Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital. New York and. London: Monthly Review Press, Pp. ix + Harry Magdoff. New School for Social . 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. Monopoly Capital [Paul And Sweezy, Paul M. Baran] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers.
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Economic TheoryMarxismPolitical Economy. AmericasGlobalUnited States. The whole issue of the Old Left and the New Left is a complicated one. Monthly Review MR was part on mobopoly 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. What gave rise to the New Left was the Soviet invasion of Hungary. It was drowned in blood by the Soviet army….
After these events, we do not see how the feelings of any socialist toward the Soviet Union can remain unchanged. Any claim the Soviet Union had to moral leadership of the world socialist movement is now extinguished.
Monopoly Capital was the principal Marxian, and indeed radical, political-economic work to be published in the s, written by the two most prestigious Marxian economists in the United States and perhaps globally. It grew out of the critique of militarism and imperialism and economic waste as much as out of economic crisis. It was one of the first major works to focus on multinational corporations. All of this made it extremely influential with the New Left in the United States, particularly its more radical, socialist wing.
Do you recall your immediate impressions upon reading Monopoly Capital or the pieces that would eventually be combined into Monopoly Capital?
Did you think of it as a paradigm-shifting text, or did you read it as part of a larger movement toward a neo-Marxian critique of the New Deal Order? Still, there was no doubt about its importance to liberation struggles at the time or that it was a key to understanding contemporary capitalism. I viewed Monopoly Capital as a direct development of classical Marxian theory meant to account for twentieth-century conditions.
Monopoly Capital by Paul Mattick
This was during the later years of the Vietnam War and a worsening economic climate. Like so many others I had been in the streets protesting against the war machine. The coup in Chile occurred with U. There was the energy crisis and the economic crisis. There was simply no question that Monopoly Capital represented reality the way we that is, radicals—mostly students—with whom I was connected then saw it.
Nothing so clearly explained the current stage of capitalism, though to understand capitalism fully it was capitao one had to go back to Marx and the whole socialist tradition. 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
It was thus the original common ground within URPE. Discussions of it were everywhere. With what aspects of the book did you disagree, or take issue with? Many of the finer points of their analysis of course passed me by at first.
I did think for years that Baran and Sweezy were wrong when they said that civilian government spending as a share of GDP had reached its outer limits by the late s. There was a seeming confusion in their book about the definition of economic captal to do with the fact that they were gauging it by somewhat different yardsticks at different points using what is known as comparative statics.
Joseph Swdezy did a little bit of double counting in his wonderful appendix on the surplus. Harry Magdoff did a review of Monopoly Capital when it came out that said it could have developed the analysis of debt and finance more and Sweezy himself was later to criticize Monopoly Capital for not doing that properly. Today, forty years later, their analysis there seems more powerful than ever. Sweezy also later criticized Monopoly Capital for not referring directly to Marxian value theory categories, i.
I never thought for a moment in my own reading that there was the slightest abandonment of the labor theory of value in Monopoly Capital —a close inspection of the text showed that to be false at the outset. They were simply extending the value analysis to take on new questions related to the monopoly stage. InI swezy to graduate school in Toronto. I got caught up in that. I left Monopoly Capital behind and wrote a long class paper defending the falling rate of profit theory.
Monthly Review | Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order
When I finished writing the last page of the paper, I decided that the whole thing sweexy 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. Kolko introduced me to the crucial empirical basis of the theory in excess capacity statistics and I carried out a detailed study of the various measures in this area, which had the effect of convincing me of the concrete basis of the analysis. Baan might their influence have declined if indeed it did during a period of stagnation that might have vindicated some of their predictions?
I have answered some of that in part above, but ajd more complete picture requires an understanding of the changing historical context. 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. InI edited a book with the Polish economist and sociologist Henryk Szlajfer called The Faltering Economywhich was organized principally as a reply to the supply-side theory emerging on the left and secondarily to fundamentalist Marxian theories that denied the relevance of the monopoly stage of calital.
This, then, was mainly a reply to fundamentalist arguments. I concluded that the hegemony of economic orthodoxy was such that radical thinkers tended to adopt views that paralleled those of the mainstream. This was hardly surprising given the marginal and dependent position of radical economists in the sweezyy.
Moreover, orthodox economists now recognize that the stagnation dates back to the s—precisely what Monopoly Capital pointed to and what MR has been insisting for more than forty years. What is the continuing relevance of Monopoly Capital? Is it valuable as a critique of contemporary U. The book was written in a popular style with an attempt to get at a large audience.
The theoretical framework was derived most immediately, with respect to the monopoly argument, from Kalecki and Steindl, but its roots went down much more deeply to Marx.
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.
Even then, they were forced to leave out any direct consideration of the labor process and exploitation.
Still, the power of their analysis lies in the synthesis that they were able to present. They critically analyzed civilian and military government spending in ways that have enduring significance in our time. They laid the basis for viewing the entire electoral system as democratic in form, plutocratic in content.
They provided a nascent political economy of environmentalism via their searching critique of waste in the system. Monopoly Capital cannot be seen in isolation, however. Its wider influence was associated with the great works that it inspired and that belonged to the monopopy constellation of Marxian theory, filling out the overall analysis.
McChesney and I drove home the fact that the underlying problem is one of stagnation, in our book, The Endless Crisispublished several years later.
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Thank you very much. From Incarceration to Decarceration. Wars Past and Wars to Come.