Our Notes & References
First edition of Lenin’s first substantial work, and one of his first two books published in 1899. A landmark economic analysis, the Development of Capitalism was researched and written while Lenin was first in prison, then in exile in Siberia.
“The Development of Capitalism in Russia is an example of Lenin’s acute observation of all facets of the Russian economy. Its detailed documentation of the peculiarities of Russian capitalism – peculiarities stemming from the ‘simultaneous existence of the most advanced forms of industry and semi-medieval forms of agriculture’ – provides a concrete answer to the questions of how it was possible for the October revolution to succeed twenty years later and to what it owed its specific features” (Walicki).
“On the industrial side, Russia’s late arrival entailed an active role for the Tsarist state in fostering industrialization and an influx of foreign capital to finance the development. This meant that Russia, although a newly industrializing country in the 1890s, had a larger proportion of its industrial labour force in large factories than older industrialized countries like Britain. Lenin saw these as predictable consequences of rapid capitalist growth which made any going back to pre-capitalist communal forms of village organization impossible. The growth of large factories also meant concentration of workers in a few places, facilitating their combination in trade union activities. These economic circumstances – the growth of commercial relations in the countryside and of concentration of the urban proletariat – dictated for Lenin, the political strategy of a socialist party which hoped to win power by mass organization. In this sense he can be said to have developed an economic framework for a Marxist political theory. The Development of Capitalism in Russia is even to this day the only comprehensive economic history of a country from a Marxist perspective” (Meghnad Desai in The New Palgrave).
M.V. Popov (pre-revol. bookdealer blue ink stamp, 48 Nevskii prospect, Skt. Peterburg); Mikhail Krasnov (collector of important Russian literature).
IESS (1899a); see The New Palgrave 3, pp. 162-164 and Walicki, A History of Russian Thought p. 440ff.