There is a very clever definition about the poseur (in more derogatory plain English the popinjay). The definition goes as follows: a poseur is someone that is good in one thing which he underestimates because he thinks that he is very good in something else in which he is totally useless.
David Harvey is a typical example of such a poseur. He was a very competent economic geographer but he chose to abandon his field of expertise for becoming a self and media-proclaimed doyen in Marxist Political Economy. Since this turn he went from one blunder to the other but each time achieving a tremendous publicity by the media of the frivolous softy Western Left. He endeavoured in economic analysis making absurd and lousy arguments which discredited Marxism (and were easily disparaged by Mainstreamers like Brad DeLong). He then took on to explain Marx and rectify Marxism with equal incompetence.
He meddled with the theory of imperialism proposing his ‘New Imperialism’ thesis. The latter argues that modern imperialism is based on (violent) direct extraction (expropriation) rather than on indirect economic exploitation. In this way he unwarrantedly equated capitalist imperialism with pre-capitalist imperialism. Pre-capitalist imperialism operated within pre-capitalist modes of production. The latter were systems of exploitation based on relations of violence and power; that is on the direct forceful obligation of the exploited classes. A serf was not asked if he wanted to be one; he was obliged to be. On the contrary, capitalism is a system of exploitation based on the economy; that is on indirect economic exploitation. No capitalist obliges a labourer to become his employee (and thus be exploited by the capitalist). The only thing that obliges the latter is his inability to sustain himself otherwise. Harvey’s ‘New Imperialism’ inspired several other equally superficial theorists (for example some Marxisant proponents of ‘financialisation’) in following his utterly erroneous path.
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