Comprador Bourgeoisie

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Comprador Bourgeoisie


that part of the bourgeoisie of the economically backward countries (both colonial and independent) which acts as a go-between for foreign companies in domestic and foreign trade. This group is closely linked with the colonialists. Often it functions as an intermediary between the peasants and artisans of its own country and foreign monopolies.

The comprador bourgeoisie arose in the era of the formation of the imperialist colonial system. It was made up predominantly of the part of the native exploiting groups and classes that unconditionally submitted to foreign capital in both political and economic relations (merchants, usurers, feudal lords, and tribal aristocracy). From it and the clan-tribal aristocracy, the colonialists selected the cadre for the local officialdom. The characteristic feature of the comprador bourgeoisie was its antinational, proimperialist position and its refusal to participate in the bourgeois nationalistic anticolonial movement of the late 19th and early 20th century and the period between the world wars.

After World War I there was a weakening of the economic dependency of several large colonies on the mother countries, establishing the conditions for the accelerated development of the national bourgeoisie on the base of the growing native industry. The economic role of the comprador bourgeoisie simultaneously declined in importance. After World War II, with the collapse of the imperialist colonial system and the growth of the national liberation movement, the role of the national bourgeoisie increased, especially its anti-imperalist strata. Since the development of native industry was being impeded by foreign capital, in many developing countries the national bourgeoisie and, above all, its petite and middle bourgeoisie segments took part in the national liberation movement. The result has been the political isolation of the comprador bourgeoisie.

In the young states of Asia and Africa that are following the capitalist way of development, a comprador bourgeoisie continues to exist, serving mainly to maintain economic ties with foreign capital. Not infrequently its political interests coincide with the interests of the entire national bourgeois class, of which it is a part. However, even in these conditions, this group is the one most strongly affected by the economic and political influence of foreign capital, because by the nature of its activity it is the most closely linked with this capital.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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