Book Report: Vladimir Lenin's "Imperialism, the Highest State

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¶ … Vladimir Lenin's "Imperialism, the Highest State of Capitalism." Written in 1916, the book was an explanation of why capitalism and imperialism were wrong vs. The socialist views of Marx and the Soviet revolutionaries. Lenin proposes that capitalism and imperialism oppress the weak and the worker while building monopolies and power for the rich and allows for payoffs to be made to officials that keep the workers in line. He proposed that the smaller and undeveloped countries were being exploited and would revolt, like Russians, and lead to the overturning of the oppressors.

Lenin's thesis was the higher class through imperialism was able to control and manipulate the lower classes. He arrived at his conclusions based on the Tsar's rule in Russia and the Capitalist rule in the world's superior nations. The only problem is this led to government controlled businesses in Russia and further exploitation by the means of the dictatorship it created. Lenin, personally, may have had good intentions in mind but the power hunger after him created a different world.

Lenin had proposed business be owned by the people and the sharing of the wealth through conglomerations. Inexperience of the factory workers to manage the business and problems from this, resulted in government takeovers of almost all businesses.

Lenin dramatized the role of the world's superior nations in the exploitation of other smaller countries by colonization. This paper will examine and gave an analysis for the material and any pertinent information will discussed in detail. In the literature review the paper will be discussed and in the conclusion we will attempt to show the arguments for and against the content of the book.

Literature Review

Lenin wrote the book "Imperialism, the Highest State of Capitalism" in 1916 about a year before the Russian Revolution overthrew the Russian Tsar and the government. Lenin proposed and used factual information to demonstrate the class differences and what it meant to the lower classes.

In the first section of the book, "Concentration of Production and Monopolies," Lenin declares that the majority of the production in a country, he uses Germany and United States as examples, is done by approximately 1% of the enterprises in these countries and results in monopolies that smaller companies cannot compete against. He states that 97% of the power supplies are utilized by these companies and leaves only 3% for the other companies.

Lenin proposes the monopolies control the pricing and receive large profits for people that are invested in the big companies. According to the book, freedom and free competition are eliminated by the large monopolies. It is suggested that smaller companies have to be submissive to the larger if they are to continue. It was written that the monopolies gained control of the smaller companies through devious means. The ways described include the organization of trade unions that allow workers to only worker for approved companies, stopping shipment of materials needed, shutting down deliveries, trade outlets closed down, buyer agreements that shut out other companies, cutting of prices to a range below the profitability of smaller companies, denying credit for small businesses, and boycotts.

Lenin states that the monopolies use their power to gain the upper hand and take over the economy. It was proposed that the profits were at the expense of the lower class.

In section II, "Banks and their New Role," Lenin states the roles the large banks are playing in the Imperialism of the countries. Statistics in the book report that the biggest banks in a country in this case Germany constitutes 48% or more of the money of a country. It was proposed that the banks would team up with the large monopolies and in turn become part of the Imperialistic system. Lenin states the bigger bank will take over or become affiliated with most over the smaller banks to control the money and the capital. The book states that due to the need for capital to be profitable smaller savings banks they will have to give into the banking giants and the people in the lower class will be robbed of potential earnings by the monopolies and the banks.

The monopolizing of the banks makes dependence on them necessary in business and personal finances and gives the bank the upper hand due to the lack of competition. Members of the industrial monopolies will become board members and the end factor is the merger of industrial and banking monopolies. The industrial giants will control the distribution to the smaller companies and this will give even more control over the small business or cause it financial difficulties.

In section III, "Finance Capital and the Financial Oligarchy," Lenin goes on to stress the merger of banking and industry. He again reports that all of this is leading to monopolizing the system. He reports that the bigger companies own not only subsidiaries but subsidiaries of these companies. They use these offspring to allow the bigger companies to take risks at the expense of the small stakeholders and through improper balance sheets they can dump their stake-holdings before the company goes under. He draws on conclusions that smaller country banks are actually owned or controlled by the banks on the larger countries which hold major shares of the bank. Lenin proposed that monopolies used their banking in buy up all the raw material sources and both the bank and the industry shared the profits from the acquisition.

Daughter companies are often fronts to get small investor money at a higher rate and then dump the company leaving the public to lose their shares and money. Banks use bonds or securities as a means to acquire small business at below market cost and use them as a source of earnings. According to Lenin, the banks profit off the downfall of the smaller businesses and the people investing in these businesses.

Lenin proclaims that the more the monopolies control, the rest of the nation will lose their freedom especially the people of the nation. He proclaims that not even liberties granted through the government will be able to stop the monopolies.

Section IV, "Export of Capital," Lenin begins by stating that the export of goods since in the days of free competition has given away to the export of capitol under the monopolies rule. He declares that people are the new commodity in the form of labor. It is written that if the capitalist put as much emphasis on agriculture, which lags far behind industry; it would raise the living costs of the mass of the people and relieve the poverty stricken and starving people. Lenin states that will not happen because with the current situation the capitalist has found a source of cheap labor and land and raw materials are kept at low prices. They ship work abroad because the land they live in is too saturated and the fields are not as profitable.

The book contends that by doing this the capitalists can bring their views and exhort power over the smaller developed countries. The monopolies and banks then control the majority of that country as well.

In section V, "Division of the World among Capitalist Associations," Lenin contends that once the monopolies had consumed the majority of their countries, they started forming international alliances with other monopolies to form super-monopolies. He uses the electric companies of Germany and the United States to implement his reasoning for this due to the fact that1- 2 companies in both countries held the control over the electric industry through their companies or majority holdings in the smaller companies. The two monopolies secretly divided up the developed companies between them and set up daughter companies in the undeveloped countries. He shows the power struggles over oil and how the once 2 super giants in the industry put down upcoming competition through daughter companies and the banking monopolies. Other industries were analyzed to show how the monopolies could use leverage, economic downfalls, and other tricks to takeover or drive competition out of business. The super-monopolies divided up the world to benefit each other without direct competition.

Section VI, "Division of the World by the Great Powers" shows how the countries of England, Germany, and France had taken over the unoccupied territories of the world. It showed that 90% of Africa, 99% of Polynesia, 57% of Asia, 100% of Australia, and 27% of the United States belonged to these three nations. England had acquired 3,700,000 square miles of territory containing 57,000,000 people, France had 3,600,000 square miles and 36,500,000 people, Germany obtained 1,000,000 square miles and 14,700,000 people, Belgium got 900,000 miles and 30,000,000 people and Portugal had 800,000 and 9,000,000 people from the acquisition of territories.

British heroes of the time had stated that imperialism was the only way to prevent civil wars with the poverty stricken people and have new avenues for exporting the good manufactured within the nation. Also being colonized was Persia, Turkey, and China. Lenin showed how the colonies grew by over 50% after… [END OF PREVIEW]

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