Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order
is an essay from 1966 by Paul Sweezy
and Paul A. Baran
. It made a major contribution to Marxist theory by shifting attention from the assumption of a competitive economy to monopolistic aspects of giant corporations that dominate market life.
Big business can maintain selling prices at high levels while still competing to cut costs, advertise and market their products. The economic surpluses which result cannot be absorbed through consumers spending more. The concentration of the surplus in the hands of the business elite must therefore be geared towards imperialistic and militaristic government tendencies, which is the easiest and surest way to utilise surplus productive capacity.
Exploitation focuses on low wage workers and groups at home, especially minorities. Average earners see the pressures in drive for production destroy their human relationships, leading to wider alienation and hostility. The whole system is largely irrational, since though individuals may make rational decisions, the ultimate systemic goals are not. The system continues to function so long as Keynesian full employment policies are pursued, but there is the continued threat to stability from less-developed countries, throwing off the restraints of neo-colonial domination.
- Baran, Paul A. & Sweezy, Paul M. Monopoly Capital: An essay on the American economic and social order (Monthly Review Press, 1966)
- Fusfeld, Daniel R. (1994) The Age of the Economist, pp.151-2, Harper Collins, 7th Ed. ISBN 0673468054
- Bellod Redondo, J. F. (2008); "Monopolio e Irracionalidad: Microfundamentos de la Teoría Baran - Sweezy"; revista Principios - Estudios de Economía Política, pp 65 - 84, nº 10, Fundación Sistema, Madrid.