Sam King
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Lenin’s monopoly capitalist competition
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There is no recent critique of Lenin’s views on monopoly, even though Lenin put it at the very core of his analysis. Lenin’s views are inaccurately associated with various contemporary ideas that separate monopoly from the labour process and view it as reducing competition. Lenin argued competition is not diminished by monopoly but intensified, even if carried out in a changed form. He viewed monopoly not as superseding market competition but – because imperialism must remain capitalist – inevitably revolving around capitalist production of commodities for the market. In Lenin’s concept the various competing monopolist groups can and must draw a greater range of social forces into this competition – especially the capitalist state. Though the forms of involvement ultimately remain subservient to commodity production. Monopoly competition is, for Lenin, a monopolistic version of the most essential aspect of pre-monopoly capitalist competition – commodity production. This is fought most crucially in the sphere of production itself and especially by raising labour productivity. The formation of monopolies, Lenin observed, is also bound to the emergence of non-monopoly capital, which is subservient to and exploited by the monopolies. While Lenin does not make this link, his concept of non-monopoly capital is connected to and explains another aspect of his theory – the monopoly of the imperialist countries over the rest of the world. Combining all these aspects of Lenin’s theory we have the embryo of a theory that explains the forms monopoly competition and exploitation in the ‘neoliberal period’.

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Imperialism and the development myth

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