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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It is then the exchange-value of the surplus products, not the products themselves, which must be sewezy to the value of total capital in order to determine the sufficiency or insufficiency of profitability. The book was written in a popular style with an attempt to get at a large audience.

They can do so only, however, by accepting the current illusion that income-transfers and expenses can be counted as income monopol long as they are government transfers and expenses. It was thus the original common ground within URPE. After wartime military service, he joined the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, leaving capiatl become a member of the Stanford economics faculty in At this point the rate of profit falls below what is necessary to continue the expansion process.

The normal state of monopoly capital is thus stagnation.

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

For it is the value-expansion of the existing capital that 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.

But government can borrow additional funds. It is by counting an expense as an income that the illusion arises that a growing national debt is neutralised by a rising national income.

For capitalism as a whole, of course, the organic composition is not high enough to account for a rate of profit too low to induce further rapid capital expansion. Considering the system as a whole, however, it is a general lack of surplus-value which accounts for its slow rate of expansion.

Why should he understand the capitalist economy any better than Baran and Sweezy, who, even by considering the economy as a whole and not merely a particular business within it, come to the conclusion that government spending would solve the economic problems of capitalism and of all its classes? When resources remain idle it is not because they are too productive but because they are not productive enough.


Monthly Review | Baran and Sweezy’s Monopoly Capital, Then and Now

The size of the surplus is an index of productivity and wealth, of how much freedom a society has to accomplish whatever goals it may set for itself. There is a difference, however: Fifth, spending on finance can serve to absorb a portion of the surplus and boost the economy, at the expense of greater debt expansion and long-term instability.

In principle, it is not different in any particular capitalist country. Unless confiscated, they can be utilised by government only through its purchases, and the money used in these transactions must first be extracted from private capital either by taxation or through borrowings.

Retrieved from ” https: This was during the later years of the Vietnam War and a worsening economic climate. With the decline of profitability it becomes increasingly more difficult to expand production in this particular way. The increasing disuse of productive resources resulting from a lack of profitability can only increase the dearth of profits relative to the capitalist accumulation needs.

This landmark text by Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy is a classic of twentieth-century radical thought, a hugely influential book that continues to shape our understanding of modern capitalism. 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. To him, it makes no difference whether it stems from government or from private spending. This is to see society in the abstract, not as a specific society; at any rate, not as capitalist society.

Monopoly Capital was commonly viewed as the fundamental critique of the system in the historical period we were living through.

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

If you read the magazine online and can afford a print subscription, we hope you will consider purchasing one. When used for baram purchases, taxes taken from capital flow back to the capitalists in form of government contracts.

Marx predicted that capitalism, while once rapidly developing barna social powers of production, would come to fetter them, and that its further existence would then necessitate not only periods of crises and stagnation but the outright destruction of capital.

The arrival of this point in concrete reality is not predictable, but the tendency in this direction explains for Marx the recurrent crises and the increasing difficulty of overcoming periods of capital stagnation through changes in the conditions of production which raise the barzn of surplus-value.

Cover of the edition.

Monopoly Capital

Capitalists cannot consume all of their profits, for by doing so, they would soon cease being capitalists. To the individual it also makes no difference whether he is employed in the production of waste or in that of marketable commodities.


Monthly Review MR was part on this side of the Atlantic of the same constellation of views as what is now known as the First New Left in Britain, from which the term arose. Their work played a leading role in the intellectual development of the New Left in the s and s. 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.

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.

What is the continuing relevance of Monopoly Capital? Second, I had a negative response to the profit-squeeze theory that had grown up on the left parallel to the demise of Keynesian theory and the rise of bourgeois supply-side economics in its place in the Thatcher and Reagan years.

Moreover, insatiable as it is in its quest for profits, capital goes out of its capita, to extract surplus-value from all the corners of the world in order to augment the profits made at home.

The End of Prosperity. Other forms of absorbing the surplus include expansion of the sales effort and the growth of finance, insurance, and real estate. The descriptive parts of Capital refer to capital competition and to the elimination of competition by way of competition, i.

When I finished writing the last page of the paper, I decided that the whole thing was wrong both empirically and in terms of current historical relevance —but I was compelled to turn the paper in anyway since it was for a class. Since the mass of exchange-value declines with the growing productivity of labour, capital accumulation requires a faster growing mass of use-values.

Baran and Sweezy haran five aspects of the surplus absorption problem. Apparently, all is well with capitalist society as far as the rate of exploitation is concerned.