Understanding Contemporary Capitalism: A Marxist Historical / Materialist Interpretation


Mentan, Tatah


Ph.D, University of Wisconsin; author of The Recolonization of Africa (Bethesda, 2011)

Is capitalism coming to an end in a manner somewhat similar to communism in the USSR? Events certainly bode ill for the classic view that capitalism will prevail as the greatest source of economic growth and stability. Dr. Mentan maintains that the study of contemporary capitalism must entail both the interrogation of the capitalist mode of production as an abstract-formal object and investigation of the diverse historical forms that capitalism has taken across time and space. From this duality, a distinction in Marxist theory can be drawn between the examination of the capitalist mode of production as such – the ‘pure’ theory of capitalism with its distinct ‘laws of motion’; and specific historical periods of capitalist development – monopoly capitalism, postwar capitalism, neoliberal capitalism as concrete examples. This book concentrates on the changing dynamic and form of capitalism nowadays that has given rise to numerous attempts to identify and theorize its contemporary features. This Marxist historical materialist interpretation anchors its theorization of new developments within the abstract concepts – value, exploitation, class, concentration and centralization of capital, state power, revolts, repression – necessary to understand capitalist society today in general. This approach allows a focus on understanding underlying determinations, specification of their current forms and theorization of its concrete and complex realities in America, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia. Following Marx’s methodological mandate, this is the interpretation of the form taken by the laws of motion of capitalism in their contemporary phase.

As an expert on African Socialism and a keen student of contemporary Marxist thought Mentan brings an open approach to Marxism's present day doldrums and potential social democratic and dirige tendencies. This work is especially useful in understanding the events of 2008-2009 and their importance in a revival of Marxism in the 1st world, Latin America and Africa."

Marxist Studies: Marxism, 20th century; historical materialism, Capitalism, neo liberal economics, Economics and the State, African Socialism, Karl Marx
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Cloth: 978-1-936320-37-0
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