This landmark text by Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy is a classic of Monopoly Capital and millions of other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more. The authors of Monopoly Capital,[1] Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, attempt to overcome “the stagnation of Marxian social science” by shifting the focus of. Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital. New York and. London: Monthly Review Press, Pp. ix + Harry Magdoff. New School for Social .

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Socialism portal United States portal. The book was written in a popular style with an attempt to get at a large audience. Nothing so clearly explained the current stage of capitalism, though to understand capitalism fully it was clear one had to go back to Marx and the whole socialist tradition. If this concept is at all valid, it is so regardless of whether the actual capital structure is competitive, monopolistic or both.

The size of this quantity determines sewezy extent to which production has ceased being capital bsran, and the growth of production by way of taxation indicates the decline of the capitalist system as a profit-determined private enterprise system.

Monthly Review MR was part on this side of the Atlantic of the same constellation of seezy as what is now known as the First New Left in Britain, from which the term arose.

His theory of capital competition is at the same time a theory of monopoly, and monopoly, in this sense, always remains competitive, for a non-competitive monopoly capitalism implies the end of market relations such as sustain private-property capitalism.

But the accumulation process is at the same time a capital concentration process, and just as it tends to play the accumulating capital into fewer hands in each nation, so does it concentrate the world capital into a few countries.

Cover of the edition.


It was thus the original common ground within URPE. To think once more in extremes: Marx lived in a highly competitive capitalism, to be sure, and he knew that prices, not values, determine market events — even though market events are themselves circumscribed by the social relations as value relations. Because the displaced working population would still be there, it captial have to be supported out of the automated production; capital would feed labour instead of labour feeding capital.

Economic TheoryMarxismPolitical Economy. Where and when this is no longer possible, investments will be unprofitable and consequently will not be made. But this does not alter the fact that the utilisation of productive resources by government is the utilisation of privately-owned productive resources. The authors are under no illusion that they have succeeded in exhausting the subject. The growing national debt is then usually compared with the growing national income, which substantiates the claim that deficit-financing will be accompanied by a rising national income.

In his work, monopoly appears only occasionally, as a remnant of a mercantilist past or as a shadow cast by a future he did not expect capitalism to live to see. He taught economics at Harvard until and was visiting professor of economics at Cornell, Stanford, and the New School.

This landmark text by Paul Baran and Sweezj Sweezy is a classic of twentieth-century radical thought, a hugely influential book that continues to shape our understanding of modern capitalism. Kolko introduced me to the crucial empirical basis of the theory in excess capacity statistics and I carried out a detailed study of the various measures in this area, which had the effect of convincing me of the concrete basis of the analysis.

True, government purchases actually do increase production generally, for the non-marketable final products require intermediary productive activities, such as the production of raw materials, the consumption needs of increased employment, and the required additions and changes in the productive machinery. I got caught up in cpaital.

Monthly Review | Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order

According to Marx, however, accumulation is characterised by: Considering society as a whole, however, it is only the private sector which brings forth surplus-value and profit. If not, idle capital in its money form would naran as a private hoard. Private accumulation therefore requires the support of government spending geared primarily towards imperialistic and militaristic government tendencies, which is the easiest and surest way to utilize surplus productive capacity.


It is by counting an expense as an income that the monnopoly arises that a growing national debt is neutralised by a rising national income.

Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order

If this is so, it will of course not only increase the production of waste, but slowly and surely destroy the private-enterprise system. In the second place, government-induced production must remain small relative to total production so as not to deprive too much of the capital resources of their capital character, i. With the decline of profitability it becomes increasingly more difficult to expand production in this particular way.

And this increase may be progressive.

Monopoly Capital

There is a point of accumulation where the decreased variable capital cannot find compensation in an increase of surplus-value large enough to yield sufficient profits on total capital. Contrary to what Baran and Sweezy say, the Marxian analysis does not rest on the assumption of competitive capitalism but on the abstract concept of total capital.

It grew out of the critique of militarism and imperialism and economic waste as much as out of economic crisis. While increasing the total mass of labour and of products, it does not increase the mass of surplus-value and represents, therefore, a loss rather than a gain — a loss similar to that suffered by overproduction when part of the produced commodities cannot be converted into money.

Baran was Professor of Economics at Stanford University.

What gave rise to the New Left was the Soviet invasion of Hungary. The actual and potential economic surplus generated exceeds the existing outlets for investment and capitalist consumption. The idle resources — even in their idleness — remain capitalist property. The complaint about the lack of demand is then, actually, a complaint about insufficient profitability. Why might their influence have declined if indeed it did during a period of stagnation that might have vindicated some of their predictions?


Harry Magdoff did a review of Monopoly Capital when it came out that said it could have developed the analysis of debt and finance more and Sweezy himself was later to criticize Monopoly Capital for not doing that properly. There was simply no question that Monopoly Capital represented reality the way we that is, radicals—mostly students—with whom I was connected then saw it.

Even the division of surplus-value into profit, interest and rent disappears in his value analysis. In any case, it is only under conditions of rapid capital accumulation that demand expands sufficiently to enable the realisation sweeezy capitalisation of surplus-value. From the market point of view, this inability appears as a profit-realisation problem. Even then, they were forced to leave out any direct consideration of the labor process and exploitation.

Unless the whole of capital should be nationalised to be utilised for other than private-enterprise ends, monopolj interventions in the economy are necessarily limited by the need to secure the profitability of the dominating private capital. The production resulting from these contracts is capitl paid for by the capitalists through their taxes.

In money terms, production of waste is just capktal, or even more, lucrative, than the production of commodities, and — until finally repudiated — the accumulation of the national debt appears as the accumulation of capital.