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Monopoly Capital

Monopoly Capital

PAUL A. BARAN
PAUL M. SWEEZY
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 416
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qg5zj
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    Monopoly Capital
    Book Description:

    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. This book... deals with a vital area of economics, has a unique approach, is stimulating and well written. It represents the first serious attempt to extend Marx's model of competitive capitalism to the new conditions of monopoly capitalism. - Howard J. Sherman, American Economic Review

    eISBN: 978-1-58367-401-7
    Subjects: Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE (pp. vii-x)
    Paul M. Sweezy
  3. Table of Contents (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. 1 INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-13)

    The situation in the social sciences in the United States today is paradoxical. The number of research workers and teachers is rapidly rising. Their training and command of their disciplines, including the ability to use precise mathematical reasoning and sophisticated statistical methods, are far above the levels attained by their predecessors of even one generation ago. Universities, foundations, and governments organize research projects and dispense grants on an unprecedented scale. Books, reports, and articles are turned out in a never-ending stream. And yet all this high-powered intellectual activity has yielded few important new or fresh insights into the way our...

  5. 2 THE GIANT CORPORATION (pp. 14-51)

    Scientific understanding proceeds by way of constructing and analyzing “models” of the segments or aspects of reality under study. The purpose of these models is not to give a mirror image of reality, not to include all its elements in their exact sizes and proportions, but rather to single out and make available for intensive investigation those elements which are decisive. We abstract from nonessentials, we blot out the unimportant to get an unobstructed view of the important, we magnify in order to improve the range and accuracy of our observation. A model is, and must be, unrealistic in the...

  6. 3 THE TENDENCY OF SURPLUS TO RISE (pp. 52-78)

    Monopoly capitalism is a system made up of giant corporations. This is not to say that there are no other elements in the system or that it is useful to study monopoly capitalism by abstracting from everything except giant corporations. It is both more realistic and more enlightening to proceed from the outset by including, alongside the corporate-monopoly sector, a more or less extensive smaller-business sector, the reason being that smaller business enters in many ways into the calculations and strategies of Big Business. To abstract from smaller business would be to exclude from the field of investigation some of...

  7. 4 THE ABSORPTION OF SURPLUS: CAPITALISTS’ CONSUMPTION AND INVESTMENT (pp. 79-111)

    In the last chapter it was shown that under monopoly capitalism, owing to the nature of the price and cost policies of the giant corporations, there is a strong and systematic tendency for surplus to rise, both absolutely and as a share of total output. We now come to the problem of the absorption or utilization of the surplus.

    In general, surplus can be absorbed in the following ways: (1) it can be consumed, (2) it can be invested, and (3) it can be wasted. In this chapter we confine attention to the capacity of monopoly capitalism to absorb surplus...

  8. 5 THE ABSORPTION OF SURPLUS: THE SALES EFFORT (pp. 112-141)

    In analyzing the utilization of society’s economic surplus—the difference between total social output and the socially necessary costs of producing it—economic theory has traditionally centered attention on capitalists’ consumption and private investment, the subject dealt with in the preceding chapter. Not that other modes of utilization have been completely ignored. State and church have always been recognized as co-consumers of surplus, and both the classics and Marx considered that in addition to public officials and the clergy there was an important category of “unproductive” workers, typified by domestic servants, who received a large part or all of their...

  9. 6 THE ABSORPTION OF SURPLUS: CIVILIAN GOVERNMENT (pp. 142-177)

    In the preceding chapter it was shown that the sales effort directly and indirectly, a large amount of surplus otherwise would not have been produced. The purpose and the following chapters is twofold: to demonstrate, that government plays a similar role but on a larger scale; second, that the uses to which government puts the surplus it absorbs are narrowly circumscribed by the nature of capitalist society and as time goes on become more more irrational and destructive.

    In the older theories— and here we include Marxian as well classical and neoclassical economics— it was normally taken granted that the...

  10. 7 THE ABSORPTION OF SURPLUS: MILITARISM AND IMPERIALISM (pp. 178-217)

    The question posed at the end of the last chapter can be reformulated: Why does the United States oligarchy need and maintain such a huge military machine nowadays when it used get along with such a little one? In order to answer this question, we must first consider the role of armed force in capitalist society.

    From its earliest beginnings in the Middle Ages capitalism always been an international system. And it has always a hierarchical system with one or more leading metropolises at the top, completely dependent colonies at the bottom, many degrees of superordination and subordination in between....

  11. 8 ON THE HISTORY OF MONOPOLY CAPITALISM (pp. 218-248)

    “It is not enough,” writes Celso Furtado, “to construct an model and provide an explanation of how it operates; just as important to demonstrate the explanatory effectiveness of such a model as applied to historical realities.”¹ According to our model, the growth of monopoly generates a strong tendency for surplus to rise without at the same time providing adequate mechanisms of surplus absorption. But surplus that is absorbed is also surplus that is not produced: it is merely potential surplus, and it leaves its statistical trace not in the of profits and investment but rather in the figures of unemployment...

  12. 9 MONOPOLY CAPITALISM AND RACE RELATIONS (pp. 249-280)

    The race problem in the United States was not created by monopoly capitalism. It was inherited from the slave system of Old South. However, the nature of the problem has undergone a transformation during the monopoly capitalist period; in a world in which the colored races are shaking off the of oppression, it is apparent to everyone that the future the United States will be deeply, and perhaps decisively, influenced by the further development of relations between the inside the country.

    The most elaborate and widely praised study of the United race problem is undoubtedly Gunhar Myrdal’sAn American Dilemma,...

  13. 10 ON THE QUALITY OF MONOPOLY CAPITALIST SOCIETY (pp. 281-335)

    The purpose of the preceding discussion has been not only to advance the understanding of the working principles of the contemporary American economy but also to gain insight into the forces that mold the lives, shape the minds, and determine the development of individuals in our society. This insight is pressingly needed today. Disorientation, apathy, and often despair, haunting Americans in all walks of life, have assumed in our time the dimensions of a profound crisis. This crisis affects every aspect of national life, and ravages both its socio-political and its individual spheres—everyman’s everyday existence. A heavy, strangulating sense...

  14. 11 THE IRRATIONAL SYSTEM (pp. 336-368)

    It is of the essence of capitalism that both goods and labor power are typically bought and sold on the market. In such a society relations among individuals are dominated by the principle of the exchange of equivalents, ofquid pro quo,not only in economic matters but in all other aspects of life as well.

    Not that the principle of equivalent exchange is or ever has been universally practiced in capitalist society. As Marx showed so convincingly in the closing chapters of the first volume ofCapital,the primary accumulation of capital was effected through violence and plunder, and...

  15. APPENDIX: ESTIMATING THE ECONOMIC SURPLUS (pp. 369-391)
    Joseph D. Phillips
  16. AUTHOR INDEX (pp. 392-394)
  17. SUBJECT INDEX (pp. 395-401)