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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Canada’s location in the world system : reworking the debate in Canadian political economy Burgess, William

Abstract

Canada is more accurately described as an independent imperialist country than a relatively dependent or foreign-dominated country. This conclusion is reached by examining recent empirical evidence on the extent of inward and outward foreign investment, ownership links between large financial corporations and large industrial corporations, and the size and composition of manufacturing production and trade. In each of these areas, the differences between Canada and other members of the G7 group of countries are not large enough to justify placing Canada in a different political-economic status than these core imperialist countries. An historical context for the debate over Canada's current status is provided by archival research on how socialists in the 1920s addressed similar issues. Imperialist status means that social and economic problems in Canada are more rooted in Canadian capitalism and less in foreign capitalism than is generally assumed by left-nationalist Canadian political economy. Given Canada's imperialist status, labour and social movements in Canada should not support Canadian nationalism, e.g., oppose 'free' trade and globalization on this basis.

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