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The Surplus in Monopoly Capitalism and the Imperialist Rent

Samir Amin

Recently in their July-August issue (Volume 64, Issue 03) Monthly Review published a “missing chapter” from Paul Baran and Paul M. Sweezy’s seminal work Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order. This publication was accompanied by commentaries by MR editor and ecological materialism theorist John Bellamy Foster, Egyptian world-systems political economist Samir Amin and others.

Below I have chosen to repost Amin’s contribution: The Surplus in Monopoly Capitalism and the Imperialist Rent. Thanks have to go to reader and fellow Blogger Eastwind who put Amin on my mind today during our discussion of Immanuel Wallerstein and World-System Theory.

Note from MR: Since the 1950s Samir Amin has provided a systematic critique of the capitalist system, beginning with his landmark treatise, The Accumulation of Capital on a World Scale (1957) and extending to his important works of the last few years, most notably The Law of Worldwide Value (2010). Here he provides an explanation of the importance of Baran and Sweezy’s Monopoly Capital to this critique, relating “surplus” (which he identifies with all residual income/expenditures in the system of national accounts beyond invested profits and wages) to imperial rent. To aid in the understanding of his analysis here we have inserted two footnotes further explicating the two numerical examples he provides.

As usual, the posting of this essay should not be taken as a complete endorsement of it by The Speed of Dreams. Read the rest of this entry