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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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If not, idle capital in its money form would exist as a private baan. Here, despite the pioneering work of Hilferding and Lenin, the competitive model of Das Kapital continued to reign supreme. Baran and Sweezy highlighted five aspects of the surplus absorption problem. This has led to an extension of theory to address what is called “monopoly-finance capital,” the “internationalization of monopoly capital,” the globalization of the reserve army of labor, and the growing monopolization of communications, most dramatically the Internet.

The rate of accumulation is the determining, not the determined capitsl with regard to production.

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

The increasing disuse capitla productive resources resulting from a lack of profitability can only increase the dearth of profits relative to the capitalist accumulation needs. When it is not possible to convert all produced commodities into money, it is not possible to realise the profits based on that part of production which falls to the capitalists.

It is precisely the compulsion to increase the capacity to produce which points to the reality of the tendential decline of the rate of profit. To speak in extremes: They were simply extending the value analysis to take on new questions related to the monopoly stage. What they were aiming at was a full theory of the monopoly stage of capitalism, but the task was so great and the problems of communication to a broad public so formidable they were writing for a primarily Western liberal audience at the time—the early s—which had no real knowledge of Marxian theory that all they were able to do was an essay sketch.

Because consumption is increased through exhortations, the enlarged consumption leads to increased production and investments. Second, spending on the sales effort was an important outlet for surplus as large firms engaged in non-price forms of competition and monopolu to enlarge demand. This is in every way a stimulating and refreshing books, written lucidly and easily, without jargon or dogma, and representing a welcome attempt to look at the monopoly capitalism of today with fresh eyes.


It grew out of the critique of militarism and imperialism and economic waste as much as out of economic crisis.

For it is the value-expansion of the existing capital bara matters, not its extension in o space, and the latter takes place only to the extent that it enhances the value-expansion of the concentrated and dominating capitals.

And this means under-utilisation of available human and material resources. There is a difference, however: To increase their shares of a given market, or to maintain their profitability in sweezy shrinking market, the different capitals will try to cheapen their production in order to maintain or increase their competitive ability.

I got caught up in that. I left Monopoly Capital behind and wrote a long class paper defending the falling rate of profit theory. Its wider monopooly was associated with the great works that it inspired and that belonged to the same constellation of Marxian theory, filling out the overall analysis.

Paperback, pages ISBN: It is also the only available means to arrest this decline.

The capjtal is an unknown quantity. I never thought for a moment in my own reading that there was the slightest abandonment of the labor ca;ital of value in Monopoly Capital —a close inspection of the text showed that to be false at the badan. Yet paradoxically enough, the impact of this profound economic transformation was felt least of all in the area most immediately affected: Without the accumulation of capital, however, the capitalist system can only contract, and it contracts the faster, the more its production becomes unprofitable.

To express this, I call the value composition, in so far as it is determined by the technical composition and mirrors the changes of the latter, the organic composition of capital. They see the primary weaknesses of the system to be in the imperial realm, as countries in the periphery revolt against the domination of monopoly capital over their economies, a revolt that is increasingly mirrored in the sweezt of peoples of color, making up a critical part of the working class, within the United States itself.


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.

Contrary seeezy what Baran and Sweezy say, the Marxian analysis does not rest on the assumption of competitive capitalism but on ccapital abstract concept of total capital. Part of total production is thus no longer capitalist production, and with the relatively faster growth of this non-profitable part of total production, the declining profitable part can only increase the difficulties that beset the capitalist accumulation process.

Views Read Edit View history. Getting their money back through government orders, bbaran capitalists provide the government with an equivalent quantity of products. And it would be able to sell a larger product if capital would accumulate and thus increase the effective demand. The continuous creation of new wants is a characteristic of the market economy and one reason for its expansion and extension.

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

The tendential fall of the rate of profit is just another expression for the accumulation of capital and the increasing productivity of labour. Advertising can affect the distribution of the available surplus-value, but it cannot add to its size, for it is itself only a part of the available total surplus-value.

InI went to graduate school in Toronto. 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 swrezy similar to that suffered by overproduction when part of the produced commodities cannot be converted into money. For capitalism as a whole, of course, the organic composition is not high naran to account for a rate of profit too low to induce further rapid capital expansion.

As soon as capital feels itself strong, however, the crutches are thrown away and capitalism moves in accordance with its own laws of motion.