on British economic imperialism:

    http://www.economicsofimperialism.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/economics-of-british-imperialism.html

    Norfield, among other things, challenges the conventional wisdom of the left that Britain is America’s poodle, that British military adventurism can be explained by reference to “delusional” British politicians who have not come to terms with the legacy of empire and so on. His thesis is that the British are very much active imperialists in the world today but it is British economic imperialism that the left needs to identify as the primary agent of British influence in the world and, here, the role of the City of London is crucial.

    Interestingly, Norfield cites Mark Curtis’s book, Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World, Vintage 2003, in his bibliography (available from Word Power Books, £7.99). If you haven’t read Curtis’s book, it would be a good idea to read that first before reading Norfield. Curtis charts the post-war military activities of the British in many regions of the world but, to return to the earlier point, we are better to understand many of these military interventions not in terms of crude military adventurism but as interventions that were necessary to secure a conducive environment for British capital’s exploitation of overseas workers and the advance of the interests of British capital overseas.

    There are many issues for the independence-supporting Scottish left that follow from acknowledging the significance of British economic imperialism – one day I’ll get round to doing a proper blogpost on this, though it’s more of a research programme than a blog! The most obvious one is that while independence would provide the means for Scotland to formally disengage from British foreign policy, what I am arguing for is not so much this formal disengagement but a more radical disengagement from British economic imperialism.

    One of the key problems here is the institutional depth of the nexus of relationships between British and Scottish capital. Even before we get to the question of what kind of political and economic settlement independence would bring, disengaging Scotland from its connectedness to British economic imperialism is not going to be straightforward, but the first step is to encourage the independence-supporting left to engage with these issues, interrogate them and develop answers.

    We do return to some of these questions in the second part of the interview (not sure when this will be available) but I hope this helps a little.

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