Definitions of Imperialism?

Howie Chodos howie at
Thu Jul 27 09:18:37 MDT 1995

Louis Proyect asks, referring to my previous post:

>When in the hell did Lenin say capitalism was moribund? You naughty
>thing, you wouldn't be putting words in the dead leader's mouth, now would
>you. So forth, and so on....

Well, no, I wouldn't. I offer the following from _Imperialism, The Highest
Stage of Capitalism_ as evidence:

>From all that has been said in this book on the economic essence of
imperialism, it follows that we must define it as capitalism in transition,
or, more precisely, as moribund capitalism.

(p. 153 in my Chinese edition)

I was not trying to suggest that what I take to be a deficiency in Lenin's
analysis invalidates the rest of his text. For example, he is quite
scrupulous in indicating that tendencies to stagnation under conditions of
monopoly co-exist with the tremendous growth of technological capacity that
is allowed by the concentration of wealth also associated with monopoly (and
finance capital). What I was questioning was the value of the overall
characterisation of imperialism as moribund.

I do apologise if my style offends our curmudgeonly expert on proper
business writing, but I would never, ever, dream of putting words into the
great man's mouth. And I hope none of this distracts us from considering the
very interesting material that Rakesh has posted on Grossman's understanding
of imperialism.

Howie Chodos

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