World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Monopoly Capitalism

Article Id: WHEBN0005950926
Reproduction Date:

Title: Monopoly Capitalism  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: State monopoly capitalism, History of capitalism
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Monopoly Capitalism

The theory of state monopoly capitalism was initially a Marxist doctrine popularised after World War II. Lenin had claimed in 1916 that World War I had transformed laissez-faire capitalism into monopoly capitalism, but he did not publish any extensive theory about the topic. The term refers to an environment where the state intervenes in the economy to protect large monopolistic or oligopolistic businesses from competition by smaller firms.[1]

State monopoly capitalist (stamocap) theory aims to define the final historical stage of capitalism following monopoly capitalism, consistent with Lenin's definition of the characteristics of imperialism in his short pamphlet of the same name.

Occasionally the stamocap concept also appears in neo-Trotskyist theories of state capitalism as well as in libertarian anti-state theories. The analysis made is usually identical in its main features, but very different political conclusions are drawn from it.

The main thesis

The main Marxist-Leninist thesis is that big business, having achieved a monopoly or cartel position in most markets of importance, fuses with the government apparatus. A kind of financial oligarchy or conglomerate therefore results, whereby government officials aim to provide the social and legal framework within which giant corporations can operate most effectively.

This is a close partnership between big business and government, and it is argued that the aim is to integrate labor-unions completely in that partnership.

Versions of the theory

Different versions of this idea were elaborated by economists of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (e.g., Eugen Varga), East Germany's Socialist Unity Party, the French Communist Party (e.g., Paul Boccara), the Communist Party of Great Britain (e.g., Ben Fine and Laurence Harris), and the American Communist Party of the USA (e.g., Victor Perlo). One of the most prominent examples of Stamocap is modern day Singapore compared to Hong Kong (individual capitalism).

Political implication

Ever since monopoly capital took over the world, it has kept the greater part of humanity in poverty, dividing all the profits among the group of the most powerful countries. The standard of living in those countries is based on the extreme poverty of our countries.
 
Che Guevara, 1965 [2]

The strategic political implication of stamocap theory for Marxist-Leninists, towards the end of the Joseph Stalin era and afterwards, was that the labour movement should form a people's democratic alliance under the leadership of the Communist Party with the progressive middle classes and small business, against the state and big business (called "monopoly" for short). Sometimes this alliance was also called the "anti-monopoly alliance".

Neo-Trotskyist theory

In neo-Trotskyist theory, however, such an alliance was rejected as being based either on a false strategy of popular fronts, or on political opportunism, said to be incompatible either with a permanent revolution or with the principle of independent working class political action.

The state in Soviet-type societies was redefined by the neo-Trotskyists as being also state-monopoly capitalist. There was no difference between the West and the East in this regard. Consequently, some kind of anti-bureaucratic revolution was said to be required, but different Trotskyist groups quarreled about what form such a revolution would need to take, or could take.

Some Trotskyists believed the anti-bureaucratic revolution would happen spontaneously, inevitably and naturally, others believed it needed to be organised - the aim being to establish a society owned and operated by the working class. According to the neo-Trotskyists, the Communist Party could not play its leading role, because it did not represent the interests of the working class.

Market anarchism

Market anarchists typically criticize Neoliberal forces for inconsistent or hypocritical application of Neoliberal theory regarding Stamocap; that in those inconsistencies exist the basis of continued selective state guaranteed privileges for the plutocratic neoliberal elite.[3] Generally, they envision a more consistently pro-market revolt would necessarily be a more petty bourgeois affair.

Eurocommunism

The stamocap concept was to a large extent either modified or abandoned in the era of eurocommunism, because it came to be believed that the state apparatus could be reformed to reflect the interests of the working majority. In other words, the fusion between the state and big business postulated earlier was not so tight, that it could not be undone by a mass movement from below, under the leadership of the Communist Party (or its central committee).

Criticism

When Varga introduced the theory, orthodox Stalinist economists attacked it as incompatible with the doctrine that state planning was a feature only of socialism, and that "under capitalism anarchy of production reigns."[4]

Critics of the stamocap theory (e.g., Ernest Mandel and Leo Kofler) claimed that:

  • stamocap theory wrongly implied that the state could somehow overrule inter-capitalist competition, the laws of motion of capitalism and market forces generally, supposedly cancelling out the operation of the law of value.
  • stamocap theory lacked any sophisticated account of the class basis of the state, and the real linkages between governments and elites. It postulated a monolithic structure of domination which in reality did not exist in that way.
  • stamocap theory failed to explain the rise of neo-liberal ideology in the business class, which claims precisely that an important social goal should be a reduction of the state's influence in the economy.
  • stamocap theory failed to show clearly what the difference was between a socialist state and a bourgeois state, except that in a socialist state, the Communist Party (or, rather, its central committee) played the leading political role. In that case, the class-content of the state itself was defined purely in terms of the policy of the ruling political party (or its central committee).

See also

Notes

References

  • Guy Ankerl, Beyond Monopoly Capitalism and Monopoly Socialism. Cambridge MA, Schenkman, 1978, ISBN 0-87073-938-7
  • .
  • Gerd Hardach, Dieter Karras and Ben Fine, A short history of socialist economic thought., pp. 63-68.
  • Bob Jessop, The capitalist state.
  • Charlene Gannage, "E. S. Varga and the Theory of State Monopoly Capitalism", in Review of Radical Political Economics 12(3), Fall 1980, pages 36–49.
  • Johnn Fairley, French Developments in the Theory of State Monopoly Capitalism, in: Science and Society; 44(3), Fall 1980, pages 305-25.
  • Ernest Mandel, Late Capitalism, pp. 515-522.
  • Ernest Mandel, .
  • Paul Boccara et al., Le Capitalisme Monopoliste d'Etat. Paris: Editions Sociales, 1971 (2 vols).
  • G. N. Sorvina et al., "The Role of the State in the System of State Monopoly Capitalism", in: The Teaching of Political Economy: A Critique of Non Marxian Theories. Moscow: Progress, 1984, pages 171-179.
  • Ben Fine & Laurence Harris, Re-reading Capital.
  • Jacques Valier, Le Parti Communiste Francais Et Le Capitalisme Monopoliste D'Etat, 1976

External links

  • Monthly Review, February 2010
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.