Vladimir I. Lenin Biography and Theory

V. I. Lenin (1870-1924) Biography, Lenin Revolution

Vladimir Ilich Lenin was the most influential leader of the Bolshevik party and was another important contributor to the subject of imperialism. In 1916, Lenin published Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. His primary contribution to imperialist thought was that as industry became increasingly concentrated and the number and size of monopolies increased, capitalism reached its highest stage where banks and finance capital played an increasingly important role in managing and controlling things above and beyond industrial capital. Interestingly, Lenin felt that export of capital was more important than the export of commodities.

As long as profits were higher in backward countries as the result of cheaper land, labor, and raw material costs, and as long as the quest for these profits remained, Lenin could not see the standard of living for the masses being continually raised in a given country. Also, Lenin held that capitalism would not come to halt as long as there were profitable outlets available for investment. However, Lenin did suggest that imperialism was the last stage or "moribund or decaying" period of capitalism because of its growth limitations.