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Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism   Author(s) Vladimir Lenin Original title Империализм как высшая стадия капитализма Country Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Language Russian Genre(s) Social criticism Publisher Zhizn' i znanie Publication date 1917 Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism: A Popular Outline (1916) is a classic Marxist theoretical treatise by Lenin.[1] Building on and modifying the theories of Karl Marx, formulated in Das Kapital (1867), Lenin states that imperialism is the highest and final stage of capitalism.[2] Summary Lenin identifies the merging of banks and industrial cartels as giving rise to Finance Capital.[3] According to Lenin, in the last stage of capitalism, in order to generate greater profits than the home market can offer, such capital is exported and invested abroad. This leads to the division of the world between international monopolist firms and to the great powers colonizing and coming into conflict over large parts of the world in support of their businesses. Imperialism is thus an advanced stage of capitalism, one relying on the rise of monopolies and on the export of capital (rather than goods), and of which colonialism is one feature.[4] The super-profits that colonial exploitation yields, permit business to bribe politicians — labour leaders and the labour aristocracy (upper stratum of the working class) — to politically thwart the risk of worker revolt in the capitalist homeland; thus, the new proletariat (working class) are the exploited workers in the Third World colonies of the European powers. In the preface to the French and German editions (1920) of Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Lenin predicted that revolt against the capitalist global system will be effected with the "thousand million people" of the colonies and semi-colonies (the system’s weak points), rather than with the urban people of Western Europe’s industrialised societies.[5] Lenin also predicted that revolution would spread to the advanced capitalist states from under-developed countries, such as Russia, where he had successfully seized the political command of the October Revolution of 1917.[6] Lenin hoped further to implement his theory of global revolution in terms of practical politics - in Marxist terms this unity of theory and practice is denoted Praxis - with the institution of the Third International, which was first convened in March 1919 and held a world congress, dominated by Lenin, in July-August 1920.[7] Lenin derived much of his analysis from English economist John A. Hobson's Imperialism: A Study (1902) and Austrian Marxist Rudolf Hilferding's Finance Capital (Das Finanzkapital, Vienna: 1910) but applied it to the new situation of World War I - in which imperial capitalist competition was exemplified by the clash between the German Empire and its allies and the Anglo-French bloc. Lenin saw Russia as a subsidiary, less socially advanced ally of the latter advanced capitalist countries. In the post war edition Lenin pointed to the punitive Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (1917) and Treaty of Versailles (1919) as proving his thesis about the economic motivation of the warring powers.[8] Lenin criticised rival Marxist Karl Kautsky's 1914 theory that imperial antagonisms would be subsumed within a system of Ultra-imperialism in which the great powers joined together in a global coalition of capitalist exploitation. Against this theory Lenin wrote that the balance of power amongst the states was constantly changing and that this instability was a motor for conflict between the great powers rather than co-operation: Half a century ago Germany was a miserable insignificant country, if her capitalist strength is compared with that of the Britain of that time; Japan compared with Russia in the same way. Is it 'conceivable' that in ten or twenty years' time the relative strength will have remained unchanged? It is out of the question.[9][10] Influence Lenin's core-periphery model of global capitalist exploitation influenced the world-system theory of Immanuel Wallerstein and the Latin American Dependency School of Raul Prebisch, Andre Gunder Frank and Fernando Henrique Cardoso.[11] Publication History Lenin wrote Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916) in Zürich, between January and June 1916. It was first published by Zhzn i, Znaniye Publishers, Petrograd in mid 1917; Lenin wrote a new Preface for the French and German editions (6 July 1920), first published in the Communist International No 18, 1921.[12] Editions Владимир Ленин (1917) Империализм, как Высшая Стадия Капитализма, Петроград: Жизнь и Знание. Vladimir Lenin (1948) Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, London: Lawrence and Wishart. Vladimir Lenin (2000) Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, with Introduction by Prabat Patnaik, New Delhi: LeftWord Books Vladimir Lenin (2010) Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Penguin Classics. See also Globalization Ultra-imperialism The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism (1913), by Rosa Luxemburg References ^ Paul Bowles (2007) Capitalism, Pearson: London: 93 ^ John Baylis and Steve Smith (2005) The Globalization of World Politics. OUP: 231 ^ Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism III. Finance Capital and the Financial Oligarchy ^ Paul Bowles (2007) Capitalism, Pearson: London: 91-3 ^ Vladimir Lenin (2000) Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism: 37-8 ^ Christopher Read (2005) Lenin. London: Routledge: 116-26 ^ Prabhat Patnaik (2000) "Introduction" to Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism by Lenin. New Dehli, Leftword Books: 10-11 ^ Christopher Read (2005) Lenin. London: Routledge: 116-26 ^ Alex Callinicos (2009) Imperialism and Global Political Economy. Cambridge, Polity Press: 65 ^ Lenin, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism. ^ John Baylis and Steve Smith (2005) The Globalization of World Politics. OUP: 231-35 ^ Vladimir Lenin (2000) Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, with Introduction by Prabat Patnaik, New Delhi: LeftWord Books External links Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism v · d · eSignificant works by Vladimir Lenin The Development of Capitalism in Russia (1899) · What Is to Be Done? (1902) · One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (1904) · Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Social Revolution (1905) · Materialism and Empirio-criticism (1909) · Philosophical Notebooks (1913) · The Right of Nations to Self-Determination (1914) · Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916) · The State and Revolution (1917) · The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky · "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder (1920)