Marxist Perspectives on Imperialism: A Theoretical Analysis

Marxist Perspectives on Imperialism: A Theoretical Analysis

Marxist Perspectives on Imperialism: A Theoretical Analysis

Marxist Perspectives on Imperialism: A Theoretical Analysis

Synopsis

By distinguishing between classical Marxist and neo-Marxist approaches to imperialism, This volume challenges generally accepted views on the relationship between these two branches of Marxist thought, reaffirming the principles and tools of fundamental Marxism as essential for understanding and explaining the internationalization of capitalist economic life. Together, original source materials and Polychroniou's highly readable analysis present a commentary both outlining and clarifying essential ideas contained in Marxist writings from the late 19th century to the present. Marxist Perspectives on Imperialism also identifies current political and economic issues to which authentic Marxist concepts can be applied.

Excerpt

Imperialism is the hallmark of the twentieth century. The internationalization of capitalist economic life, which emerged at the turn of the century, has become a global trend and has produced far-reaching effects on the international system. In the twentieth century alone, inter-imperialist rivalries among the great capitalist countries have dragged humanity twice into global wars. In addition, the tendency toward the internationalization of economic life within the world capitalist system has produced at various times major economic catastrophes and corresponding differences in the economic development between the advanced capitalist countries and those of the Third World. Finally, imperialism has revealed its most ugly manifestations by continuously building weapons of awesome destructiveness that threaten the world with total extinction.

In view of these considerations, it is hardly surprising that Marxist scholars have made the question of imperialism the most pertinent one on their theoretical and empirical agenda. Of course, it is well known that the major Marxist figures of the early twentieth century--for example, Rudolf Hilferding, Rosa Luxemburg, Nikolai Bukharin, and V. I. Lenin--produced vital works on the question under consideration. But since the postwar period, the literature on Marxist studies of imperialism has grown to considerable proportions. Many political economists, historians, and sociologists from within the Marxist intellectual tradition have written at times about the nature, dynamics, and contradic-

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