After the counterrevolution and the overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and the other countries of socialist construction, older opportunist theories have been reproduced and are added to the new ones that attempt to blur, to conceal the basic capital-labour contradiction, but also to undermine the principle of "Proletarian Internationalism".
Amongst other things, the theories concerning the "rich north-poor south", "Metropolis-Periphery", "the golden billion", theories that claim, for example, that the population of the powerful capitalist states have a good life and that only the populations of the capitalist states that have a lower or intermediate position in the imperialist system suffer.
These theories reflect the deep impact of bourgeois views inside the labour movement that reproduce and nourish opportunism and constitute a major retreat from basic communist principles, are an element of the ideological and political crisis of the communist movement.
Capitalism has never and nowhere developed evenly and in a balanced way.
The objective conditions, the different starting points as regards natural resources and economic potential, the advantageous or disadvantageous geographical position, historical circumstances, the antagonisms and imperialist wars as well the timing, frequency and depth of capitalist crises shape different rates of development. Uneven development is an absolute law of capitalism.
For example, the USA, Germany, France, China and Russia occupy a different position in the imperialist system, at a high level of the pyramid, while Greece is in an intermediate position. Each capitalist state has its own place in the system in line with its economic, political and military strength, but each is governed by the laws of the capitalist socio-economic-political formation, in its monopoly stage.
We are referring to the political power of capital and the capitalist ownership of the means of production, the profit criterion as the motor force for development, the social-class structure based on the separation of the capitalist society into a dominant bourgeois class and an exploited working class, the intermediate strata that experience the consequences of the concentration and centralization of capital- a section of them being destroyed or becoming satellites of the monopolies, are common features of all capitalist societies.
Marx in his inaugural address to the International Workingmen's Association, in relation to the development of England in the 19th century mentioned “If you want to know under what conditions of broken health, tainted morals, and mental ruin that “intoxicating augmentation of wealth and power... entirely confined to classes of property”. Everywhere the great mass of the working classes was sinking down to a lower depth, at the same rate at least that those above them were rising in the social scale. In all countries of Europe it has now become a truth demonstrable to every unprejudiced mind, and only decried by those whose interest it is to hedge other people in a fool’s paradise, that no improvement of machinery, no appliance of science to production, no contrivances of communication, no new colonies, no emigration, no opening of markets, no free trade, not all these things put together, will do away with the miseries of the industrious masses; but that, on the present false base, every fresh development of the productive powers of labor must tend to deepen social contrasts and point social antagonisms...”
These crucial points made by Marx were confirmed and reinforced in the era of imperialism that Lenin analysed and has deepened in our period.
Today at a global level wealth is highly concentrated: the richest 10% possesses more than 70% of the total wealth in China, Europe and the USA, while the poorest 50% owns less than 2% and the middle 40% less than 30%.
In the USA wealth is at its most concentrated level since the 1920s. The richest 1% of Americans owns 40% of total household wealth.
The concentration of wealth accelerated even further e.g. in 2018, as 26 billionaires have property equal to that of the income of the poorest half of humanity.
The planets billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, or 2.5 billion dollars a day in 2018, while 3.8 billion people who are the poorest half of the planet's population saw their wealth reduced by 11%, 500 million dollars a day.
The number of billionaires has doubled since the outbreak of the economic crisis in 2008.
The New York Times in relation to the homeless mentions that the students that do not have permanent accommodation, staying in homeless accommodation or with relatives, number 114,659. This number is the highest that has been recorded in the history of the city more than double than the number 2010. Given that the student population of the city's public schools is about 1.1 million, this means that 1 in 10 students are homeless, making New York a champion in this field. There are neighborhoods in New York where 1 in 3 students are homeless (with schools in deprived neighborhoods in the Bronx with 44% of their students homeless).
110 million people in the European Union live under the poverty line. There are over 16 million unemployed while many more are in temporary or part time unemployment. In Germany, the motor force of capitalism in Europe, more than 8 million are employed in so-called mini jobs, with wretched salaries. The retirement ages in Scandinavian countries have increased to 70-74.
These examples and a lot of other data that record capitalist barbarity expose the baselessness of the theory of the "Golden Billion", "Metropolis-Periphery" and related approaches.
The capital-labour contradiction is intensifying internationally. The bourgeoisie both in the developed capitalist countries as well as in countries with a lower level of capitalist development, is increasing its wealth, while not only are they not satisfying the people's needs but the situation of the working class, popular strata is worsening, both in relative and absolute terms. And this is the case everywhere, all over the continent, including the "poorer states" of Africa, Asia and Latin America where the monopoly groups independently or in collaboration with international companies are accumulating enormous capital from the exploitation of the working class. Consequently, the united struggle of the communist and workers parties, the coordination of their activity, has no borders and must be extended all over the world.
In recent years technological-scientific breakthroughs and their application in production have been promoted as a panacea to the impasses of capitalism.
Robotic technology, artificial intelligence, modern information systems, the so-called 4th industrial revolution are being promoted. This is a new level of the development of the productive forces that leads to the reorganization of sectors of the economy, to an increase in productivity.
It is not the first time that the development of the productive forces is accompanied by the cultivation of illusions regarding the solution to the people's problems, detaching the development of technology and science from the exploitative capitalist relations of production, which is the framework that determines the orientation of the productive forces and puts them at the service of the bourgeois class, the profitability and competitiveness of capital.
The competition, for example, between the USA, the EU, the China, Germany, Russia for primacy or the strong presence in sectors of the new technologies, has as a starting point, the interests and needs of the major financial groups, the capitalist economy in general, and of course serve the military-armament programmes and the geostrategic aims.
Reality provides an answer to the main question, who benefits from the development of the productive forces? The monopolies benefit, the working class and the popular strata do not benefit. The producers of the wealth cannot enjoy the results of their work. The new services are very inaccessible, expensive and do not support the people's needs.
The new jobs promised by the defenders of capitalism cannot bypass the causes of unemployment. The vicious cycle of not assimilating younger sections of the labour that want to enter production, the dismissals, part-time and temporary employment, make their mark on all capitalist countries, stronger or weaker. The application of new technologies leads to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of (old) jobs and the new ones are created in conditions of greater exploitation, cheaper labour power and flexible forms of employment. Those that can celebrate are the various elites that fulfill a management role in production and are integrated in the bourgeois class.
With the most modern technological methods we have the increase of employer intimidation, the surveillance of workers' performance, the open violation of their private life, the restriction of free time for participation in trade union, political activity.
This situation answers the supporters of capitalism and the opportunist forces that fantasize about its "humanization" and claim that in the "metropolis" of the system the workers can live well and can reap the benefits of the technological discoveries.
Truly, the workers can live better with the utilization of the achievements of technology and science so that physically demanding work can be reduced, as well as dull routine work, so that working time can be reduced as a whole and free time be increased, with the satisfaction of the expanding needs of the people. But the precondition for this is the overthrow of the exploitative system, the conquest of power by the working class, the socialization of the means of production and scientific central planning, the construction of socialism-communism.
“... there can be no alternative but the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie or the dictatorship of the proletariat. Dreams of some third way are reactionary, petty-bourgeois lamentations. That is borne out by more than a century of development of bourgeois democracy and the working-class movement in all the advanced countries, and notably by the experience of the past five years. This is also borne out by the whole science of political economy, by the entire content of Marxism, which reveals the economic inevitability, wherever commodity economy prevails, of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie that can only be replaced by the class which the very growth of capitalism develops, multiplies, welds together and strengthens, that is, the proletarian class”.
The uneven development of the capitalist system and the states that constitute it with the monopolies at their core objectively determines the unequal relations that characterize the system and its states. They are connected in the framework of the internationalization of capital through relations of dependence and uneven interdependence, due to the differing levels of capitalist development, the differing economic, military and political strength.
In this environment, we see the problem of the ceding sovereign rights in line with the interests of the bourgeois class in order to have benefits from the accession to the imperialist unions and organizations, like the EU, NATO with the aim of maintaining their power and the perpetuation of capitalism.
In conclusion, we can say that unevenness in international relations amongst powerful capitalist states and others with an intermediate position in the imperialist system is a component of the functioning of capitalism which will be eradicated with its overthrow, with the construction of the socialist-communist society. Understanding this basic issue contributes to the maturation of the political consciousness of the working class and the popular strata is a part of the strategy of the communist parties. Because otherwise, by detaching the issue of dependence and uneven interdependence, sovereignty or independence in conditions of occupation, from the struggle for socialism, the strategic goal is lost and this is the basis for deviations, utopian solutions in the framework of capitalism e.g. with governments that manage its laws.