Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Gl - Gn   —


GLASS-STEAGALL ACT
A law passed by the U.S. Congress in 1933 which separated the more risky forms of banking (“investment banking”) from ordinary commercial and savings banking. It was recognized in the
Great Depression that the combination of these two forms of banking had aggravated the financial aspects of that great economic crisis, and led to the failure of many more banks and the loss of savings deposits for millions of people.
        However, by the 1990s the ruling class had forgotten this lesson. Their unscientific and totally erroneous economic theory convinced them that great economic crises could no longer occur in the capitalist system. This, combined with their enormous greed and desire to gamble with people’s savings, led to the repeal of many important provisions of Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 at the hands of the Republican-controlled Congress and a Democrat President (Bill Clinton) who remarked: “This [repeal] legislation is truly historic. It is true the Glass-Steagall law is no longer appropriate to the economy in which we live.” [“Clinton Signs Legislation Overhauling Banking Laws”, Dow Jones News Service, Nov. 12, 1999.] A mere 8 years later the “Great Recession” began (the early stages of a new depression), and the renewed merger of ordinary banking and investment banking once again greatly aggravated the financial aspects of the crisis. (It is true however, that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act was mostly just a formality; the banking industry had pretty much been ignoring it—with the tacit approval of the government—for at least a decade.)

GLBT
A much less-common variation on the acronym
LGBT, referring collectively to people who are lesbian, gay (homosexual), bisexual or transgender.

GLOBAL FINANCIAL ASSETS
The total
financial assets owned by anyone or any company or government organization over the entire world. In 2007 the global financial assets were estimated to be $196 trillion by the McKinsey Global Institute (Mapping Global Capital Markets: Fifth Annual Report, October 2008).

GLOBAL GDP
The total
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for all the countries of the world, for a given year. The Global GDP for 2008 was $61.3 trillion. However, in 2009 the global GDP dropped for the first time in decades, by 2.4% in real terms, to just $58.2 trillion. It then expanded again in succeeding years.
        However, as the chart at the right shows, this growth rate of world GDP has been gradually declining again in the aftermath of the 2008-9 financial crisis. That is to say, the world economic crisis is still developing. Note also that as of the 2nd quarter of 2013 China alone is responsible for about half of all the GDP growth in the entire world! This demonstrates how “dangerously dependent on China” the world is at present (as the Economist noted on Sept. 21, 2013), and how really weak the rest of the world capitalist economy has become.

“GLOBAL SOUTH”
See:
NORTH VS. SOUTH THEORY

GLOBAL WARMING
The rise in the average surface temperature of the Earth due to the emission of certain gases into the atmosphere which cause it to more efficiently trap the radiant energy from the sun, leading to a result similar to what occurs in a greenhouse. The most important such gas is carbon dioxide, much of which is now being released into the atmosphere by humans burning fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum.
        See also:
CLIMATE CHANGE

GLOBALIZATION   [Economics]
‘Globalization’ is a much ballyhooed term in recent decades, but with capitalist roots that go back for centuries. There are a variety of meanings which the term can have or include, such as:
        •   The fairly rapid expansion of capitalism from its earliest centers of development in a few countries to almost all other countries and to virtually every corner of the world;
        •   The tendency toward the development of a single world market, where commodities from one country can be sold in other countries and where a more or less uniform world market price develops for commodities (allowing, however, for differing transportation costs, tariffs added, etc.);
        •   Reflecting this, the great expansion of world trade, and also the growing importance of the export of capital;
        •   The international integration of production of many of the more complicated products, wherein more and more products include components from many other countries; and
        •   The formation of international cartels, transnational coporations (TNCs) or
multinational corporations (MNCs), and a tendency toward oligopoly even internationally (though much less thoroughly so than within individual major capitalist countries).
        [More to be added... ]
        See also sub-topics below, and LOGISTICS REVOLUTION,   ULTRA-IMPERIALISM

“The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.
        “The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.
        “The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.” —Marx & Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, Ch. I: MECW 6:487-8.

GLOBALIZATION — Exaggeration Of
Although the degree of the globalization of capital in the imperialist era is considerable, and of considerable importance both economically and politically, there have been tendencies at various times to overstate or exaggerate its extent and to forget that the basic situation in modern capitalism is still separate imperialist states ruled by competing bourgeoisies, and with economies which are still in important ways largely independent of each other.
        The first thing to note is that the degree of globalization of capitalism varies from one period to another, and not always by increasing. There have been two main periods of greatly expanding globalization in the history of capitalist imperialism, and both have occurred towards the end of what were overall long periods of development leading up to periods of crisis. The first period of the major expansion of globalization was the couple decades leading up to World War I. But not only did that war strongly interrupt and to a considerable degree reverse that strong globalization trend, but perhaps just as much so did the
Great Depression of the 1930s that followed a decade after World War I. During this period capitalist economies seriously weakened, tariffs increased, and world trade and other aspects of globalization (such as the export of capital) actually declined until the end of the Second World War.
        After World War II a gradual expansion of world trade began again, along with the new huge spurt in the export of capital from the U.S. and later on also from the other major economies (including Britain, Japan and Germany). But especially from the 1980s on the expansion of all the various aspects of globalization picked up greater speed and strength. This was the second major period of expanding globalization.
        Although some theorists, especially those representing the bourgeoisie, began to view this as a “permanent” new feature of world capitalism, there is already important evidence that a new decline in many aspects of globalization has been developing. The first serious jolt occurred with the world financial crisis in 2008-9 and the first decline in world trade in decades. But there are also other indications (as mentioned in the quotation below), and all this will become a much more serious weakening of globalization as the world overproduction crisis continues to develop toward a new intractable depression.

Globalization Going Backwards: The world is less connected than it was in 2007.
        “How integrated countries are with the rest of the world varies more than you might expect. And the world is less integrated in 2012 than it was back in 2007. These are the conclusions of the latest DHL Global Connectedness Index, which found that the Netherlands is the most globalized of 140 countries (see chart)....
        “The index measures both the depth of a country’s connectedness (i.e., how much of its economy is internationalized) and its breadth (how many countries it connects with). The economic crisis of 2008 made connections both shallower and narrower. The depth measure has rebounded since 2009, and is now 10% higher than it was in 2005—though it remains below what it was in 2007. But the breadth of connectedness has continued to slip, and is now 4% lower than in 2005.
        “At first, as the economic crisis took hold, both trade and capital flows became less globalized, but since 2009 trade has bounced back whereas capital flows have continued to become less globalized, says DHL. This seems to reflect a fall in the number of places into which companies from any given country are willing to put their foreign direct investment.
        “... Mr. [Pankaj] Ghemawat [of the IESE Business School, who oversees the index] conducts surveys of popular views of globalization. He finds that people consistently assume that the world is much more interconnected than it really is.” —The Economist, Dec. 22, 2012, p. 105.

GLUT
See:
OVERPRODUCTION

GNOSTICISM
See also:
DEMIURGE

Gnostics—followers of mystical, religious-philosophical doctrines during the early centures of our era. They tried to unite Christian theology and various theses of Platonic, Pythagorean and Stoic philosophy.” —Note 107, LCW 38.

GMO
See:
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM

GNP
See:
GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT




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