V. I.   Lenin





Hilferding, Finance Capital (“The Recent Phase in the Development of Capitalism”), Moscow, 1912.

[[BOX: German edition published in 1910 (Volume III of Marxist Studies). ]]

p. 13. ||| mishmash
“According to E. Mach”, “the ‘Ego’ is only the focus in which the infinite threads of sensation converge....
|| incorrect, not “in the same way”
In exactly the same way money is the node in the network of social connections”....
p. 34. [DITTO: || ]
“Ever since Tooke the quantity theory (of money) has been quite rightly regarded as fallacious”....
incorrect ||
p. 54, note and especially 54–55. Hilferding is wrong here, see Die Neue Zeit, 1912, 30th year, Vol. 1.
(According to Hilferding, money enters into exchange without value.)
incorrect ||
p. 71, note. “Only our perception gives things the form of space” (a Kantian)[3]
p. 90–91 (and 91, note).
N.B. |
How Marx predicted the domination of the banks over industry (N.B.) (Capital, II, p. 79).
(thous. million
(of which,
by banks)
93, note. Σ of bills
per annum:
1885—12.1 16 per cent
1905—25.5 31 ” ”
N.B. [[TOP-LEFT-BOTTOM BOX END: __ 102 (and note). A large part of international trading transactions are through bills “accepted” by the banks. __ ]]
||| 105–06. The role of the banks.
108. Three functions of the banks:
  1. 1) intermediary in payments,
  2. 2) conversion of inactive into active capital,
  3. 3) aggregation of the income of all classes in money form and lending it to the capitalist class.
110, note. Excellent study by Jeidels and its shortcomings.
112. “International banker” countries:
  1. (1) France, Belgium, Holland
  2. (2) Great Britain
  3. (3) U.S.A. and Germany.
116: The role of the banks in production ((chiefly from Jeidels)). 120 idem
note. Steel
Trust and its
{{ 7% on privileged shares and 2%
on ordinary shares: it holds back
profits for years, and then
suddenly, at a suitable moment,
distributes them.
157. A capital of five million controls 39 millions. “Tochtergesellschaft” translated “subsidiary company”.
159. Seats on Supervisory Boards (60–70 million income from these throughout Germany)—using connections and acquaintances.
162. Six banks—751 seats on Supervisory Boards (Jeidels).... In 1909 there were 12,000 such seats—197 persons held 2,918 seats. (Cf. ibidem Morgan in America.)
172. Significance of “reconstructions”:
  1. (1) a profitable operation;
  2. (2) it makes companies dependent on the banks.
183 (at the end) and 184.—Replacement of bills of exchange by entries in the bank’s books.
199. Pressure of big capital on the Stock Exchange (and a note: the example of Morgan in 1907).
211. —— Banks replace the Stock Exchange....
222. Nature and significance of time bargains.
N.B. ||
262. Quotation from Capital, III, 2, pp. 144–45 (Russian translation) on the role of the banks versus socialism (N.B.).
274. Heavy industry. Outflow of capital difficult (the path to monopoly).
(277-) 278: Tendency of the banks to monopoly.
281. N.B.: Cunow on cartels in Die Neue Zeit, XXII, 2, p. 210.
285. “Combination” = uniting extractive with manufacturing industry.
295: Corporations and “outsiders” (N.B.)....
298: No big industrial enterprise can exist without the help of the bank.
300–01. Engels on the new type of protective tariffs and on cartels (Capital, III, 1, p. 95).
302–03: Evolution of cartel forms (and 304 especially).
308. Concentration of trade (cf. A. Lee in Die Neue Zeit, XXVII, 2, p. 654).
320, note. Abolishing trade does not reduce the price of the product.
322–23: Merchants—agents—salesmen (N.B.) (and 324).
331. (Verbal imitation of Marx.)
336. Example of founder’s profit: The Sugar Trust (N.B.) in America (70 per cent on the actually invested capital, 10 per cent on the “watered” = capital).[1]
338–39: Definition of finance capital (and 341): finance capital = “capital controlled by banks and employed by industrialists” (339).
346: Cartels = “restriction of competition”.
353: Connection of cartels with export of capital.
355: Finance capital and “the organisation of social production”... (cf. 353 and 354).
358: With the growth of combination, production for internal needs increases (but for commodity production).
362. Marx on crises (III, 1, 219—20, Russian translation).
364. Volume II includes “the most brilliant parts of a remarkable work” (the “merit” of Tugan-Baranovsky[4]?! in a note).
382. “Schemes” (of Volume II) and the significance of “proportionality” ((cf. 426 and + 427)).
447: [[BOX-END, including "447:":
Universal cartel is “economically possible” (“socially and politically unrealisable”)... it would abolish crises.... But “to expect the abolition of crises from individual cartels” = lack of understanding. ]]
Up to Section V: “The Economic Policy of Finance Capital”.

N.B. || p. 454, note. A quotation from Schulze-Gaevernitz (British Imperialism, p. 75): “Way back Sir Robert Peel said: ‘We are getting a second Ireland in each of our colonies.’”
474: Export of capital = “export of value intended to produce surplus-value abroad”.
487: In new countries, import of capital “arouses the resistance of peoples awakening to national   || consciousness”.... “Capitalism itself gives subject peoples means of liberation”... “the movement towards independence”.... ||
487. The problem of the national movement in dependent countries (the urge of “subject peoples” for “liberation”)....
488. Acceleration of capitalist development in new countries....
491: Struggle of “national groups of banks” for spheres of capital investment (Paish and others)....
493: > advantages of capital investment in the colonies.
495. The policy of finance capital (1.2.3.)
495: “The policy of finance capital has a triple aim: ||| (colonies) first, creation of the widest possible economic territory, ||| (protectionism) which, second, must be protected by tariff walls against foreign competition, and be converted, third, ||| (monopolies) into a sphere of exploitation for national monopolist associations”...
[[BOX: N.B.: 484: polemic on immigration in Die Neue Zeit, 25th year, 2 (1907) ]]
505. “The most important function of diplomacy now 15 that of agency of finance capital”....
506. Karl Emil on German imperialism. Die Nate Zeit, XXVI, 1.
510. The national state.
511. Finance capital seeks domination, not freedom.
512–13. The nation and imperialism.
513–14. Oligarchy in place of democracy.
567. “The reply of the proletariat to the economic policy of finance capital, to imperialism, ||| N.B. can only be socialism, not free trade.” The restoration of free trade = “a reactionary ideal” (N.B.)

[[QUADRUPLE BOX: Finance capital = bank capital dominating industry.

[is it not sufficient to say: “finance capital = bank capital”?]

Three main factors:

Definite degree of development and growth of big capital.... The role of the banks. (Concentration and socialisation.) |  corporations in America. |

Monopoly capital (control of so large a part of a particular industry that competition is replaced by monopoly).... (( America and Germany )) |  Table—and the example of Argentina |

Division of the world.... (Colonies and spheres of influence).... ]]

N.B. Hilferding: in Die Neue Zeit, 1912 (30th year, Vol. 1), p. 556... “the endeavour typical of every capitalist monopoly to make its economic monopoly indestructible by backing it with a monopoly of natural resources”....


[1] See present edition, Vol. 22. p. 233.—Ed.

[2] In the Notebooks and in Imperialism, Lenin repeatedly refers to Hilferding’s book Finance Capital. While drawing on its factual data in discussing particular aspects of monopoly capitalism, Lenin criticises the author for his non-Marxist propositions and conclusions on cardinal problems of imperialism. Lenin describes Hilferding—a prominent German Social-Democrat and Second International leader—as a Kantian and Kautskyite, a reformist and “persuader of the imperialist bourgeoisie” (see p. 613 of this volume). By divorcing politics from economics, Hilferding gives an incorrect definition of imperialism and finance capital; he glosses over the decisive role of the monopolies under imperialism and the sharpening of its contradictions; he ignores such important features of imperialism as the division of the world and the struggle for its re-division, and the parasitism and decay of capitalism, thus taking “a step backward compared with the frankly pacifist and reformist Englishman, Hobson” (see present edition, Vol. 22, p. 193). In spite of its serious errors, however, Hilferding’s book played a positive part in the study of the latest phase of capitalism. p. 333

[3] Kantianism—the system of views of the eighteenth-century philosopher Immanuel Kant, elaborated in his works The Critique of Pure Reason (1781), The Critique of Practical Reason (1788) and The Critique of Judgement (1790). “The principal feature of Kant’s philosophy,” Lenin pointed out, “is the reconciliation of materialism with idealism, a compromise between the two, the combination within one system of heterogeneous and contrary philosophical trends” (see present edition, Vol. 14, p. 198). Kant tried to “reconcile” faith and knowledge, religion and science. Kantianism has been the philosophy of all manner of opportunists, including the Kautskyites. Marx and Engels revealed the essential nature of Kantianism; Lenin subjected it to thoroughgoing criticism in his Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (see present edition, Vol. 14, pp. 17–361).

Neo-Kantianism—a reactionary trend in bourgeois philosophy advocating subjective idealism as a revival of Kantian philosophy. It arose in the middle of the nineteenth century in Germany. The Neo-Kantians rejected dialectical and historical materialism. In his book, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy,   Engels described the Neo-Kantians as “theoretical reactionaries” and “cobweb-spinning eclectic flea-crackers”. The Neo-Kantians advanced “ethical socialism” in opposition to scientific socialism. Their theory was seized upon by Eduard Bernstein and other revisionists.

Lenin exposed the reactionary nature of Neo-Kantianism and its connection with other trends of bourgeois philosophy (Machism, pragmatism, etc.), p. 334

[4] Lenin points out the falsity of Hilferding’s assertion about Tugan-Baranovsky’s “merit” in explaining the significance of Marx’s theory of capitalist reproduction and crises. A bourgeois economist and prominent representative of “legal Marxism” in the nineties, Tugan-Baranovsky distorted and sought to refute Marx’s theory. He denied the basic contradiction of capitalism and the resulting contradiction between the urge for continual expansion of production and restricted consumption owing to the proletarian state of the masses, and maintained that unlimited accumulation and unhindered expansion regardless of the consumption and living standards of the masses was possible. Now, too, bourgeois economists disseminate similar apologetic theories. Capitalist reality refutes these vulgarised doctrines and completely confirms the correctness of the Marxist theory of capitalist accumulation and crises. p. 336


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