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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But capital does not expand because monlpoly would not be profitable. In monopoly capitalism, however, these normal modes of surplus utilisation no longer suffice because production outruns the effective demand.

If this is so, it will of course not only increase the production of waste, but slowly and surely destroy the barxn system. In any case, it is only under conditions of rapid capital accumulation that demand expands sufficiently to enable the realisation and capitalisation of surplus-value.

There would be no point in increasing production if caapital rate of accumulation were to diminish. As regards monopoly profits secured by price manipulations, it should be clear that they can be gained only through corresponding profit-losses on the part of the non-monopolistic capital — No matter what the structure of capitalism, there is, at any given time, a definite amount of national and international income derived from surplus-value. Insofar as it is not consumed, surplus-value must become additional capital.

Barran size of this quantity determines the extent to which production has ceased being capital production, and the growth of production by way of taxation indicates the decline of the capitalist system as a profit-determined private enterprise system.

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

They also indicate capitzl government requires and receives an ever greater share of the Gross National Product. The coup in Chile occurred with U. The descriptive parts of Capital refer to capital competition and to the elimination of competition by way of competition, i. And it may not only be so. I got caught up in that.

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

After these events, we do not see how the feelings of any socialist toward the Soviet Union can remain unchanged. There was a seeming confusion in their book about the definition of economic surplus to do with the fact that they were gauging it by somewhat different yardsticks at different points using what is known as comparative statics.


What appears as a profit-realisation problem in one part of the world, is a profit-producing problem in another. They do so all along; but under conditions of economic contraction, weaker capitals succumb more quickly to stronger ones, and the changes in the sphere of production are accompanied by changes in the market sphere.

According to Marx, however, accumulation is characterised by: What gave rise to the New Left was the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Their purpose and hope is to help people to see present-day capitalist society differently and more realistically, to highlight the central problems which need to be tackled and solved, and to indicate directions in which further study and thought are needed.

Considering the system as a whole, however, it is a general lack of surplus-value which accounts for its slow rate of expansion. Baran and Sweezy have produced an appraisal of American society … that is totally at odds with the interpretation of American society we find in the books of most professors … unlike most books we read, this one attacks prevailing beliefs at their roots.

Monopoly Capital

And this increase may be progressive. Obviously, a lot of people make their living by selling and advertising, while others lose part of their incomes by paying higher prices — prices which include the costs of advertising. Baran and Paul M. Since the mass of exchange-value declines with the growing productivity of labour, capital accumulation requires a faster growing mass of use-values.

Monopolisation in this sense divides the world into different national systems with respect to their organic capital compositions. Still, there was no doubt about its importance to liberation struggles at the time or that it was a key to understanding contemporary capitalism.

Unless confiscated, they can be utilised by government only through its purchases, and the money used in sweszy transactions must first be extracted from private capital either by taxation or through borrowings.

Monopoly Capital was the garan 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. Unless the whole of capital should be nationalised to be utilised for other than private-enterprise ends, government interventions in the economy are necessarily limited by the need to secure the profitability of the dominating private capital.


It is precisely the compulsion to increase the capacity to produce which points to the reality of the tendential decline of the rate of profit. Paperback, pages ISBN: The vast extent of this increasing actual and potential surplus is visible in the underutilization of productive capacity, the level of unemployment, the waste embodied in the sales effort, and military spending. It is for capifal reason, of course, that such a situation cannot come to pass within the framework of capitalism.

Dear Reader, we make this and other articles available for free online to serve those unable to afford or access the print edition of Monthly Review. To recall, while property-income was Barxn this point the rate of profit falls below what is necessary to continue the monopooy process.

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. After wartime military service, he joined the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, leaving to become a member of the Stanford economics faculty in What is the continuing relevance of Monopoly Capital?

With the financial crisis of and the Great Recession of these years, followed by conditions of economic stagnation, some political economists have argued that Baran and Sweezy’s analysis in Monopoly Capital is key to the theoretical and historical explanation of these events.

Monopoly Capital cannot be seen in isolation, however. Both situations indicate that the rate of profit on capital is such as to discourage, or even exclude, additional capital investments on a scale large enough to bring forth an effective demand which would assure the realisation of surplus-value on a larger production.

Big business can maintain setting prices at high levels while still competing to cut costs, advertise, and market their products.

The authors are under no illusion that they have succeeded in exhausting the subject.

Last modified: February 13, 2020