Talk:State capitalism

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Lenin's "state capitalism" is different: it's not just an accusation by others, but what he himself called his economic system. Among communists, his was the original which others tried to copy.[edit]

Thus it should be at least mentioned near the top. In my newest edit I did this more fairly (without calling it the "primary" meaning) & also shortened what I added. I welcome suggestions. (talk) 22:43, 1 January 2014 (UTC)

History is mentioned in the "Origins and early uses of the term" section. There, it says the term was used by people before him including Liebknecht and Bakunin, not exclusively Lenin. I reintegrated the bulk of your first edit after those.
As to the lede section, it should most likely refer to what the most common, modern usages are. 8ty3hree (talk) 21:46, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

Lewis Skinner[edit]

Who is Lewis Skinner? I consider myself reasonably knowledgable about this sort of thing, and I've never heard the name before, also nothing comes up on a search. I'm going to be mean and remove him until someone comes up with something. Rafaelgr 03:13, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)


I'm sure I remember reading some anarchist stuff that refered to state capitalism, anyone know what their interpretation is?--JK the unwise 12:49, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Anarchists tend to describe the current system as state capitalism in order to highlight the interconnections between the state and capitalism. They often contrast this with state socialism, a term they use to refer to the USSR/China etc. Not sure about references. Disillusioned kid

No Anarchist I know describes the current system as State Capitalism, most describe it as Neo-Liberal. Anarchists use State Capitalism to refer to Communist regimes generally, such as Cuba, China or the Soviet Union, saying that these governments are simply running a capitalist nation (in regard to the relationship to workers, industry, the economy, etc) where the state has a monopoly on everything.

It's similar (though not related to) the Trots' approach, except Anarchists would consider all Communist regimes, including Trotskyites', to be State Capitalist rather than any one particular variety of Marxism, as the Trots do with Stalinism. --Ragnor Ironpants 16:19, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Actually, Anarchist Superstar Noam Chomsky frequently refers to the current wewstern system as State Capitalism, as do people like the ICC, chiefly based on the abandoment of commodity gold currency in favour of fiat paper money and the massive state intervention in the economy this necessarilly entails.--Red Deathy 12:32, September 2, 2005 (UTC)

An introduction to anarchists thought on state socialism can be found in the "Anarchist FAQ section H.3.13 Why is state socialism just state capitalism?" Also of interest is anarchist thought on the Russian Revolution at "Anarchist FAQ Appendix Appendix - The Russian Revolution" - Cemendur

Anarchist view "socialism" as a sytem whereby the workers own the means of production. We view the state as a system whereby a few have economic, political, and social control over the many. Therefore, anarchists view the term "state socialism" as a contradiction in terms.
For anarchists, the former Soviet Union is "state capitalism" because the state, manifested in Bolshevik regime, "replace(d) the capitalist class totally via nationalisation of the means of production. In such a regime, the state would own, manage and accumulate capital rather than individual capitalists."
There are two other uses for the term "state capitalism". First, it is "used to describe the current system of big business subject to extensive state control (particularly if, as in war, the capitalist state accrues extensive powers over industry). Secondly, it was used by Lenin to describe his immediate aims after the October Revolution, namely a regime in which the capitalists would remain but would be subject to a system of state control inherited by the new "proletarian" state from the old capitalist one." (All quotes from the Anarchist FAQ) - Cemendur

Anarchist and other theories of 'Soviet' 'capitalism' or 'state capitalism'[edit]

A lengthy discussion of numerous different 'capitalist' theories of the USSR, including 'state capitalist' ones (there are many more than mentioned here, covering a broader range) is given in Neil Fernandez's book 'Capitalism and Class Struggle in the USSR' (ISBN 1840141867), referred to in the 'Aufheben' article. 158-152-12-77 23:34, 1 September 2005 (BST)

Sounds good. If you have the article to hand be bold and add some more info to the article.--JK the unwise 13:03, 29 September 2005 (UTC)


This article says nothing about USSR being a socialist country (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)... Most everyone knows that the USSR's actual government was soclialist, and with elements in the communist party* who wanted international abolish of the bourgeoisie, leading into socialism, then leading into communism... This article seems to be mostly written by those ignorant of this, or completely unable to articulate this.

  • Except for Stalin's faction (as well as others... throughout USSR's entire history) who wanted socliasm in one state, and not international revolution.-- 21:32, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

One of the main points of the concept of state capitalism is the assertion that the states in question are NOT socialist, whatever they may have called themselves, and that a group in these countries (generally, the more powerful members of the ruling party) made up a state bourgeoisie. Rafaelgr 22:12, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Why no mention of Lenin on "State capitalism"?[edit]

From: “Left-Wing” Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality [1]

If the words we have quoted provoke a smile, the following discovery made by the “Left Communists” will provoke nothing short of Homeric laughter. According to them, under the “Bolshevik deviation to the right” the Soviet Republic is threatened with “evolution towards state capitalism”. They have really frightened us this time! And with what gusto these “Left Communists” repeat this threatening revelation in their theses and articles. . . .

It has not occurred to them that state capitalism would be a step forward as compared with the present state of affairs in our Soviet Republic. If in approximately six months’ time state capitalism became established in our Republic, this would be a great success and a sure guarantee that within a year socialism will have gained a permanently firm hold and will have become invincible in our country.

I can imagine with what noble indignation a “Left Communist” will recoil from these words, and what “devastating criticism” he will make to the workers against the “Bolshevik deviation to the right”. What! Transition to state capitalism in the Soviet Socialist Republic would be a step forward?. . . Isn’t this the betrayal of socialism?

Flag of Ireland.svgCamillusFlag of Scotland.svgtalk|contribs 11:50, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Upside down?[edit]

I agree with the idea to start with pre-1917 ideas of state capitalism, rather than Cliff -- who attempted to apply the earlier ideas of state capitalism to the expansion of the USSR.

The left-communist critique of Cliff is also the mainstream Trotskyist critique, in so far as it is presented here. It's a weakness that we don't show that Cliff's view is a minority withing Troshyism, and that the left-communist critique as shown here will probabaly be accepted by most non-Cliffite Leninists... --DuncanBCS 13:33, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

So apropos of Duncan's comments: I agree that this article needs reorganizing. There's something to be said for the historical approach, but I think it's more important that there's also a lack of actual explanatory content (and as far as this goes it ought to be noted that Cliff's version seems to me to be the only one that's ever come close to having a widespread diffusion), also the article doesn't discuss the Johnson-Forrest version of the theory (which I barely know anything about but seems to be considered a big deal by some). I agree that it should be clear that most Trotskyists don't hold with this (that's gotten weaker through some of the edits), but I don't think that the orthodox Trotskyist (e.g. Mandel) critique is that close to the 'Aufheben' one: on points 1 and 3, Aufheben's critique I think is exactly opposite of Mandel's (at least as I'm familiar with it from his later works), I intend to expand on this later. Rafaelgr 20:17, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Wow! That sounds excellent. I think Rafaelgr's approach will be much better, because it will also allow us to better understand the critiques and how each new form of state capitalist theory addresses the criticisms of the earlier ones. Johnson-Forrest's position is very useful, and also echoes some of the disagreements on what a workers state it that have taken plan between critics of state capitalism. P.S. "Orthodox Trotskyism" was never a phrase of Mandel: it's really associated with Cannon. Perhaps 'mainstream' Trotskyism?--DuncanBCS 22:02, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

where is the anarchist POV ?[edit]

"Modern capitalist production and bank speculation inexorably demand enormous centralization of the State, which alone can subject millions of workers to capitalist exploitation. (...) And just as capitalist production must, to avoid bankruptcy, continually expand by absorbing its weaker competitors and drive to monopolize all the other capitalist enterprises all over the world, so must the modern State inevitably drive to become the only universal State (...) They will concentrate all administrative power in their own strong hands (...); and they will create a central state bank, which will also control all the commerce, industry, agriculture, and even science. The mass of the people will be divided into two armies, the agricultural and the industrial, under the direct command of the state engineers, who will constitute the new privileged political-scientific class." Bakunin in "statism and anarchy" - about marxists views. (1873) (but it is a bad translation in english of the original work of bakunin ; the original is more clear).


A few comments on what I perceive as large holes in this entry:

--In 1941, Raya Dunayevskaya and C.L.R. James (then Freddie Forest and J.R. Johnson of the Worker's Party) simultaneously theorized that the USSR was state-capitalist. As far as I know, they were the first within any Trotskyite party/group to arrive at this conclusion. They are not to be found in the entry.

--It's debatable that "the most influential formulation" of state-capitalism was Cliff's. This should be made more NPOV.

--In fact, I think Cliff would not work with Johnson-Forest because of his insistence that the state-capitalist analysis should be economic alone, whereas Dunayevskaya in particular drew other conclusions. One unique one was that state-capitalism was a new world stage, not just appearing in Russia, but Nazi Germany and New Deal America as well. This point and a few others lead me to think of adding another section, something like: "Marxist-Humanist theory of State-Capitalism." What does everyone think? Dialecticas

On the last point, I think Cliff toyed with the idea of State Capitalism as highest form of capitalism over the Korean war; how does Dunayavkaya's position differ from Burnham's managerialism thing? And didn't some left communists, Ducth and Italian see the fundamental decadence of capitalism setting in with 1914 and all capitalism essentially becoming state capitalism?--Red Deathy 12:23, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

Dialecticas, I agree with your points. Why don't you start a section called "Use by Marxist humanists"? It could (eventually?) address Red Deathy's question by taking up the relationship between the two questions of (1) all capitalism becoming or tending toward state capitalism and (2) analysis of Russia under Stalin (alternatively, according to some, Russia becoming state capitalist immediately after 1917 revolution). The article mentions Bukharin but not in a very clear way; it should be noted that he wrote, "(as far as capitalism will retain its foothold) the future belongs to economic forms that are close to state capitalism" (Imperialism and World Economy, p. 158). Cliff's theory owes quite a bit to Bukharin, who, Cliff and his followers believe, was the first to give a rigorous definition of state capitalism. What Dunayevskaya did before anyone else was to work out an actual theory--based on Marx's economic categories and empirical data--that explained Russia under Stalin as state capitalist. In addition, as you say, there were unique features to her theory, including the fact that it was not based on Bukharin's writings but was developed in conjunction with an exploration of Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. So go ahead. –Franklin Dmitryev 16:08, 19 March 2006 (UTC)

A couple of points:
First, I said Cliff's formulation on state capitalism is most influential (among Marxists) because it's the only form that's been seriously in the last 50 years by groups which were merely small, as opposed to entirely insignificant, and I think that even goes for academics though I supposed we could argue about that. The Johnson-Forrest tendency and its descendents never amounted to more than a few hundred people at the most generous estimate, although other aspects of James' and Dunayevskaya's thinking had a wider diffusion.
Some issues with Dialecticas' points and passion. First, there were members of the Russian Left Opposition in the 1920s discussing the idea of State Capitalism (Cliff talks about this in his biography of Trotsky, and there is a brief reference to it in one of Victor Serge's novels; I'll try digging these up). Also, I don't think there is a specific reason Cliff didn't adhere to the Johnson-Forrest point of view; communications and the conditions of the people involved being what they were in those days, it's just as likely that Cliff had no idea that it existed, or that he thought it was a variation on Shachtman's position and therefore not worthy of investigation. I'm quite confident that Cliff didn't think of state capitalism as a new world stage, so that is a difference; I'm not sure what's meant by "his insistence that the state-capitalist analysis should be economic alone" here, though.
It certainly is the case that there deserves to be something about J-F, though. The main reason it's not here is that no-one's come along yet to write it. Rafaelgr 04:52, 25 March 2006 (UTC)


Very interesting article; congrats to all who've contributed. I have one very small point regarding punctuation, which I want to submit to popular scrutiny: It's my understanding that we should use no hyphen for a stand-alone noun, as in "Liebknecht defines state capitalism as X", but a hyphen when the word's used attributively, as in "Smith lists Albania among state-capitalist countries". It's the same idea as we find in 'two-car garage'. Let me know if this notion seems deeply repugnant. QuartierLatin1968 El bien mas preciado es la libertad 00:38, 23 June 2006 (UTC)


  • This article: "State Capitalism describes a capitalist society wherein the productive forces are owned and run by a state."
  • Capitalism article: "Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned, ..."

This would mean that "state capitalism" is a contradiction in terms. —Ashley Y 03:52, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes, some opponents of the state capitalism thesis argue that - but the article here sets out the theory and its premises. In Marxian terms, strictly, capitalism is a society in which goods are produced for sale (as commodities) with a view to making a profit through the employment of waged labour. The significant thing, for Marx was that Capital has an existence and the capitalist is just an agent for that capital. However, technically, it could also be argued that since the state was a private monopoly of the Bolshevik party, and the state owned the means of production, there was private property in the Soviet Union - writers like Buick & Crump liken this to the common property held by the Catholic church...--Red Deathy 07:34, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
  • In a disagreement with Red Deathy but ultimately an agreement, I have to say that state-capitalism is not a contradiction in terms. In "strictly Marxian terms," capitalist production exists when concrete human labor is alienated and objectified during the activity of laboring, and becomes congealed in the commodity. This creates the dual character of labor under capitalism, concrete and abstract. Marx was VERY clear when he wrote in "Capital" that the understanding of this dual character of labor under capitalism is "the pivot on which a clear comprehension of political economy turns" (Capital, Vol. I, p. 195). Alienated labor occurs when the laborers are not freely associated, and are not creating products under their own conscious self-organization and control. This capitalist mode of production can happen in the instance of a State owning the means of production, or a private company or corporation. Maybe the Capitalism article needs to be changed :) At any rate Ashley Y, please consult the talk page before putting a contradiction tag on in the future.

-- dialecticas

Maybe the Capitalism article needs to be changed, maybe this one does. Either way, the two article contradict each other, and the tag should remain until they do not. —Ashley Y 01:04, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Some more thoughtful editing is called for here. One can't just pick random statements that one individual deems contradictory at the outset when a deeper inquiry reveals that it's not so black-and-white. Where exactly does it say that a state can't be the private owner of something? If a political state--say, the USSR--was non-democratic and did not receive its mandate from the public, then a private group of some kind could be said to be in control. A private group. Just as a private group is in control of a company: a board of directors, a CEO, whatever. Ashley Y's assertion that "the two article contradict each other" is not detailed, discussed, or proven in even a cursory way and therefore undeserving of a tag. If Ashley Y's view of the capitalist state does not include both private and state-capitalist forms, that does not mean that the two objective ideas are contradictory. Please also see the Wikipedia: guidelines page be bold; it strongly suggests that one list detailed reasons on a talk page and discuss them with other authors before making sweeping changes. This was not the method that Ashley Y used. Please do not revert the tag. --dialecticas
A state can be the owner of something, but not the private owner of something: private, at least as meant in the capitalism article, excludes the state. It seems to me that two different definitions of "capitalism" are being used, one by capitalists on the capitalist page, and a Marxist one here. That's fine, but it needs to be clarified.
I'd also request that you follow process with regards to warning tags on articles. Bear in mind the tag says "appears to contradict", whether it actually does contradict or not is something to be resolved here. —Ashley Y 05:10, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
Some of these statements puzzle me. There is nothing in the capitalism article that indicates that "private" excludes state ownership. But there are multiple references to the role of the state in capitalism, including a couple of links to state capitalism. Nor does the capitalism article give one definition of capitalism. It correctly notes the existence of a few different views of what characterizes capitalism. So I don't think it makes sense to claim there is a contradiction. If there is one, it is between the first paragraph of the capitalism article and the content further down in the same article. (This is in addition to the fact that two people have already explained that state ownership can be private property. Maybe we should go back to Marx's statement that as long as "power over labor" exists, you have private property.) It seems that you are reading your own restricted definition of what capitalism is, and what can be considered private property, into the subject matter.
Your initial comment that "state capitalism" is a contradiction in terms would tend to imply that there should not even be such an article. But it represents a set of theories that serious theoreticians put a lot of work into, backed up with empirical facts and studies of Marx's theory. In my opinion the tag does not really belong on this page, though it might help to expand the discussion of state capitalism on the capitalism page, if it is found not to reflect clearly enough the existence of debate on the meaning of state capitalism, and to make the lead sections of both articles more precise, noting the range of different meanings attributed to these terms. Franklin Dmitryev 06:42, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
My concern is only with the contradictions between articles, not with taking any political position. The capitalism article goes on to say 'It is also usually considered to involve the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as "legal persons" (or corporations) to trade capital goods, labor and money (see finance and credit) in a free market.' Is this the case under state capitalism? Or is this an exception for which the sentence uses "usually"? It is what most people think of as essential to capitalism, but the definition of capitalism used here may be different. —Ashley Y 08:19, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
"Usually considered" does not mean an exception, but rather one of the various definitions of capitalism. But this usually accepted conception of a "free market" is shown throughout the capitalism article to be an abstraction that does not fit the reality, in which the state has always played an important role, and the market is never fully "free." This does not back up the claim of a contradiction in terms. One of the points of the theory of state capitalism is that "what most people think of as essential to capitalism" is a superficial and inadequate definition, which fails to account for the fact that Stalin's Russia, Mao's China, etc., still followed what Marx analyzed as the law of motion of capitalist society, and that the worker in the factory experienced the same sort of exploitative relations as in the West. I'm not accusing you of taking a political position. I'm suggesting that you are disregarding the theoretical issues and reading into the capitalism article a monolithism that some editors have worked to avoid. Franklin Dmitryev 12:52, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
What I see in the capitalism article is different definitions of "capitalism": Marx' in terms of production, Weber's and the German Historical/Austrian schools in terms of exchange and markets. It would seem that state capitalism is capitalism only according to Marx' definition, while most people these days are referring to an exchange-based definition when they use the word. I'm not willing to have the market-based definition declared "superficial and inadequate" since it is not presented that way in the capitalism article.
I don't doubt that markets are never fully "free". But there would seem to be degrees of freedom. —Ashley Y 18:27, 15 July 2006 (UTC)

The issule here is not whether or not the term "state capitalism" makes objective sence but rather just whether or not it contradicts some of the definitions of capitalism in the capitalism article, which it appears to. How about changing the opening line to something like "State Capitalism describes an economy where the state owns and controls the productive forces but where elements of the dynamics of a capitalist economy are thought to still exist."--JK the unwise 14:09, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

That's a good start, JK, though the phrase "are thought to" is not needed since we're describing a theory. It doesn't reflect the full range of views in the article yet, though, as seen in the section on "state capitalism in Western countries." It may need a two-alternative definition. Which brings me to the second point. I totally disagree that there is any issue if this article contradicts "some" of the definitions in the other article. As long as it is consonant with even one definition, it is not a contradiction. Otherwise, you would have to put the contradiction tag on every article that correctly reports that there are conflicting theories about the subject matter, because each one of those theories contradicts "some" of the definitions. Let's not misuse the tag. It does not apply just because there is a contradiction between some theory and a popular conception of something. Franklin Dmitryev 16:34, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
I just wrote the following comment and noticed that Franklin Dmitryev beat me to some of my thoughts! I'll include them anyway:
It is clear that within the capitalism article itself, there is not one single authoritative definition of capitalism. Rather, there are different theories of what constitues capitalism. (It may be important to note that there is an important discussion on that page as well; see its talk page). I've looked on other pages as well in an attempt to ground my thoughts on these issues, most notably the state page and property page. Again, each phenomenon has its corresponding theories.
To say that two theories contradict each other--such as state capitalism and capitalism--connotes that there are clear-cut, monolithic definitions of both phenomena, which is untrue. Different conceptions of the same thing inherently "contradict" themselves; John Maynard Keynes and Ayn Rand both conceptualize capitalism differently and are "contradictory" in the narrow sense that Ashley Y uses. But they are both defining capitalism. What I am asking is: Where are there any two definitions of the same thing that don't have elements within themselves that contradict each other? Remember, we are talking about social and political theory, not natural science. Contradiction tags would need to be put on every single theoretical article on Wikipedia if we followed the above logic, because contradiction is at the root of why a theory is conceived of in the first place.
In closing, I am amenable to JK the unwise's above proposal. I personally want to see the end of the contradiction tag so that both the capitalism and state capitalism articles can be improved. So, let's clear this up with JK (the wise)'s and Franklin Dmitryev's mediation and get back to improving articles! --Dialecticas 16:56, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
What about something like this: "State Capitalism describes an economy where (1) the state controls the productive forces but where elements of the dynamics of a capitalist economy exist, or (2) the state decisively intervenes in a capitalist economy."
I don't see the point of the "fact" tag, since the citations at the end of the article show that the position that was tagged does indeed exist. It's certainly not a task of the wikipedia article to prove that the theory is correct, only to show that the theory as described is the theory that is espoused. Franklin Dmitryev 18:22, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
I think it would be helpful if it were made clear that it is specifically Marx' definition of capitalism being used. As far as I can tell, "state capitalism" contradicts some of the other definitions of capitalism used in the capitalism article. —Ashley Y 19:37, 16 July 2006 (UTC)
We need to answer each others' points here, or else talking won't do any good. Ashley Y, please see Franklin Dmitryev's above argument regarding "some" definitions within articles. I'll include it here, since I pretty much agree:
"I totally disagree that there is any issue if this article contradicts "some" of the definitions in the other article. As long as it is consonant with even one definition, it is not a contradiction. Otherwise, you would have to put the contradiction tag on every article that correctly reports that there are conflicting theories about the subject matter, because each one of those theories contradicts 'some' of the definitions."
This just seems to me like good sense, and it should be applied to our discussion.
In response to the assertion that it should be "made clear that it is specifically Marx' definition of capitalism being used," I would say that it is extremely clear in every case who's definition of capitalism is being used. The site contains "use by capitalists, "use by Trotskyists," "use by Maoists," etc. These are all specific examples of conceptions of capitalism. Surely the capitalists aren't using Marx's definition, nor the Trotskyists the Maoist definition.
I think I understand some of Ashley Y's confusion. There are contradictory claims being made by everyone as to what entails capitalism, what are its forms, etc. It's confusing, because everyone builds their argument on different grounds. This does not denote an unwanted contradiction, though. It is this contradiction that must always be the result of two (or more) theories that differ from each other. There would be no theory of anything without this type of contradiction.
Let's move forward on this. I vote we accept Franklin Dmitryev's last proposition. Let's hear from everyone who's been following this discussion. If there are specific disagreements, please make a counter-proposition. When it looks like everyone's been heard, we can replace the disputed text, take off the tag, and improve the article in other needed ways. --Dialecticas 21:22, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Verification tag?[edit]

  • Why did Vision Thing put a verification tag on this page? Tags are not experimental tools to be used to start a discussion. With no specific suggestions on what needs to be verified, how can this tag be taken seriously? I am taking it off. PLEASE talk about these things before you tag them! --Dialecticas 16:47, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Please don't take my hyperactivity on Wikipedia today as over-aggressive; it is Sunday and I'm dedicating today to tinkering around here, and this article just factors in largely with my attention span.

That said, I would really like to request that Vision Thing's fact tag be taken off. What seems to be at issue to Vision Thing is what the above contradiction tag discussion takes up also: the validity of the article's content. Again, I request that all of us use the talk page before a possibly contentious edit, or at least read the talk page to see if maybe our personal questions/views/opinions may be reflected somewhere else. As it stands, the fact tag is being used as a way of calling the whole article and concept of state capitalism into question, and that is not what that tag is for. I want to refrain from being that aggressive editor who tyranically reverts everything, so maybe someone else could remove the tag if they agree and feel a consensus. Thanks. --Dialecticas 18:24, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

I added fact tag because I never heard that state capitalism is "a capitalist society wherein the productive forces are owned and run by a state". I want to know from where that definition came from? -- Vision Thing -- 18:29, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Check the citations at the end of the article. It's a long-established theory. Franklin Dmitryev 19:02, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

Things that are not dialectical[edit]

I have not edited this article, but have edited Capitalism rather extensively of late. An editor or two over there have tried to change the lead to reflect the description of "state capitalism" given in this article. Moreover, I see the tag at top of this article the says there is a discrepancy between the two.

To my mind, this is a contradiction that really need not be resolved; in fact, it really cannot be in any particularly meaningful way. The analysts of state capitalism advance a relatively novel, and relatively heterodox, position in order to describe what they see as a form of capitalism in which the state has a more direct role. I'm personally quite sympathetic with their analysis. Nonethless, the general article should reflect the predominant use of the term "capitalism", especially in its lead (later in the body, concise mention can be, and is, made of thinkers whose analysis differs from the general lead description). This article should roughly present the idea that the concept "state capitalism" is something of a revision of traditional uses of the word "capitalism". That's the entirety of what might be needed to resolve the "contradiction". LotLE×talk 01:19, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I generally agree. I have been bold and added "in the Marxist sense" to the definition sentence. This clears up the "appearance of contradiction" that I'm concerned about, though it might be improved upon. —Ashley Y 07:51, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, the change I tried to make at the Capitalism page was to remove something that seemed inessential in the first line while leaving the general thrust unchanged, not to reflect this argument - I thought a wholesome silence on the area of disagreement would suffice - I'm currently proposing a simple mention of the state cap thesis which should resolve any contradiction without serious re-writes being needed. I disagree with Ashley Y's insertion, because as the article makes clear, not all state capitalism theoriests are using a marxist definition (I know of at least one mutualist who more or less holds the same line). I'll remove it frothwith.--Red Deathy 10:12, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
It's not very grammatical now, though... —Ashley Y 01:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

left communist and council communist positions[edit]

I added a couple of words. It is quite reasonable for Left communists to claim that Cliff's theory implies superiority of soviet system to Western capitalism, but it is only fair to mention that Cliff said this was NOT his position. This has become crystal clear since 1989 when the whole of the Cliffite tendency declared many times that the end of the soviet system was "neither a step forward nor a step baclward but a step sideways" - obviously a position which does NOT imply superiority of the stalinist system. I am not an expert on left and council communists, but do they really say that Cliff thought the uSSr a superior system - I have never come across this argument. Perhaps Duncan can help Johncmullen1960 15:07, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

I believe that Cliff flirted with that theory in the 1950's, over the Korean war, but certainly abandonned it by the time of the Neither ashington nor Moscow slogan. Perhaps we should all go on a citation hunt for that one...--Red Deathy 07:15, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

""Third Camp""[edit]

Does the third camp template belong on this page? These seem to be to be different traditions: the comrades who considered the Stalinist states to be state capitalist generally have not used this form of words. The third camp, in practice, regarded the defeat of Stalinism by imperialism to be the lesser evil (see, for example, the AWL's support for Yeltsin's coup) while the IS tradition, for example, did not. --Duncan 16:06, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

specify tag[edit]

i removed the specify tag after 'capitalist way' in the lead because the very next sentence gives an explicit definition of state capitalism in the 'latter sense' that describes the capitalist way in terms of wages and appropriation of value. also, returned the part about state capitalist countries potentially calling themselves socialist as it is explicitly referenced in the citation. -- frymaster 04:36, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

The Mandel link at the bottom does not work.

Rosa Lichtenstein 12:40, 26 July 2007 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

This article and the state monopoly capitalism appear to be covering the same concept. Is there any opposition to a merge? Skomorokh incite 13:59, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Argh, they are and hey aren't similar concepts - some state capitalism theories differ in that they see the state as the capitalist, unlike under state monopoly capitalism where, mostly, teh capitalists are seen as a private clique using the state to prop themselves up. But, yes, they do sound similar, and a related terms, so perhaps some mutual reference and compare contrast might be in order...--Red Deathy 15:05, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Oppose. Quite different terms and usage, so separate articles needed. --Duncan 21:30, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Oppose. See comments here if interested. Franklin Dmitryev 21:58, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Tony Cliff's influential formulation advocating the theory of state capitalism.[edit]

Hello. I was just wondering if it might be pertinent to mention in some manner part of the Socialist Party of Great Britain's role in formulating Tony Cliff's understanding of state capitalism as mentioned at Socialist_Party_of_Great_Britain#Debates.

I am not overly concerned about referring to it but I have read both articles recently and I noticed the connexion. It seems relevant to me but perhaps describing why someone has a particular opinion down the finest details is unnecessary. However referring to his opinion as his own formulation is not necessarily true.

Who knows? Let me know what you think.

I cannot find the tilde key on my keyboard. Um. I will have to copy and paste it from up there... Adamburton (talk) 12:27, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I can't see any connection, other than the term. --Duncan (talk) 20:48, 21 March 2008 (UTC)


"State capitalism, in its classic meaning, is a private capitalist economy under state control."

lol what? Capitalism = a system of private property or private ownership of the means of production, so isn't this definition an oxymoron? BeaufortField (talk) 14:55, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Order of sections[edit]

There is a problem with the current order. While chronologically the council communists originally date from the 1920s the article contains a council communist critique of Tony Cliff's position frm the 1960s before Cliff's position (developed in the late 1940s) is described. This isn't very helpful for the logical structure of the article. I haven't got a ready solution to this problem, but perhaps others might be able to help. --Mia-etol (talk) 15:36, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Arrgh. I felt that a chronological account would be better, but didn't account for internal dissention between arguments. Give me a tick and let me see if I can fix up the CC section to deal with Cliff sensibly.Fifelfoo (talk) 00:41, 31 October 2008 (UTC) I just checked it. I feel the easiest solution is to delete Aufheben's opinions as irrelevant to an encyclopedic coverage of State Capitalism. (its minuate to be honest)Fifelfoo (talk) 00:46, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Awkward Introductory Sentence[edit]

Aside from the clunky grammatical structure of the first sentence, the description of "Marxists and heterodox economists" would be more accurately replaced by the more appropriate term "socialists," which is sufficiently inclusive to incorporate Marxists as well as the non-Marxist socialists who use the term "state capitalism," such as the aforementioned anarchists. There are also numerous anti-socialist heterodox economists who would reject usage of the term "state capitalism," such as those among the Austrian School, which is another basis for concern. Agnapostate (talk) 18:12, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Not notable ref replacing opening[edit]

I undid revision 359293211 by JaneEG, which replaced the opening para with a reference to a unnotable book. All her edits refer to that book of the author, so I suspect a conflict of interest. --Duncan (talk) 22:41, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Ian Bremmer is a political scientist who recently wrote a book that provides new ideas on state capitalism. Why shouldn't his thoughts on this topic be added to the page? 20:44, 14 May 2010 (UTC)comment added by JaneEG (talk

New book[edit]

Ready to copy-paste:

== Further reading ==
*{{Cite book
  |last1= Musacchio  |first1= Aldo  |last2= Lazzarini  |first2= Sergio G.  |year= 2014
  |title= Reinventing State Capitalism: Leviathan in Business, Brazil and Beyond
  |location= Cambridge, MA  |publisher= [[Harvard University Press]]
  |isbn= 978-0-674-72968-1 }}