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British Indian Empire

The Drain of Wealth

Colonialism before the First World War

The Western European powers appropriated economic surplus from their colonies, materially and substantially aiding their own industrial transition from the eighteenth century onward, as well as the diffusion of capitalism to the regions of new European settlement. In the case of India, the concept of drain is based on the fact that a substantial part of its earnings was never permitted to accrue to the country; it was instead appropriated by the ruling power: Britain. | more…

Para-demolition bombs being dropped on supply warehouses and dock facilities at a port in Wonsan, North Korea by the Fifth Air Force's B-26 Invader light bombers (ca. 1951)

The Continuing Korean War in the Murderous History of Bombing

The Korean War, which broke out on June 25, 1950, can be considered the epicenter of bombing as an instrument of war. For one, it was the first—and, so far, the last—time since 1945 that the United States seriously considered using atomic weapons during the course of an imperial war. It was the first war that the United States did not win. It ended in a stalemate—an armistice—that continues until today. Kinetic fighting was suspended, but the war continues (though only by one side) by what is conveniently but simplistically called sanctions. | more…

Value and Crisis: Essays on Marxian Economics in Japan, second edition

Marxist economic thought has had a long and distinguished history in Japan, dating back to the First World War. When interest in Marxist theory was virtually nonexistent in the United States, rival schools of thought in Japan emerged, and brilliant debates took place on Marx’s Capital and on capitalism as it was developing in Japan. Forty years ago, Makoto Itoh’s Value and Crisis began to chronicle these Japanese contributions to Marxist theory, discussing in particular views on Marx’s theories of value and crisis, and problems of Marx’s theory of market value. Now, in a second edition of his book, Itoh deepens his study of Marx’s theories of value and crisis, as an essential reference point from which to analyze the multiple crises that have arisen during the past four decades of neoliberalism. The promise of Marx’s theories has not waned. If anything—given the failure of Soviet-style socialism and the catastrophe of neoliberalism—it grows daily. | more…

The Political Economy of Growth

Paul Baran’s Economic Surplus Concept, the Baran Ratio, and the Decline of Feudalism

Recently published and estimated historical data illustrate that economic surplus declined during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in England, helping explain the “crisis of feudalism” that started in the thirteenth century. It was not until several centuries later, when capitalism became the dominant economic system, that the economic surplus began to rise on a consistent basis, due to the reinvestment of a portion of the surplus into productive activities, a greater ratio of capital income to rental income, and a greater ratio of investment to economic surplus. | more…

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

Crisis and Predation: India, COVID-19, and Global Finance

With the advent of COVID-19, India’s rulers imposed the world’s most stringent lockdown on an already depressed economy, dealing a body blow to the majority of India’s billion-plus population. Yet the Indian government’s spending to cushion the lockdown’s economic impact ranked among the world’s lowest in GDP terms, resulting in unprecedented unemployment and hardship. Crisis and Predation shows how this tight-fistedness stems from the fact that global financial interests oppose any sizable expansion of public spending by India, and that Indian rulers readily adhere to their guidance. Meanwhile, under the banner of reviving private investment, India’s rulers have planned giant privatizations, and drastically revised laws concerning industrial labor, the peasantry, and the environment—in favor of large capital. | more…

Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19 by Rob Wallace

Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world. It shouldn’t have. Since this century’s turn, epidemiologists have warned of new infectious diseases. Indeed, H1N1, H7N9, SARS, MERS, Ebola Makona, Zika, and a variety of lesser viruses have emerged almost annually. But what of the epidemiologists themselves? Some bravely descended into the caves where bat species hosted coronaviruses, including the strains that evolved into the COVID-19 virus. Yet, despite their own warnings, many of the researchers appear unable to understand the true nature of the disease—as if they are dead to what they’ve seen. Dead Epidemiologists is an eclectic collection of commentaries, articles, and interviews revealing the hidden-in-plain-sight truth behind the pandemic: Global capital drove the deforestation and development that exposed us to new pathogens | more…

Monthly Review Volume 72, Number 5 (October 2020)

October 2020 (Volume 72, Number 5)

Notes from the Editors

This special issue of Monthly Review, “China 2020,” is the product of a long period of cooperation with critical Chinese Marxist scholars. This has resulted in an extensive series of articles on contemporary Chinese social and economic relations since 2012, to which most of the authors in the present issue have previously contributed. It takes on a special significance due to the growing conflict between the United States and China, making critical Marxist analysis in this area all the more important. | more…

Progress in phase-one trade deal talks signals hope

U.S.-China Trade War

Has the Real "Thief" Finally Been Unmasked?

In 2018, Washington launched the trade war against China. Measures included sharply increasing the customs tariffs borne by certain products imported from China, further barriers to imports from China, and sanctions against Chinese companies targeted by bans on the use of U.S.-made inputs. By June 2019, as tariff increases hit new sectors, China was no longer the United States’s largest trading partner. | more…

A Boeing factory in South Carolina, US, employs about 7,000 workers

Toward Delinking: An Alternative Chinese Path Amid the New Cold War

During the 1960s, China was effectively excluded from the two major camps: the Soviet camp and the U.S. camp. For about a decade, China was obliged to seek development within its own borders and thereby achieved some extent of delinking: a refusal to succumb to U.S.-eurocentric globalization and an embrace of a people’s agenda of development. While foreign relations were later normalized and China once again brought in foreign capital, since being explicitly targeted as the primary rival of the United States, however, the situation may again warrant moves toward delinking and searching for alternatives, with ups and downs along the way. | more…

Washington Bullets: A History of the CIA, Coups, and Assassinations

Washington Bullets is about U.S. imperialism—the bullets sent by various Washington, DC administrations to crush revolutions, assassinate democratically elected leaders—to destroy hope. Focusing on the rising national liberation movements in the Third World after the Second World War and continuing up to the present, historian and journalist Vijay Prashad sets out a scathing indictment of U.S. imperialism, from the 1953 CIA-sponsored coup in Iran, to the twenty-first-century ousters of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil and Evo Morales in Bolivia.  | more…

Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

Free Speech and the Suppression of Dissent During World War I

World War I, given all the rousing “Over-There” songs and in-the-trenches films it inspired, was, at its outset, surprisingly unpopular with the American public. As opposition increased, Woodrow Wilson’s presidential administration became intent on stifling antiwar dissent. Wilson effectively silenced the National Civil Liberties Bureau, forerunner of the American Civil Liberties Union. Presidential candidate Eugene Debs was jailed, and Deb’s Socialist Party became a prime target of surveillance operations, both covert and overt. Drastic as these measures were, more draconian measures were to come. | more…

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