Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lenin Presentation Questions

Why is Lenin writing this pamphlet?
What has capitalism become according to Lenin?
What is the Proletariat supposed to do to end "universal ruin"?
What does Lenin claim to be one of the most characteristic features of capitalism?
How does concentration of production and combination of production lead to monopoly?
What is the role of banks in relation to monopolies?
What has happened, according to Lenin, to the stock exchange and its importance?
When was the moment that Lenin claims that old capitalism shifted to new capitalism?


  1. Question: What does Lenin claim to be one of the most characteristic features of capitalism?

    On page 211, Lenin begins his first chapter by saying, "enormous growth of industry and the remarkably rapid concentration of production in ever-larger enterprises are one of the most characteristic features of capitalism." Lenin backs this statement up by listing statistics about how industry has become extremely concentrated in a short period of time. The concentration makes competition impossible and therefore leads to monopoly. Therefore: monopolies are an end in capitalism, and they are caused by the concentration of production; which is a major characteristic of capitalism.

  2. In response to 'Why is Lenin writing this pamphlet?':

    What mainly provoked Lenin to write this pamphlet was the outbreak of World War I. He wanted to give his own explanation as to why Imperialism was the highest stage in capitalism. Lenin states on page 205 that "the main purpose of the book was... [to present] a complete picture of the world capitalist system in its international relationships". In other words, he is saying that the economics has to be fully understood before there is any movement towards solving the problems. Also, he argues that the war was more of an imperialist movement where countries simply started war so that they could expand their 'territory', which in turns means spreading their power and influence into areas they had no right to. It seems like Lenin is saying that all the intentions behind these imperialist ideas (which caused the war), had mainly economic influences. Therefore in order to even begin to tackle this problem the socialists were facing, they had to explore further into the economic aspects in the societies in different countries.

  3. What is the role of bank in relation to monopolies?

    The bank's role in the original capital system is to transform capital from inactive (in the bank: accounts, etc) to active (outside of the bank: loans, cash, etc) (Lenin 214). But as capitalism evolves towards imperialism, towards a giant "merger", banks also evolve towards monopolistic functions. Now the banks are no longer the "middle man" but forces of their own (214). When the bank begins to collect large amounts of the capital, banks begin to merge into larger banks, with less competition(216). Not only do the banks become monopolistic themselves but they also begin to associate with the big enterprises (217). Bank people getting too involved in enterprise managing and enterprise people getting to involved in bank managing. The result is the loss of the impartiality of the bank.

    1. Another major aspect from the change of old capitalism (free competition) to new capitalism (domination of monopolies) is the "decline of the importance of the Stock Exchange" (215) and rise of a few large banks. The Stock Exchange is no longer necessary because as banks become larger, they no do not need the Stock Exchange to help the industrialization of Germany grow. The banks are now large enough to "do it on their own" (215).

  4. I believe that Lenin thinks free competition is one of the most characteristic feature of capitalism. However, it is interesting and somewhat ironic that this free competition eventually develops into monopolies, creating large scale companies and basically eliminating smaller companies. Lenin mentions that capitalism only transforms itself into capitalist imperialism when capitalism reaches a high stage of its development, so this concludes me to say that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism.


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