Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism” as Want to Read:
Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  4,387 ratings  ·  246 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,387 ratings  ·  246 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism
Fug o' Slavia
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you think Ultraimperialism exists, i feel bad for you son, Capitalism's got stages and imperialism's the highest one ...more
Jun 07, 2012 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
The Essentials:
--The economics of Imperialism:
a) Monopoly Capitalism: stage of concentrated production reached in late 19th century, as it dominates profitability (efficiency, resilience during capitalist crises), while control/profit remains private. Petty bourgeoisie want to return to “free competition”, while “Tens of thousands of huge enterprises are everything; millions of small ones are nothing.”
b) Finance Capitalism: concentration of banks and industry, given the growing use of finance ca
Dec 16, 2011 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!?! ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Why isn't this book present in high school curriculums? It clearly explains what the present system is, and how its going to end up. Self-destruction, wars and depletion of natural resources. And for what so a few parasites can derive imaginary wealth? Indeed - human being claims to have bigger brain yet not that different from a yeast. ...more
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
Yogy TheBear
Oct 02, 2017 rated it did not like it
First I need to rant a little:
Dear Lenin, I am against the state; I am against imperialism, militarism, colonialism, statism; I am against interventionism discrimination(positive and negative) of economic agents by the state that breeds long standing cartels and monopolies; I am for a free market, for liberty and for private property. My position can be described and falls into the category of libertarianism, a position you never thought about and you may consider absurd. But my position, althro
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Damn near prophetic.

Imperialism reads like Vladimir Lenin’s attempt to write a sort of addendum, or update to Marx’s Das Kapital. To provide a materialist, statistically-derived examination of the ways capitalism changed between the time of Marx, up to the first world war.

That sounds like a dry theoretical project, but what Lenin achieves here is almost scary. This book is possibly the first coherent statement about the nature of capitalism once it transcends specific national origins and become
Manlio Mascareño
Jun 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jonathan Hinckley
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant and brief. An essential read which is as prophetic as the work it is expanding on.

Lenin succincly brings Das Kapital up to date with a close examination of the conglomeration of Capital outside of the bounds of 'free competition', the dominant part played by financial oligopoly and the final expression of monopoly in the total partition of the world... the backdrop, of course, to World War One.

Most significantly, integral to Lenin's analysis is that the transformation of the motion of
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very important and topical book. It is also hard to read, especially in the first chapters, due to the lengthy tables and financial data.

All those numbers serve Lenin in order to demonstrate his analysis of capitalism on the eve of the First World War; the Imperialism. Corporations have been united and became large monopolies, owned and financed by big banks and investment funds. Free market is officially dead in large economic scales, and the banking-industrial complex in close coope
Gerwin van der Linden
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Vladimir Vasilyev
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
really touch me
Nov 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays, politics
Quite a nice book, its main strength lies in its systematisation of the operation and etiology of monopolies and other forms of market domination that enable the concentration of power in a few leaders/distinct groups of leaders. It mentions several studies that report back on numbers which are relevant in defining what exactly is the establishment of the monopoly and how it can be observed by analysing figures pertaining to a nation's ability to expand its reach, capital and influence through f ...more
Mike C.
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A worthwhile read wherein Lenin presents a scientific study of trade statistics to outline the two phases in the history of industrial capitalism - (1) The phase of free competition; and (2) The phase of imperialism. Lenin identifies the phase of imperialism as starting in the late 1800's and continuing to present day (the time of this writing being 1916).

Lenin presents a clear assessment, with statistical data from contemporary bourgeois economists, to explain this transition of capitalism from
tom bomp
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book is now way more topical than it was a hundred years ago when it was written. Vladimir Lenin describes with simple examples the essense of uncontrollable capitalism and why it never ends good. If our world was impartial and equitable this book would be essential in every economic university and speciality as one of the first and basic books in a course of economic science.
Unfortunately lobbists of the big bourgeoisie don't want to teach, but want to manipulate and make brainwashed puppe
Jayden gonzalez
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: polysci-read
Excellent. Truly an exceptional examination of Imperialism. Lenin lived at the begining of Imperialism and his analysis still rings true today. Financial monopoly still rules the world. Please read and enjoy this book.
Apr 19, 2016 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 & interest r ...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
James Tracy
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lenin's explanation of the development from free-market capitalism into imperialist monopoly is at once terrifying, and after reading, glaringly obvious. The intrinsic connection between big banks, big industry, and the state is insidious but also wholly necessary for the development of imperialism, and the destruction of the less developed countries in the world. Whilst we may think that the 'Empire' is dead, the division of the world into the hands of monopoly giants is more all-consuming than ...more
João Varela
Jun 06, 2013 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 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Economic essentialism at its finest.
Nate Bohn
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Clear, heavy on figures
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
What an amazing analysis! So much of it has come true already.
Dec 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: commie-readings
I read it about 6-7 years ago when I was going through the transition of becoming a communist. It left me with so much fuel that to this day I am still using it to not feel small living in the midst of the exploitative death cult called Capitalism. Lenin was not only a great thinker and a comrade, but also was a fantastic writer. And Everyone should read him.

PS: There is a breed of dumbasses who say they don't read theory because it's hard and boring or written by dead white men. Reading theory,
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
  • The Foundations of Leninism
  • Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism
  • On Contradiction
  • Dialectical and Historical Materialism
  • Reform or Revolution
  • Critique of the Gotha Program
  • The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State
  • Wage-Labour and Capital/Value, Price and Profit
  • The Principles of Communism
  • On Practice and Contradiction
  • On Practice
  • Combat Liberalism
  • Wage Labour and Capital
  • Wages, Price and Profit
  • Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung
  • Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat
  • Capital, Vol. 1: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

Thirty-four years after the publication of her dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood returns to continue the story of Offred. We talked...
367 likes · 59 comments
“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?” 14 likes
“Capitalism in its imperialist stage leads directly to the most comprehensive socialisation of production; it, so to speak, drags the capitalists, against their will and consciousness, into some sort of a new social order, a transitional one from complete free competition to complete socialisation. Production becomes social, but appropriation remains private. The social means of production remain the private property of a few. The general framework of formally recognised free competition remains, and the yoke of a few monopolists on the rest of the population becomes a hundred times heavier, more burdensome and intolerable.” 6 likes
More quotes…