Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

Notes from Lenin's (1916) book "Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism":

  • "Imperialism emerged as the development and direct continuation of the fundamental attributes of capitalism in general. But capitalism only became imperialism at a definite and very high stage of its development… Economically, the main thing in this process is the substitution of capitalist monopolies for capitalist free competition. Free competition is the fundamental attribute of capitalism, and of commodity production generally. Monopoly is exactly the opposite of free competition; but we have seen the latter being transformed into monopoly before our very eyes, creating large-scale industry and eliminating small industry, replacing large-scale industry by still larger-scale industry, and finally leading to such a concentration of production and capital that monopoly has been and is the result" (p. 88)
  • "uneven development and wretched conditions of the masses are fundamental and inevitable conditions and premises of this mode of production. As long as capitalism remains what it is, surplus capital will never be utilized for the purpose of raising the standard of living of the masses in a given country, for this would mean a decline in profits for the capitalists" (p. 63)
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Logan Cochrane

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