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Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,256 ratings  ·  49 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 May 20th 1996 by Pluto Press (first published 1916)
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CB
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...more
Paul
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 BullionVault.com, a British website devoted to buying and selling gold, and in the course of it he mentioned this book by L...more
Erik
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!?!
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...more
Will
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
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
Achille M
Read this in two sittings -- a must read to understand modern monopoly capitalism (what is often referred to as "corporatism") and how this links to seemingly (to the liberal) senseless foreign wars and interventions.
Maxx
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 Xu
最近翻了一本书《资本的流动和危机》,说随着全球化进程的深入,学者意识到资本的流动增强同时,金融危机也同步的频繁出现。在解释这个现象时,学者分成两派,一派说是众多第三方原因导致,一派说是资本流动本身导致危机。书对两派的观点,都进行了论证。

当时读到那里,依稀感觉学者所讨论的问题在列宁的《帝国主义-资本主义的最高阶段》已经得到了解答。元旦假期中翻了一下《帝国主义》,发现这本1917年出版的书确实对100年以后的各类金融危机都做了预测和解释。

另一方面,最近也与朋友谈到阴谋论的话题。关于阴谋论,当年曾问过学校的一个老教授,他的回答是历史的真相是介于官方说法和阴谋论之间的,而列宁的这本书揭露了不少真相和本质,恰好使它处在这个位置上;从某种层面上,甚至觉得这本书是大部分阴谋论的终结读物。

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...more
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
Tombom P
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
Sean Cox-marcellin
It was interesting, albeit at times dry, and heavy on, *gasp*, figures. Interesting to see his take on Imperialism, and how, in full knowledge of the events to follow, it and the "financial oligarchies" were involved in the next 50 years of wars.
Chris Tempel
Lots of people are talking about the word imperialism, used in a social way, but I'm a technical person, so I had to go back to this and read it for the first time.
Freicoin
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.
Vheissu
Thoroughly discredited today, the book is still of tremendous value for scholars.
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...more
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!
mharipin
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."

regards.
m. haripin
Roger Cottrell
Still the departure for understanding the dynamics of finance and monopoly capitalism in the modern world if definitely not a last word. As all contemporary theories of capitaliust globalisation (Chomsky et al) are based on Bkharin's revision of what Lenin wrote on the subject (abstracting the existance of monopoly from the general laws of motion of capitalism described by Marx) they are of course all cxompletely WRONG!
John Hatley
This book is remarkable in several ways: it describes the evolution of capitalism in ways that are astonishingly familiar today. The raw materials may have changed from coal to oil and nuclear energy, the industries may have changed somewhat from the age of the locomotive to the space age and computer technology, but the basic principles apply just as much today as they did over 100 years ago when Lenin wrote this!
Dustin
Vladimir Lenin's Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism is as relevant now as it was when he wrote it in 1939. Capitalism has proven to be inefficient, irrational, unsustainable, and unfair. There are enough resources on Earth to provide everyone with basic living necessities, but capitalism has failed to do it, so it’s time to evolve into something more humane.
Bryan Mitchell
2 Stars for the ideas. 0.5 for the writing

While Vladimir Lenin explains the reasons why he had to cut particular sections in different editions, the various quotation droppings seldom transition into advocating for his own ideas. Even as a political pamphlet, this leaves much to be desired since the title and premise promise so much more.
Bookworm1858
Read for class, not by choice so I didn't really like it. I also don't like Lenin's focus on economics to the exclusion of everything else because I believe imperialism is more complicated than that. It's pretty short though if you want a brief introduction to some of Lenin's thoughts.
Scott
I'm not a big fan of Marx or Lenin, but this wasn't a bad read. His sectarianism towards Kautsky and other Social Democrats gets old really quickly. However, despite my criticism, I do think he analysis of imperialism is a useful tool in understanding it and acting against it.
candace madera
I'm not even sure I should admit that I've read this. I just remember thinking how boring this was and how I would never have picked this out myself but it was required reading for an International Business class I was taking at the time. Oy.
Jayden gonzalez
actually lenin, i think youll find that imperialism is a form of militant government, and capitalism is an economic system. hth. signed, an undergraduate majoring in sonic the hedgehog
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104630
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
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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