The Quality of Monopoly Capitalist Society: Culture and Communications
Below is a hitherto unpublished chapter of Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966). The text as published here has been edited and includes notes by John Bellamy Foster. The style conforms to that of their book. Part of the original draft chapter, dealing with mental health, was still incomplete at the time of Baran’s death in 1964, and consequently has not be included in this published version.Paul Baran & Paul M. Sweezy
The culture of a society includes the education of its young, its literature, its theater, music, the arts—in short whatever contributes to the “training and refinement of mind, tastes, and manners…the intellectual side of civilization.” To inquire further into the culture of monopoly capitalism, we have here selected for attention two areas which offer a larger body of specialized research and which we judge to be decisive for the quality of culture as a whole: book publishing and broadcasting. These are both now big businesses, and they therefore demonstrate the striking extent to which culture has become a commodity, its production subject to the same forces, interests, and motives as govern the production of all other commodities.
The development of big business in the cultural field has of course been possible only because of the enormous increase in the productivity of labor under advanced capitalism. In earlier times culture was the monopoly of a tiny minority, while the vast majority had to work most of their waking hours to keep body and soul together.Read Rest here