The American political economy and monopoly capital: A reinterpretation
In this thesis, the American political economy is presented as a negation of the two-stage theory of capitalist development advanced by theorists like Hilferding, Steindl and Baran and Sweezy. Various cases from the American economy are presented to contradict the argument that with the emergence of large-scale industry competition among capitals is eliminated or highly restricted. The experience of the American automobile industry confirms Marx's argument that competition and the concentration and centralization of capital are not opposites where the emergence of one entails the disappearance of the other. General Motors' battle to enter the high-volume, low-cost market dominated by Ford is a good example. In the later decades of the twenty-century foreign firms, e.g., European, Japanese and later a few Korean companies began to compete effectively and to challenge the market dominance of the American marques. American financial markets are another case presented in this thesis to negate the contention that with the emergence of large-scale industry a new stage in the development of capitalism emerges as competition is eliminated. For Baran and Sweezy, and others after Hilferding, the belief is that large-scale businesses have enough power to control markets without the aid of finance capital. This downplays the importance of the stock market as a competitor to the banks and the emergence of other sources of finance capital, e.g., venture capital, mutual funds and pension funds, which represent new competitors to traditional forms of finance. Traditionally, the American economy has been presented as a case in support of the theory of monopoly capital. This thesis' unique contribution to the literature is to show that the American economy contradicts the arguments of the exponents of the theory of monopoly capital. The findings presented in this thesis lead to the conclusion that so serious are the flaws on which these theorists based their critique of Marx's theory that the very utility of the theoretical tools that they present for understanding the process of capital accumulation are completely inadequate and the time has come to jettison its claims.
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