Vladimir Lenin said that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism. Lenin saw the small privately owned businesses Karl Marx talked about being replaced with large corporations, sometimes even market dominating corporations. Capitalist societies around the world became laden with these large corporations and monopolies of large corporations. These corporations and monopolies became global and they needed the power and support of the state i.e. the military to look after their interests. It increasingly became necessary for the most powerful of countries to protect their interests through strengthening their military forces.
The strength displayed by these countries militaries depended on their economic development and so the two institutions became dependant upon each other. Countries would send out their militaries in order to take over other countries and thus gain their lands and their wealth. This, in effect caused nations to compete with each other over the lands, resources and wealth of the world. At the beginning of all of this, “lands” were still being discovered, and after they were all accounted for and owned there could only be a re-partitioning of territories. This whole process leads to political and military competition. This competition results in war. Vladimir Lenin said that this process was imperialism. Lenin further believed that this building of empires and the clash between the most powerful nations brings the whole world into a war.
The above explanation displays just exactly what Vladimir Lenin’s view of imperialism had to do with World War I. Lenin was watching all of these monstrous things happen in the world around him. The United States, Germany, France, Britain, Japan and other nations were all fighting over the world’s lands, resources, and wealth. He watched as the majority of the people all over the world suffered as a direct affect of the war efforts and of course, the damage of the war.
The ever increasing rate of industrial capital created the need for finance capital, according to Lenin. Finance capital is very basically the phenomenon of wealth generating wealth. A good example of this is the interest on a loan one takes out from another entity. The loan holder makes a profit, finance capital, by charging you a small fee, interest, on the loan. Vladimir Lenin believed that this was to be the future of business in the world. He thought that finance capital would be the next stage after monopoly capitalism.
I must say, living in today’s society, Vladimir Lenin had the right idea about the progression of a capitalistic system. Everywhere I look there are advertisements for banks and all of their services, credit cards, department store reward cards and so on and so forth. We are seeing his predictions about the change in capitalism having come to full maturity. I have managed by some miracle to not have a credit card or to have taken out any loans for anything outside of my education. I can not imagine a future further down the line of capitalism, other then the socializing of more and more of our society.