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» Economics » Imperialism » Topics begins with M » Monopoly capitalism

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Monopoly capitalism is in the marxism a development phase of capitalism, into a position dominating the market by concentration, centralization and Kartellbildung of broad industries the earlier competition is to a large extent waived and/or other forms assumes (see also imperialism) and a set of monopolies, Oligarchen, large basic owners and large concerns in the key industries to hold at least.

This destructive effect of the competition and their negative effects try to prevent most developed market managing by legal and institutional influencing control (in Germany for example the GWB and the Federal Cartel Office).


Already in the volume I of the capital describes Marx the centralization process of the capital. Marx assumes that the is increased above all by the fact that for each job is invested ever more constant capital. Hence it follows that finally ever more rationalization investments debited to of extension investments take place. In the result this leads to the fact that the occupation is ever more weakly expanded altogether. As far as the individual enterprises expand still the occupation, this takes place by means of it that other enterprises from the market are pushed, to be bought up or otherwise like swallowed.

In the volume III this again in detail described in connection with the law of the tendentious case of the profit rate. In the result the different industries are controlled by less and less companies, at the worst by monopolies. Thus the feature of the competition changes. Monopolies or oligopolies stand less in competition with companies, which manufacture the same product. It however still concerns as high a profit rate as possible or on a long-term basis secured profits. It comes to the competition between monopolies of different industries. A steel concern comes for example into conflict with a railway company, which requires high transport costs. Oil, road construction and automobile companies come into conflict with railway companies. A recent example: Companies, which want to spread Internet, come into conflict with telephone monopolies, which require high telephone charges.

With these arguments between the giants it concerns also the influence on the state. So the railway company with the high transportation prices can be put under state control, in order to then transport to cost price. The telephone markets can be dereguliert. Trusts can be smashed (in the interest of other monopolies). Competitors on the world market can be kept far with the help of national Protektionismusses. Cheap raw materials can become secured with the help of imperialistic policy. During the Second World War the German state has long-distance traffic on the road certified, which in most European countries of the railway by national adjustment before was reserved as crew power in France. Finally the state in emergency can large firms turned out by subsidies save or as large order givers, frequently in the armaments industry, companies support. Monopoly capitalism will develop further thus rapidly to a national monopoly capitalism, with which the dominant monopolies are closely verquickt with the state apparatus.

If the competition shifts away from a competition between companies of an industry to a competition between capitalistic national states and capital blocks, it takes more and more also military forms. A permanent arms economy with own contradictions can develop.

Other Marxists follow Karl Kautsky or Rudolf Hilferding, according to which monopoly capitalism can develop further to a rather peaceful Ultra imperialism or to a "organized capitalism".

Historical background

End of the nineteenth, at the beginning of the twentieth century came it increasingly in countries such as Germany or the USA to strong Kapitalkonzentration, which worried also outside of marxism. In the USA the term was coined/shaped "robber baron ", "the robbery knight "(the term was actually inspired by (robbery knight) the castles on the German Rhine, which required of the driving past buyers tariffs, its). Increasingly the "Trusts" were regarded as a danger for the operability of the economy. At that time the anti-trust legislation developed in the USA (see also the German trust right).

After the Second World War the US president Dwight D coined/shaped. Eisenhower the term of the military of complex. The Marxist theory of the permanent arms economy attributes the comparatively favorable development capitalistic managing into the early 70's to the very high defence expenditure of the cold war.

The US economist John Kenneth Galbraith coined/shaped the term "of the Technostruktur in the 60's ", according to which Big Businesses operate and "Big labour "(the large trade unions) debited to the remaining economy a common policy.

Recently before the background "of the oil wars "occasionally spoken of Marxists of "the Petro complex ", meant is in particular the oil industry or the oil industry including the automobile industry. From the 25 largest companies of the world 16 is active in the oil or motorring industry.


At the theory of monopoly capitalism the simple linear-historical pattern is criticized: Competition capitalism - monopoly capitalism - Stamokap or in other Marxist directions state capitalism-actually gives it, like already to Karl Marx in the capital determined, apart from "centripetal "always also again centrifugal forces. Also the reciprocal effect between state and high finance or the influence of the banks on the industry (financial capital) is subjected to a more complicated historical change. The development of a world market can subject national monopolies again to the competition. In the same way the development is also again through-crossed to state capitalism ever more minted by the world market.


  • And as soon as the capital formation would fall exclusively into the hands of some few, finished large capitals,"… at all the animating fire of production would have expired. Karl Marx, MEW 25, the capital III, P. 269
  • Microsoft had competition in the past. Fortunately there are museums, which document that. - Bill Gates, Rede in the museum for computer history, 1 October 2004

See also

Competition capitalism Stamokap state capitalism

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