The idea that present-day capitalism differs in a significant way from that of earlier periods plays an important role in the political strategies of workers’ parties and in the theoretical study of capitalist societies. This stage is given various names — late capitalism, monopoly capitalism, imperialism, state monopoly capitalism — and, having named it, several writers have studied aspects of it in relation to particular concrete societies. Prominent among recent studies along these lines are those of Braverman (1974), Poulantzas (1973) (1975) and Mandel (1975), and each presents us with valuable insights. It is, however, rare to find any consideration of what is meant by a stage of a mode of production. Since, in these writings, we only meet the concept of the stage in its applications to concrete social formations it is difficult to separate the concept from the concrete history of the societies to which it is applied. Indeed Poulantzas (1975) claims that it is not possible to have such a concept. For him only concrete social formations may be considered to have a history divided into stages.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.