Monopoly Capitalism

Document Type

Encyclopedia Entry

Publication Date


Publication Title

Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory


Monopoly describes a concentration of market share where competition is limited or nonexistent. The term “monopoly capitalism” is used to describe an aspect or stage of capitalism in which monopoly control is widespread and explicit, though the ideological fiction of free markets and competition is still maintained in public discourse. V. I. Lenin observed that it was financial sector gains from colonization that drives the economics of imperialism which is in turn crucial to understanding modern warfare and politics. Financial and monopoly capitalism has involved banks, but technical control is located in stockbrokers (who control trusts) and individual large-scale entrepreneurs (who control cartels). The identification of monopoly capitalism on a worldwide scale also led to the core–periphery model of political and economic power. While it is often thought that monopoly signals a move away from competition, it is more accurate to say that monopolies intensify cooperation among a ruling class and intensify competition between classes.