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Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  2,148 Ratings  ·  84 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

Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 1st 1965 by China Books & Periodicals (first published 1916)
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Fug o' Slavia
Apr 04, 2015 Fug o' Slavia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you think Ultraimperialism exists, i feel bad for you son, Capitalism's got stages and imperialism's the highest one
Apr 05, 2015 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 07, 2012 C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 16, 2011 Erik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 21, 2012 Manlio Mascareño rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 03, 2012 W rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
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
Shahin Ghaeminejad
پاسخی است به آراء "رفرمیستی" کائوتسکی درباره امپریالیسم

لنین امپریالیسم را مرحله یا فازی از سرمایه داری می داند که در آن بازار آزاد، رفته رفته جای خود را به انحصارطلبیِ تراست ها و کارتل های بین المللی می دهد. در این مرحله، صدور سرمایه از صدور کالا پیشی می گیرد و "تقسیم جهان" به بالاترین مرتبه ی خود می رسد.

کتاب در میانه ی جنگ جهانی اول نوشته شده و به خوبی قادر است ریشه های وقوع این جنگ را به "نگاه حسرت آمیز سرمایه داران آلمانی به مستعمرات بریتانیا و فرانسه" پیوند بدهد.

صد سال از نگارش کتاب می گذرد؛
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
Mar 02, 2017 Ardavan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a painful read not because of the style of writing or because I disagree with it but because the context describes imperialism in a way that makes me rage.
Although more than a century old this book can accurate describe the events that are happening around the world now and unfortunately almost all of the predictions have already taken place.
My only problems with this hugely significant text were the single point of view and the lack of critique to a number of statements.
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
tom bomp
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
Anthony 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
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
James Tracy
Feb 22, 2008 James Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
João Varela
Jun 06, 2013 João Varela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
Mar 25, 2016 Sergi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceso de datos y nombres anacrónicos que nos llegan a abrumar de tal manera que la lectura puede resultar un tanto farragosa. Aun así, consigue transmitir su objetivo principal: demostrarnos que el sistema capitalista lleva inherente en su propia idiosincrasia la acumulación progresiva del capital en unas pocas manos, es decir, el capitalismo lleva al imperialismo.
بهمن بهمن
Feb 24, 2016 بهمن بهمن rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
پرت و پلاهای عجیب و غریب مارکسیستی به روایت لنین
Jayden gonzalez
Jun 17, 2013 Jayden gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Eric Blair
Oct 03, 2015 Eric Blair rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 16, 2017 Kenna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
not a fan of the style in which lenin writes tbh, lenin mainly mentions in this small book that imperialism often is interconnected with colonialism, and you simply can't oppose one without the other. take for example a country with a history of colonialism like britain, britain is more often than not going to be an imperialist nation. this book also mentions that if you're a socialist, you can't be a socialist without first opposing colonialism & imperialism. not a huge fan of lenin's work, ...more
Lance Carrico
May 07, 2017 Lance Carrico rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably Lenin's best book of all time.
Even more valid today than when it was written.
Eric Pecile
Oct 08, 2016 Eric Pecile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great primary document commenting on empire in the 20th century. In some ways still a relevant critique of imperialism today.
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 Affair
Moataz Iraqui
Feb 27, 2017 Moataz Iraqui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

في المجتمع الرأسمالي، في حالة تطوره الأكثر ملاءمة، نرى ديموقراطية تامة لهذا الحد أو ذاك في الجمهورية الديموقراطية. ولكن هذه الديموقراطية مضغوطة على الدوام في إطار ضيق من الاستثمار الرأسمالي، وهي تبقى لذلك على الدوام، في الجوهر، ديموقراطية للأقلية، للطبقات الموسرة وحدها، الأغنياء وحدهم. إن الحرية في المجتمع الرأسمالي تبقى على الدوام تقريبا على ما كانت عليه الحرية في الجمهوريات اليونانية القديمة: حرية لمالكي العبيد، فالعبيد الأجراء الحاليون يظلون، بحكم ظروف الاستثمار الرأسمالي، رازحين تحت أثقال ال
jae ryeong sul
Dec 05, 2014 jae ryeong sul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Benjamin Britton
Feb 06, 2017 Benjamin Britton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“But underlying this interlocking, its very base, are the changing social relations of production. When a big enterprise assumes gigantic proportions, and, on the basis of an exact computation of mass data, organises according to plan the supply of primary raw materials to the extent of two-thirds, or three-fourths, of all that is necessary for tens of millions of people; when the raw materials are transported in a systematic and organised manner to the most suitable places of production, someti ...more
Oct 06, 2013 Maxx rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
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
Apr 19, 2016 J.P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's easy to see why this is one of his more popular works. Just over 100 pages depending on which version of the book you get, it clarifies a lot despite its brevity. Lenin makes it clear the next step for capital. Imperialism is made easy because most industries are essentially loose monopolies controlled by a few, who then influence governments across the globe to work in their favor. Different things play different roles to achieve the same end. Banks with their control of loans & intere ...more
Yaser Maadat
Dec 31, 2015 Yaser Maadat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
وصف عبقري من قبل لينين لظواهر الامبريالية الرأسمالية من ناحية احتكاريتها و أشكالها "الكارتيلات،السنديكات...الخ" ناهيك عن نشوء دور خاص احتكاري للبنوك فيها،وصولا الى التوسع الامبريالي الاستعماري لها،حيث يحلل لينين هذه الظواهر تحليلا اقتصاديا سياسيا معمقا معتمدا على آراء العديد من الخبراء الاقتصاديين سواء كانوا مناصرين للامبريالية أو معادين لها،اشتراكيين كانوا أو برجوازيين.
يستمر لينين في هجومه الشرس على كارل كاوتسكي واصفا إياه بزعيم الانتهازيين المرتد عن الماركسية،محاولا تفنيد و دحض أي دور له في ال
Feb 05, 2016 Chazz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lenin’s work of, “Imperialism, Highest Stage of Capitalism” gives a unique perspective of a delicate time in human history. Especially a unique perspective on the economics of the imperialist age of man. Also, in Lenin’s own right, he gives his critique of the age and its implications on people’s who lived in, or under, imperial forces. This is also his sort of thesis on one of the evolutionary paths that the socio-economic system of Capitalism can journey.

Personally, I loved this book because o
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  • The Civil War in France
  • Reform or Revolution
  • The Revolution Betrayed
  • The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State
  • The New Imperialism
  • Reading Capital
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 Ilyich Lenin...

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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?” 11 likes
“This transformation of competition into monopoly is one of the most important—if not the most important—phenomena of modern capitalist economy,” 1 likes
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