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Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism Paperback – November 9, 2011
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In this work Lenin sets out to achieve two things; first, to give a concise and scientific explanation of the nature of Imperialism and, secondly, to debate the ideas of influential and long time German Social Democratic Party leader Karl Kautsky who, under the pressure of war helped to lead the capitulation of the majority of his party to the side of the German ruling class.
Advocates for social change familiar with arguments on the "left" blaming the cause of the today's ills on various forms of globalisation, - which is meant to represent a more aggressive and rapacious form of imperialism - will find Lenin's polemic against Kautsky invaluable.
Lenin presents a more than convincing case that what we see today is no more than the normal workings of imperialism and therein lays the source of the problem
Taking in Lenin's five principal features of imperialism starting from the first chapters is essential to understanding his discussion with Kautsky near the end of pamphlet. In fact, it goes a long way to clarifying the world as it is today.
In this book, Lenin is exploring the contradictions inherent in 18th century capitalism, and the resolution capitalism seeks, within its own structures, to resolve the contradiction - or, the negation of the negation - which equals Imperialism. For Lenin, the increased concentration of the means of production, by those who `win' on the `free market' (even if winning means cheating and free market is a misnomer) will rise to a monopoly position. Lenin of course seems spot on about this observation, and this view is now generally accepted, hence trust busting, heavy state regulation, the requirement for too big to fail intervention, etc. Monopoly is a stage of capitalism, we've come to accept it, and Lenin chose to fight against it.
Lenin believes, again rightfully so, that members of an industrial and productive monopoly will begin to sit on the board of directors, intermingle with, and holds strong ties, with monopoly banks, or those that garner profit via `Finance Capital.' Again, this is no surprise today. If you analyze who sits on the board of most of Wall Street's banks, along with GE, Lockheed Martin, Shell, etc, you'll find the same names cropping up. Thus, there is no real democracy in this `free market,' there is influence and oligarchy. A financial oligarchy to be precise.
This oligarch will then be sure to guarantee that finance capital works in its interest, and prevents up-and-comers, from usurping their position, or even damaging their position, as the newest Monopoly Man.Read more ›
This pattern of capitalist development within the state, Lenin argued, was also repeated at the international level. "The supremacy of finance capital over all other forms of capital means the rule of the rentier and of the financial oligarchy; it means the crystallization of a small number of financially "powerful" states from among all the rest." This system was predicated on the export of capital by the great imperialist nations, especially Britain. As financiers in the metropolis sought ever-higher returns, they exported capital across the empire, maintaining peripheral states in subjugation via a system of debenture.Read more ›
In the 1990s I used to read The Globe and Mail, and one of my favorite contributors was Donald Coxe, who had a column in the business section. Coxe is an investment analyst and he manages one or more mutual funds of his own. Recently I was reading an interview with him on BullionVault.com, a British website devoted to buying and selling gold, and in the course of it he mentioned this book by Lenin, praising it as a brilliant analysis of how the business machinations of the European powers led to World War I. Intrigued by this recommendation from a capitalist I respected, I took the plunge and bought my own copy of Lenin’s Imperialism.
Now I’ve read it, and while I think that Mr. Coxe overstated the quality of this book, I did find some valuable ideas in it.
First the negatives: this is a Communist tract that is mainly preaching to the converted. It is filled with the typical rhetorical clutter of name-calling, sarcasm, and ad hominem jabs, all of which severely impair the seeming objectivity and credibility of the author. He spends much time excoriating other Marxist authors for their perversion of Marx’s doctrines. And it doesn’t help that Lenin himself went on to become a dictator and a tyrant.
Allowing for all of that, I found the book to be of definite interest. For one thing, Lenin is comfortable with facts and figures, and he presents a number of short tables showing the growth of industrial and then banking monopolies and cartels in 19th-century Europe and America.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An absolute masterpiece! Lenin's political ideas and theories have successfully transcended time and space. ThanksPublished 1 month ago by BlackHammer
A real masterpiece of its kind. This is how the world was seen hundred years ago. Concentrated to one sentence: "Monopolies, oligarchy, the striving for domination and not for... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Asko Korpela
Lenin's masterpiece! This book is so accurate that his arguments are still applicable to the present world order. Great book!Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
This classic Social Science reading is a must read, even in these times.Published 7 months ago by Leila A.
If you want to know more about the economic conspiracies by the reds such as the decay of capitalism and the formation of cartels and a highly oppressive banking system, this book... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Juan Moore
Lenin's theory of economic parasitism and the rise of cartels and monopolies in the form of banking system is discussed extensively in this classic book! Read morePublished 11 months ago by eric betchel
Lenin's prediction regarding the fall and decay of Capitalism seemed to come true in the 21st century. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Melissa Abraham
The formation of banks that constantly provides capital to different industries made it possible for the banks to monopolize the resources in the sense that the revenue they get is... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Eugenia Blackwell