Revisiting the Classical Theories of Imperialism:From “Underconsumption” in “Global Capitalism” to the “Imperialist Chain”

John Milios and Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos


In the contemporary literature and discussions on imperialism one will have difficulty finding theoretical propositions that do not have their roots in classical theories. In the argumentation of this paper we shall embark upon Bukharin’s critique of theories of underconsumption and “surplus capital” (in the context of his polemic with Luxemburg) and Lenin’s theory on the imperialist chain as critique of the theory of global capitalism (whose point of departure was his intervention on the national question and the socialist revolution). We shall argue that these disputes have theoretical implications which challenge the main insights of the classical approaches inviting us to think imperialism from a different standpoint.
Key words: Imperialism, Lenin, Bukharin, Marx, Imperialist Chain.

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