The Political Economy of Monopoly

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The Evolution of Monopoly Capitalism

First, we trace the theoretical origins of the debate on industrial concentration, and show that there is a certain degree of ambiguity surrounding the expected consequences of concentration and monopolization for nonfinancial firms. Second, we use industry-level concentration data to describe recent trends in average concentration.

We show that, while concentration increases across the majority of U. Consistent with the ambiguities in the theoretical literature, we find that these relationships are not uniform: while some highly-concentrated industries confirm standard expectations with high markups, high profitability, and low investment rates, other highly-concentrated industries earn lower-than-average markups and profits, suggesting that — in some industries — increased concentration and intensified competition may go hand in hand.

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Monopoly Capitalism | SpringerLink

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Competition and Monopoly in the U.S. Economy: What Do Industrial Concentration Data Tell?

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Institutional Login. The surplus concept was employed as a complementary category to the classical concept of surplus value, facilitating the exploration of contradictions specific to monopoly capitalism such as the growing role of waste in production, which were not easily addressed using the surplus value category.

The argument of Monopoly Capital focused on the critical problem of surplus absorption as the chief contradiction at this stage of accumulation.

Monopolies and Anti-Competitive Markets: Crash Course Economics #25

Surplus could be absorbed in one of three ways: 1 it could be consumed, 2 it could be invested, or 3 it could be wasted. Capitalist consumption accounted for a decreasing share of demand as income grew, while investment took the form of new productive capacity, which served to inhibit new net investment.


  • The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism: An Elaboration of Marxian Political Economy!
  • E-week (6 November 2006).
  • Figure 1. The evolution of the conceptualization of capitalism from 1870 to the present.
  • Hence, the system of private accumulation, if left to itself, exhibited a powerful tendency toward stagnation. If periods of rapid growth nonetheless occurred—Baran and Sweezy were writing at the high point of the post-Second World War expansion—this was due to such countervailing factors to stagnation as the sales effort, military spending, and financial expansion the last addressed at the end of their chapter on the sales effort. All such countervailing factors were, however, of a self-limiting character and could be expected to lead to bigger contradictions in the future.

    The Political Economy of Monopoly

    The Union for Radical Political Economists, organized in , brought out its first economic crisis reader in , entitled Radical Perspectives on the Economic Crisis of Monopoly Capital. The concept of monopoly capital also had an enormous influence in the global South. Although the notion of the monopoly stage of capitalism played a key role in the work of most Marxian economists up until the s—e. Along with this came the abandonment or at least the downplaying of notions of concentration and centralization of production and monopoly profits.

    THE NATION: America Has a Monopoly Problem—and It’s Huge

    McChesney The Endless Crisis —argued with increasing force that the reality was one of continuing concentration and centralization of capital on a world scale, or the internationalization of monopoly capital, with fewer and fewer firms controlling larger parts of both national and international economies. In an influential empirical study carried out with the help of R.

    Jamil Jonna , Foster and McChesney demonstrated that at the time of the Great Financial Crisis of —09, the top corporations in the United States accounted for about 30 percent of gross profits in the economy up from about 13 percent in , while at the world level the top global corporations received about 40 percent of total global revenue up from around 20 percent in Nevertheless, the main focus of monopoly capital theorists from the s on was directed not so much at debates about the status of monopoly capital, but at explaining the onset of economic stagnation, beginning in the mids, and how financialization emerged as a countervailing factor, thereby lifting the economy.