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Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,602 ratings  ·  61 reviews
'Globalisation' is the buzzword of the 1990s. VI Lenin's Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism was one of the first attempts to account for the increasing importance of the world market in the twentieth century. Originally published in 1916, Imperialism explains how colonialism and the First World War were inherent features of the global development of the capitalis ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 20th 1996 by Pluto Press (first published 1916)
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The Communist Manifesto by Karl MarxDas Kapital by Karl MarxThe State and Revolution by Vladimir Ilich LeninThe Jungle by Upton SinclairReform or Revolution by Rosa Luxemburg
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Fug o' Slavia
If you think Ultraimperialism exists, i feel bad for you son, Capitalism's got stages and imperialism's the highest one
It seemed natural to read this immediately after State and Revolution, as together they create a consistent analysis of the major trends of the early 20th Century.

Ultimately, I found this to be the more compelling of the two, probably due to my own preoccupations with imperialism and World War One.

It is famously heavy on statistics, particularly early on, but I didn't find it overwhelming. Lenin is an accomplished enough writer to deploy numbers and tables with skill, stitching them into the fra
This is the second book I’ve read by Lenin. This one’s short, invective, and theoretically sweet. Could a Marxist ask for more…?

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 me
Inside the thicket of familiar Communist polemic are some thought-provoking and still-relevant insights.

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, a British website devoted to buying and selling gold, and in the course of it he mentioned this book by L
Hauntingly accurate in its predictions of finance capital. Eerily prescient of the 2008 bank bailouts and America's overseas adventurism during the last 110+ years. Lenin does a fine job of highlighting the inherent flaws and contradictions of capitalism, and how monopolies and imperialism hurt us all, especially the peoples of abused territories. Many references to economists and historians I am unfortunately unfamiliar with, yet many cited facts and insightful accessible data via charts and g ...more
Dan Richter
Nehme dieses kleine Buch nach fast 30 Jahren als Nebenlektüre zur Stalin-Biografie wieder zur Hand.
Wenn man die teilweise recht verschraubte Analyse auf Sowjetrussland selbst anwendet, erscheint es als das imperialistischste aller Länder, und zwar nach Lenins eigener Definition: Die Industrie ist komplett monopolisiert und mit dem Staat verschränkt, der wirtschaftliche Wettbewerb ist abgeschafft.
Auch geopolitisch lässt sich Sowjetrussland entsprechend einordnen. Was Russland nach dem 1. Weltkrie
I like the book, but it reminds me of a story. I used to teach talented students at Hunter college and one of them, a Russian girl, wrote a book report on this for her political science class. She sought to show how pro-American she was by criticizing all of Lenin's assumptions, and did a respectable job. Little did she know that her Marxist professors at Hunter would be horrified by her analysis. Her professor wrote in the margins to her paper: Can't you see Lenin was right!?!
An excellent discussion of imperialism and capitalism. It's short so it only provides a sketch but it highlights many points which are essential to grasp for leftists today and are often ignored (the inevitability of imperialism, uneven development, labour aristocracy etc). I'm rating it 5 because, even though it's not as developed as you might hope for various reasons and it could obviously be better, it is clear about the important details of capitalist development - it's perceptive, clear and ...more
Manlio Mascareño
Incredible work about how capitalism made its own contradictions due to free market giving as consequence a new stage of economy: Imperialism. Lenin given us a study about how capitalism turned into a imperialism through a researches that he made of bourgeois data using a critical approaching in marxism. This book was made when World War I began and socialism yet was seeing such as new alternative of see the life. Despite of data which Lenin used and the time the book was written this work conta ...more
Anthony D Buckley
One feature of the Marxist tradition, I have always enjoyed, is that of using the arguments of opponents in one’s own case.

Lenin’s essay on Imperialism is maybe the best example of this. Lenin takes the views of the early 20th century avowed imperialists who claimed that, unless the western powers engaged in foreign conquest, then capitalism would collapse. He then argues that this shows the worthlessness of both capitalism and imperialism. It’s a nice turning of the tables.

(I don't need to add
Anthony Zupancic
It is what you expect it to be. Suggest that capitalism has hit a final stage: monopoly capitalism (which differs some from Bhukarin's finance capitalism) and that it drives imperial policy in states. Sees the growth of imperialism as a natural result of the economic system and the final stage before the revolution. Spends a lot of time refuting Kautsky and, oddly, he lauds Hobbson more often than you would suspect. Communist argument is convincing until the end, as always. Worth a quick read if ...more
Mike Edwards
Lenin's analysis here of the problems of late 18th century and early 19th century capitalism are spot-on, and the book is surprisingly short and reader-friendly. Of course, Lenin completely fails to account for the rise of the welfare state and the drastic expansion of democracy, which ultimately undercut his dire predictions. Still, it is definitely worth reading as a look into the motivations that drove one of the 20th century's most influential (terrible, perhaps, but definitely influential) ...more
Eric Blair
En este ensayo publicado en 1917 (hace casi un siglo) Lenin analiza el desarrollo del capitalismo en las principales potencias mundiales desde finales del siglo XIX hasta principios del XX y como este ha desembocado en lo que se conoce como imperialismo. Debo decir que esta lectura me ha sorprendido (como ya me anunció quién me la recomendó y prestó) y me ha resultado extremadamente grata y constructiva. Tanto es así que me la he ventilado ávidamente en poco tiempo.

Vladimir Ilyich empieza descr
jae ryeong sul
Just some random ranting:

Free competition among capitalists gave rise to the concentration of production. This concentration resulted in monopolized cartels, trusts, and, especially, banks. Bankers do not act as a middle man of business anymore, but as an overseer of industrial capitalists to whom they have lent the money. This monopolized bank capital, or finance capital, upon which the life of industry of a nation is dependent, heavily influences colonial policy in partitioning the world, or
Catterson Patterson
It is completely reader friendly, succinct and accessible, though it isn't without a few tokenistic jabs here and there. Though it's a little dire at times, there's a definite sense of grounding, especially in how much data he cites and the fact that it is surprisingly relevant to the 21st century. A valid and well-researched criticism of the capitalist structure, I'm pretty impressed.

(view spoiler)
Lenin's account of early-to-mid 20th century capitalism is incisive and surprisingly well-researched. 'Imperialism' is more of a snapshot of a mechanism appearing at the time than an abstract systemic theory in the vein of Capital, but plenty of the insights have been especially relevant throughout the last few years. Monopoly and finance capital turns capitalism from a decentralized force for (negative) freedom into the yoke of domination itself, driving states to whip up great just wars to obs ...more
Yifan (Evan) Xu (Hsu)



作为社科学的一本重要读物,《帝国主义》的高水准解读不计其数,而且大学生人人必修马列主义课,想必很多人对书中内容都不陌生。尽管如此,这里尝试再对《帝国主义》做个白话文解读,特点有三:一,围绕金融危机,从列宁的话里读出点东西;二、读的是1939年出版的英文版(Global Affairs Publishing
Lucía Vijil Saybe
¿Qué conoces sobre el imperialismo? Aprendí que es la forma más monopolizada del capitalismo, y que en el terreno del capitalismo sólo está el medio de la guerra, para suprimir la desproporción existente entre el desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas y la acumulación del capital y por otra parte la repartición que se hacen las potencias con las "colonias" no países porque si de verdad constituyéramos un país, no seríamos títere de ninguna familia ni de ninguna potencia que hace y deshace lo que ...more
Czarny Pies
Nov 03, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ceux qui s'interessent a l'histoire du XXe siecle
Recommended to Czarny by: Jim Lane
Shelves: political-theory
Dans L’Impérialisme, stade suprême du capitalisme Lenine propose la these qu'il sera possible de faire crouler le capitalisme international en l'attaquant dans ses colonies. Cette idee deviendra un des dogmes de base du regime sovietique et leur a motive a appuyer des mouvements revolutionnaire partout au tiers monde: la Chine, la Cambodge, la Malaysie, le Viet Nam, l'Ethiopie, l'Angola, la Mozambique, le Cuba, l'Ethiopie, etc.

Finallment, l'historie du siecle qui vient de se terminer est diffici
John Mason
As much as I despise the Soviet state that Lenin developed, the material he presents in very familiar, the concentration of capital, both industrial and financial, and the exporting of capital to underdeveloped countries.
this is pretty cool because it talks about the replacement of the free market with the monopolies of large industries and finance capital in germany and britain and that happened exactly and to a greater degree in america and everyone is like waahh i love the free market well guess what buddy it doesnt and will never exist again. capitalism fail
Khalifa Al kuwari
This book is a treatise on how capitalism is expansionist and monopolistic . And that imperialism is a stage of capitalist expansion that strive for more profit and accumulation by colonisation.
This book was written almost 100 years ago, but uncommonly for old texts it very easy to read. Performed as summary with with many links to European authors.
one thing that annoys the holy hell outta me is when lefties run around in the US citing lenin or trotsky or heaven forfend stalin on some local & 21st century problem. I like reading lenin well enough, but the issues addressed in his writings on Russian questions 100 years ago aren't going to be perfectly (or even imperfectly at times) applicable to current questions.

none of that is to suggest that cde. lenin is irrelevant, of course--but rather to nudge some lefties that they might find ot
Thoroughly discredited today, the book is still of tremendous value for scholars.
Sinan Öner
I read Lenin's book, wonderful.
James Tracy
There is quite a bit about Lenin that is hogwash, or at least not applicable to the current situation. This book isn't one of them. It's certainly stood the test of time, almost tragically.

Folks who might have a knee-jerk anti-Lenin reaction to this should at least be able to appreciate the linkage between capital and imperialism. Of course, imperialism has can can exist in non-capitalist economies. Since there's very little in the way of non-capitalist economies these days, this book gains incr
El Galan
Jun 26, 2007 El Galan added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Activists and Economists
This book is perfect for any activist or Economist, Imperialism The Highest Stage Of Capitalism, talks about the Cultural and Politcal and Economic Changes made by a Capitalist Super Power when they're trying to take over other Countries.

This is also a good example of why the War in Iraq is going on right now. Not to mention the 1898 so-called "Spanish American War". Even though the USA really didnt do much except steal the credit from the Rebels at the end of the War.
João Varela
It is a very good book indeed, and a very good collection from Penguin - Great Ideas.
The essay itself explores what V.L. Lenin considers to be the high stage of capitalism - Imperialism. Throughout this Marxist essay, not only does Lenin tries to explore all the related definitions within the social concept of Imperialism, but also does the very good exercise of exposing some of Kautsky's weakness regarding economic criticism on Imperialism.
It is a very good read!
you know what... i guess lenin's analysis about "imperialisme as the highest stage of capitalism" are still relevant for today. especially if we collaborate lenin's ideas with structuralist perspective, such as andre gunder frank, immanuel wallerstein, johan galtung, etc.

i really recommended this book for everyone who want to know exactly the cycle of exploitation in the world today.

"... a spectre haunted Europe. spectre of communism."

m. haripin
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  • Reform or Revolution
  • The Civil War in France
  • The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State
  • The Revolution Betrayed
  • The New Imperialism
Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich (1870-1924) - one of the leaders of the Bolshevik party since its formation in 1903. Led the Soviets to power in October, 1917. Elected to the head of the Soviet government until 1922, when he retired due to ill health.

Lenin, born in 1870, was committed to revolutionary struggle from an early age - his elder brother was hanged for the attempted assassination of Czar Alexande
More about Vladimir Ilich Lenin...
The State and Revolution What Is to Be Done? Left-Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder: A Popular Essay in Marxian Strategy and Tactics Essential Works of Lenin: "What Is to Be Done?" and Other Writings Revolution at the Gates: Zizek on Lenin: The 1917 Writings

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“But suppose, for the sake of argument, free competition, without any sort of monopoly, would develop capitalism trade more rapidly. Is it not a fact that the more rapidly trade and capitalism develop, the greater is the concentration of production and capital which gives rise to monopoly?” 8 likes
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