objectivism and catastrophism

donna jones djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sun Aug 21 12:40:15 MDT 1994

I forgot to add in my last post that the argument that revolutionary
politics follows exactly from the theory of breakdown (instead of passivity
and fatalism) was articulated long ago by Russel Jacoby and Anwar Shaikh.

Aside from Pannekoek's critique of breakdown theories, there is an
important one by Korsch in his writings ed. by Kellner.  From the Korschian
perspective, perhaps one could argue that what Marx wanted to prove is that
the falling rate of profit is consistent with and in fact explainable by a
higher rate of exploitation.  This reverses Ricardo's explanation of the
"terrifying" drop in profits and points to the heightening of social
contradictions with the accumulation of capital.  This may well be
Grossmann's and Mattick, Sr.'s interpretation --especially in his last 1983
book Marxism--the last refuge of the bourgeoisie? Such a Korschian-Mattick
reading would then make impossible any sort of contemplative attitude
before the Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall.  It would
also deny the Law of any predictive-naturalist reading, which is what
Daniel Little has persuasively argued against .  And I believe that this is
perhaps what Alex may have been pointing to.  Again something to think

By the way, in Kevin Brien, there is also an excellent discussion of above
themes--including a very good critique of the Sweezy thesis of a tendency
for the surplus to rise as the "updated" law of monopoly capitalism.
d jones


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