Introduction to State Capitalism
State Capitalism is a term used, generally, to reference the way that a sovereign government works with or facilitates explicitly for-profit activities within the sovereigns jurisdiction. This term is of interest to P2P researchers because the process and effects of collusion between the government of the world and for-profit enterprise often provides a series of potential barriers to the clarification of how a P2P approach can be used to facilitate the emergence of a Commons based economy.
State capitalism' has various different meanings, but is usually described as a society wherein the productive forces are controlled and directed by the state in a capitalist manner, even if such a state calls itself socialist. Corporatized state agencies and states that own controlling shares of publicly-listed firms, and thus acting as a capitalist itself, are two examples of state capitalism.
Within Marxist literature, state capitalism is usually defined in this sense: as a social system combining capitalism — the wage system of producing and appropriating surplus value in a commodity economy — with ownership or control by a state apparatus. By that definition, a state capitalist country is one where the government controls the economy and essentially acts like a single giant corporation. Fredrick Engels, in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, states that the final stage of capitalism would consist of ownership over production and communication by the (bourgeoisie) state.
There are various theories and critiques of state capitalism, some of which have been around since the October Revolution or even before. The common themes among them are to identify that the workers do not meaningfully control the means of production and that commodity relations and production for profit still occur within state capitalism. Other socialists use the term state capitalism to refer to an economic system that is nominally capitalist, where business and private owners reap the profits from an economy largely subsidized, developed and where decisive research and development is undertaken by the state sector at public cost.
This term is also used by some advocates of laissez-faire capitalism to mean a private capitalist economy under state control, often meaning a privately-owned economy that is under economic planning. Some even use it to refer to capitalist economies where the state provides substantial public services and regulation over business activity. In the 1930s, Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini described Italian Fascism's economic system of corporatism as "state socialism turned on its head."
This term was often used to describe the controlled economies of the great powers in the First World War. In more modern sense, state capitalism is a term that is used (sometimes interchangeably with state monopoly capitalism) to describe a system where the state is intervening in the markets to protect and advance interests of Big Business. This practice is in sharp contrast with the ideals of both socialism and laissez-faire capitalism.
- State Capitlism, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_capitalism
- Peter Binns, State Capitalism, http://www.marxists.de/statecap/binns/statecap.htm
- Mussolini, Benito; Schnapp, Jeffery Thompson (ed.); Sears, Olivia E. (ed.); Stampino, Maria G. (ed.). "Address to the National Corporative Council (14 November 1933) and Senate Speech on the Bill Establishing the Corporations (abridged; 13 January 1934)". A Primer of Italian Fascism. University of Nebraska Press, 2000. Pp. 158-159. "Our path would lead inexorably into state capitalism, which is nothing more nor less than state socialism turned on its head. In either event, [whether the outcome be state capitalism or state socialism] the result is the bureaucratization of the economic activities of the nation." - Benito Mussolini on Italian Fascism's economic goals."
- Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Thought
- Allan G. Johnson. The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology. (2000). Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-21681-2 p.306. In 2008, the term was used by U.S. National Intelligence Council in Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed to describe the development of Russia, India, and China.