Is Overcompetition the Problem? Critique of a market view

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Sun Oct 22 16:38:41 MDT 2000



In his review essay, Foster critically summarizes Brenner's article on
Asian crisis and catches a closet market view of capitalism inspired by
a Smithian world view, which he calls "reification of competition".
Brenner contends, is "a theory of a malign invisible hand to go along
with Adam Smith's benign one" . Along with Smith, Foster explains how
Brenner also turns to Schumpeter rather than to Marx with a constant
view of "over competition" and "entrepreneurial innovation" as driving
forces of capitalism, ignoring the importance of concentration of
capital that is so central to Marx's work. Another trap in his article
is that despite it is a special report on Asian crisis, Foster rightly
argues that "Africa, Latin America, and the Asian periphery scarcely
appear in the analysis, which is devoted almost exclusively to
competition between Europe (mainly Germany), Japan, and the United
States within the center of the world capitalist economy. Even the Asian
Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs) scarcely appear until the last few
pages, indicating merely that the crisis in Southeast Asia hit the front
pages when Brenner was finishing off his manuscript. In a sense, this
emphasis places the cause of international economic distress where it
belongs: in the center of the system. But the failure to address the
condition of the periphery is a glaring omission in a work that purports
to discuss the crisis of the capitalist world economy over a
half-century. Even the decline of U.S. hegemony is discussed with no
more than a bare mention of the Vietnam War"

I really did not notice before that Brenner went that far to rely on
Schumpeter. Somewhat interesting to me that he also sides with liberal
economists such as Thurow!

I should note this in my literature review! he hey! OR  come up with a
*synthesis* of  Brenner, Thurow, Hayek so my advisor can send me to
hell.  Should add Jim B. to the list to rescue Brenner, btw? (just
joking, Jim. His name can not stand next to yours)...

read the article comrades. it is a good piece.


bye,


Mine

--
Full article at

http://www.monthlyreview.org/699jbf.htm

Volume 51, Number 2

 June 1999

Is Over competition the Problem?
by John Bellamy Foster

Robert Brenner, The Economics of Global Turbulence: A Special Report on
the World Economy, 1950-98 (Special issue of New Left Review, no. 229,
May/June 1998), 262 pp.

It is tempting perhaps to attribute all the problems of capitalism to
excessive competition. After all, capitalism is generally presented
within contemporary ideology as a system which is nothing more than a
set of competitive relations governed by the market. Is it not possible
then that the economic contradictions of capitalism, and indeed the
present world crisis, can be explained in terms of the globalization of
competition which now knows no bounds, and is undermining all fixed
positions, resulting in
a kind of free fall? This seems to be the view of the distinguished
Marxist historian and social theorist Robert Brenner in his ambitious
attempt to account for the present global economic turbulence.

>From a radical (or ultra-radical) perspective such a thesis seems to
have  the virtue that it strikes at the heart of capital—since if
competition is truly the essence of the system, then there is no way of
overcoming it or the contradictions that arise from it except through a
revolutionary transformation of the system itself. Yet, the short answer
to this is that competition is not the essence of capitalism but merely
the means by which the basic laws of capitalism, generated within
production, are executed. To focus on competition or overcompetition as
the problem is then to miss the essential point—the accumulation of
capital. Just as the source of profits cannot be discovered by focusing
on the level of the market or competition between capitals, so the
crisis of profitability or accumulation cannot be explained primarily
through the analysis of the market or competition.

Nevertheless, in developing his theory of overcompetition, Brenner
insists that previous attempts to account for the present economic
crisis have focused  too exclusively upon the `vertical' (market and
socio-political) relations between capitalists and workers. As a result,
they have tended to underplay not only productive benefits, but also the
economic contradictions, that arise from the `horizontal' competition
among firms that constitutes the capitalist system's economic
mainspring. My point of departure is thus simultaneously that capitalism
tends to develop the productive forces to an unprecedented degree, and
that it tends to do so in a destructive, because unplanned and
competitive, manner (p. 23).

Hardly a novel thesis, this view purports to explain the economic
distress of the system as resulting from the anarchy of capitalism,
which ultimately derives from its emphasis on competition. But by
focusing on such "horizontal" relations Brenner also downplays the
"vertical" relations of the system, that is, the relations of production
and exploitation—and hence the class struggle. Could Marxists have been
wrong all along—is economic crisis not to be understood primarily in
terms of the class struggle? Brenner, it seems, would say yes.

Brenner, much to his credit, provides a devastating critique of
supply-side theories of crisis—both the dominant, mainstream view and
overlapping radical perspectives. According to theories of this sort,
the "golden age" of capitalism in the first quarter-century after the
Second World War—and the persistence of economic stagnation in the three
decades that have followed—can be attributed largely to a "full
employment squeeze on profits" (in Marxist terms, this translates into a
declining rate of exploitation). Such theories of a wage squeeze on
profits (sometimes
known as "profit squeeze theory") can be found among both
conservatives and radicals, Brenner notes, but also "dovetail" with the
more fundamentalist Marxian notion of an inexorable tendency for the
rate of profit to fall due to a rising organic composition of capital
(p. 11). If the mainstream supply-side theories, associated with
Thatcherism, Reaganism and neoliberal ideology in general, can be seen
as Malthusian in character, their radical counterparts, according to
Brenner, can be characterized as representatives of "social
Malthusianism." He is quite right when he says that "the consensus of
today's economists ... explains the long downturn in terms of the
failure of wage growth to fall in line with declining productivity
growth" due to "downward wage inflexibility" (p. 12).

Hence, among analysts of the current world economic crisis, Brenner
observes, we find a "paradoxical near-consensus":

Marxists and radicals have joined liberals and conservatives in
explaining the long downturn as a `supply-side' crisis, resulting from a
squeeze on profits, reflecting pressure on capital from labour that is
`too strong.' In so doing, they have characterized the current crisis in
terms just the opposite of those that have often been used to
characterize the long downturn of the interwar period [the Great
Depression], a crisis widely viewed as a `demand-side' or
under-consumption'crisis, resulting from an overly high profit rate,
reflecting pressure from labour that was `too weak' (p. 13).

In a remarkable, if far from original, ten page critique Brenner tears
this "consensus" to ribbons.1 Both logically and empirically, it is
shown to be lacking in any rational foundation. Although a short-term
crisis of capital could be accounted for by a wage-squeeze on profits,
no long-term crisis could be explained in such terms, largely because
capital accumulation necessitates the incessant revolutionization of the
means of production—and thus the enhancement of productivity and the
rate of exploitation. Capitalism constantly responds to the threat of
high wages
by increasing the reserve army of the unemployed by technological and
other means, so as to undermine the position of labor.

Empirically, the weakness of the supply-side view of the long downturn
is evident in the length of the downturn itself. It is nearly impossible
to argue that workers' accumulation of power was so "effective and
unyielding as
to have caused the downturn to continue over a period close to a quarter
century" (p. 22). Indeed, the fact that real wages in the United States
have been declining for decades now, with productivity continuing to
rise, completely undercuts the supply-side theory that a wage squeeze on

profits is the problem, and that a shift from wages to profits would
offer the solution.

Having demolished the underexploitation theory of crisis in this way,
one might reasonably expect that Brenner would turn to its antithesis:
overexploitation theory. Is it not possible that accumulation is
arrested by the fact that exploitation—the rate of surplus value—is too
high, leading
to overaccumulation of capital (and productive capacity) in relation to
effective demand? But rather than directly addressing this alternative
theory of the crisis, associated with such thinkers as Kalecki,
Steindl,  Baran, Sweezy, and Magdoff, Brenner simply chooses to change
the question. All "vertical" theories of crisis, which focus on
production, the rate of exploitation, and the class struggle, whether
mainstream or radical, supply-side or demand-side, are declared wrong,
since they stress relations between capital and labor. Instead the
crisis is primarily a  "horizontal" one, attributable not to the
conditions of capital in general, i.e., class struggle between labor and
capital, but to competition between capitals and between national blocs
of capital. The secret of the present crisis is then said to lie in the
globalization of competition.

 What is required, Brenner contends, is "a theory of a malign invisible
hand to go along with Adam Smith's benign one" (p. 23). For Brenner,
capitalism has a tendency toward overproduction that arises from the
unstoppable force of competition, which compels each producer on pain of
extinction to generate overcapacity and overproduction. In this view,
"the source" of the long downturn is to be found "in the tendency of
producers to develop the productive forces and increase economic
productiveness by the installation of increasingly cheap and effective
methods of production ... with the result that aggregate profit is
squeezed by reduced prices in the face of downwardly inflexible costs"
(pp. 23-24). What is projected then is a downward spiral induced by
global competition, each corporation and system of national capital
undercutting
the other, with no seeming end to the process.

More specifically, we are told that constant revolutions in production,
that include cost-cutting technology introduced by innovators, force
firms with substantial amounts of fixed capital to maintain their output
even at lower prices and reduced profitability in order to preserve
market share—as
long as they can obtain at least the average rate of return on their
capital. The result, since the innovating firm is not able to force the
high-cost firms out of the market, is "reduced profitability in the line
for all, including the
 cost- and price-cutter itself" (pp. 26-27).

But how—one might ask—does this theory of crisis based on "horizontal
competition" relate to the concentration and centralization of capital?
Since Brenner's argument rests on the assumption of ever greater and
more unrestrained levels of global competition and aggressive price
cutting, it is perhaps not altogether surprising that his analysis
completely overlooks the fact that we are living through a period in
which mega-mergers on an increasingly global scale are a daily
occurrence. The concentration and centralization of capital is simply
too antithetical to his
argument to be included. Indeed, Brenner goes so far as to contend, in
passing, that the various theories of monopoly capital on the left—most
notably Monopoly Capital by Baran and Sweezy—were nothing more than
"reifications of quite temporary and specific aspects of the economy of
the U.S. in the 1950s" associated with rigid, oligopolistic markets in
some industries (p. 50). Such views, he contends, were disproved by the
growth of the world economy, and the relative decline of the U.S.
political economy, which largely obliterated all rigid, oligopolistic
markets.

What this fails to acknowledge, however, is that the theory of monopoly
capital was from the first a theory of imperialism and the growth of
multinational corporations (that is, concentration and centralization on
a world scale). In no way was it ever conceived simply in a national
context
(as was, for example, John Kenneth Galbraith's New Industrial State)—but
rather in terms of capital's tendency toward concentration and
centralization, extending beyond mere national limits.2 Although the
contradictions of capitalism in the current era cannot be seen as
arising
simply out of the concentration and centralization of capital—i.e., the
tendency toward monopolization of ever larger shares of total capital
among an ever decreasing number of firms—it is foolish to think that an
analysis of accumulation and crisis can be developed without attention
to this phenomenon, which has so clearly modified the laws of motion of
capital.

For instance, despite all the talk about aggressive price cutting in
Brenner's analysis, deflation has not been the principal problem of
capital over the last quarter-century—and this is true despite large and
growing quantities of excess capacity. The degree to which genuine price
competition has continued to be restrained is no doubt a reflection of
the overall degree of monopoly.

By treating world competition as the annihilation of monopolistic
competition—and thereby the elimination of the concentration and
centralization of capital as a central problematic of the system—Brenner
hopes to add a greater seeming plausibility to his own theory of
overcompetition on a world scale. Brenner acknowledges in a footnote
that the tendency toward "structural stagnation" and rising excess
capacity in the final quarter of the twentieth century was first
recognized by thinkers like Baran and Sweezy, who were part of a larger
intellectual current that included thinkers like Alvin Hanson, Joan
Robinson, Michal Kalecki, and Josef Steindl. But these theorists were
wrong, in his view, because they saw stagnation as emanating from
vanishing investment outlets, complicated by a rising "degree of
monopoly" (which was, within Kaleckian theory, what Brenner would call a
"vertical" concept, closely related to Marx's notion of the "rate of
exploitation"). Instead, Brenner tells us, the stagnationist tendency
lay not in the "vertical" character of the system, or in the phenomenon
of market saturation, but in the horizontal war of capital against
capital, in which workers' struggles played only a
secondary, indirect role. The question of labor vs. capital is thus
placed in the background, encountered for the most part only when he is
referring  to somewhat dubious data on national rates of productivity
growth or profit shares; or when he is calling attention to the follies
of supply side
 theory and policy.3

Not surprisingly, it is to Joseph Schumpeter rather than Karl Marx that
Brenner turns in rationalizing his analysis. We are constantly presented
with a view of competition defined in terms of Schumpeter's "perennial
gale of creative destruction" in which all that is solid in terms of
corporate
profits is blown into the air. But insofar as Brenner relies on
Schumpeter, it is more in terms of rhetoric than substance. For
Schumpeter, the mechanism behind the process of creative destruction,
i.e., of entrepreneurial innovation, was the creation of temporary
monopoly profits on the part of the innovator. (Marx called these
"surplus profits.") Brenner, however, explicitly denies that such
temporary monopoly profits are possible, or that low-cost
competitors—often the giant firms with their economies of scale—can
seize control over large shares of the market at the expense of their
smaller competitors.4 Unlike Schumpeter himself, who saw the
concentration and centralization of capital (or "trust
building") as an inexorable tendency of the modern economy, serving to
squeeze out the individual entrepreneur, Brenner reifies competition to
the extent that large corporations and indeed entire nation-states
become examples of unrestrained competition—as if it was not also a
question of monopoly power. The fact that the kind of
overinvestment/overcapacity situation that Brenner himself describes is
only possible when free
competition has been displaced, and considerable elements of monopoly
power enter in, simply passes him by.

Perhaps it is because of these holes in his theory that Brenner seldom
chooses to discuss firms in his analysis, any more than the class
struggle. Rather, his concrete discussion of global turbulence is
displaced almost entirely to the level of the horizontal relations
between nation-states, where we are treated with grand generalities
about comparative national productivities, based on questionable
statistics—usually taken at face value. Here his analysis has much in
common with the current fashion
within mainstream business and economic analysis. The focus on
globalization is seen as placing all nation-states in competition with
each other over currency values, interest rates, wage levels,
productivity growth rates, tax levels, access to finance, and location
of firms. The only answer then is to create a country that is in some
way a "world-class" competitor, enjoying considerable "competitive
advantages," as envisioned by liberal thinkers such as business theorist
Michael Porter and economist Lester Thurow.5

Hence, much of Brenner's analysis is concerned with accounting for the
various "competitive advantages" (to use the term that Porter has made
famous) of Germany, Japan, and the United States vis à vis each other.
But Brenner's analysis purports to be something that Porter's and
 Thurow's are not, i.e., he claims to be providing a general theory of
world capitalist crisis. And here is the rub. No amount of analysis of
the relative competitive advantages among these three currency
blocs/centers of accumulation can by itself generate either a meaningful
theory of
                            accumulation crisis or an understanding of
the causes of the present world economic malaise.

Still, there is no getting around the fact that Brenner's entire
historical treatment of both the long boom and long downturn takes this
form—with the whole argument centered not on labor and capital (or even
on corporations) but on competition between national centers of
accumulation—primarily the United States, Germany, and Japan. For
Brenner, both the "golden age" that followed the Second World War, and
the long stagnation that began in the 1970s and continues up to the
present, can be explained largely in terms of the relative competitive
positions of nation states. Immediately after the Second World War, he
argues, the U.S. economy benefited from low levels of trade (especially
the low levels of exposure of the U.S. economy to international
trade—exports and imports were only a small portion of GNP) and low
levels of competition from Germany and Japan. U.S. economic growth
was then a manifestation, in large part, of its hegemony within the
world economy. Germany and Japan at that point also benefited from U.S.
expansion, given the fact that direct competition between their
economies and that of the United States was largely non-existent. At
that time it was
not yet a "zero-sum world," to use Thurow's term. Yet there was
considerable uneven development as Germany and Japan, enjoying very high
rates of growth, began to catch up with the United States.

Eventually, this uneven development was to create a situation of direct
competition between these three centers of accumulation. The United
States became increasingly dependent on trade and expansion within the
world economy at the same time, in the early 1970s, when its hegemony
began to disappear. Uneven development thus led to overinvestment as
both the new low-cost competitors and the already entrenched high-cost
competitors struggled to hold on to market share. The result was falling

aggregate profitability throughout the capitalist world. Along with this
came a burgeoning U.S. trade deficit and growing trade surpluses in
Germany and Japan and, of course, the rise of the German mark and the
Japanese yen in relation to the U.S. dollar.

U.S. capital, Brenner argues, counter-attacked with heightened
investment while accepting lower rates of return. Hence, there was no
easy solution to overcapacity and reduced profitability because the main
economic competitors each refused to cede position. The resulting
problem of overinvestment and overcapacity was further complicated by
the rise of the newly industrializing countries in East Asia. So, a
condition of overcompetition led to chronic overinvestment and
overcapacity: a competitive standoff with no visible way out. The rest
of the story is about how one nation or another attempted to seize a
"competitive advantage" by reorganizing its own national economy:
subsidizing technology or increasing profit shares at the expense of
labor.

Since Brenner downplays throughout his analysis such "vertical"
relations as the class struggle and the concentration and centralization
of capital, it is perhaps not surprising that he also gives little
attention to a third set of
vertical relations—namely, relations of imperialism, understood in terms
of the domination of the periphery by the center. Despite the fact that
this is billed as "a special report on the world economy," Africa, Latin
America, and the Asian periphery scarcely appear in the analysis, which
is devoted almost exclusively to competition between Europe (mainly
Germany), Japan, and the United States within the center of the world
capitalist economy. Even the Asian Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs)
scarcely appear until the last few pages, indicating merely that the
                            crisis in Southeast Asia hit the front pages
when Brenner was finishing of his manuscript. In a sense, this emphasis
places the cause of international economic distress where it belongs: in
the center of the system. But the failure to address the condition of
the periphery is a glaring omission in a work that purports to discuss
the crisis of the capitalist world economy over a half-century. Even the
decline of U.S. hegemony is discussed with no more than a bare mention
of the Vietnam War.

Brenner ends his "special report on the world economy" with various
scenarios on the world economy—an optimistic scenario and a more
realistic one. The optimistic (supply side) one of course is that the
U.S. economy is now braced—having forced down wages and increased profit
shares, and having reinforced itself with a new armory of technological
innovations—for a dynamic leap forward into the twenty-first century,
pulling the other center economies along with it, and generating a
series of virtuous circles of accumulation. The other, more realistic
scenario is that stagnation, resulting from overcompetition and
overinvestment will linger on into the future: a sort of continual
economic stasis, as long as no competitor will cede position and none
can be dislodged. For the time being, then, the "malign invisible hand"
will remain dominant. It is in his recognition of the persistence of
stagnation and the inability of supply-side economics to overcome the
problem that Brenner makes his main contribution. But by seeing
overaccumulation and overcapacity as a mere reflection of competition,
he misses the true depth of the problem and its relation to
exploitation. Ironically, Brenner's analysis only serves to play down
the underlying contradictions of capitalism (including the ways in which
those contradictions affect the
oppressed). The root of the problem lies not in the competition between
capitals (nor in monopoly seen merely as a restraint on competition) but
in the way in which the surplus product is extracted from the direct
producers: that is, in the reality of exploitation and class.

All of this takes us back to the general issue of competition and its
relation to capital accumulation and crisis. Here we need to recognize
the theoretical limits of any view of capitalism that is confined
largely to the level of market-based competition. Competition, in the
view of the classical economists—as distinguished from today's
neoclassical economists—was not the essential content of capitalism but
rather the mechanism through which the fundamental laws of the system
were enforced. Such a view of competition was held more or less in
common by thinkers like Smith, Ricardo, J.S. Mill and Marx.6 It was
Marx, however, who stated it most clearly. As he wrote in the
Grundrisse:  "Competition generally, this essential locomotive force of
the bourgeois economy, does not establish its laws, but is rather their
executor." And later on in this same work, he stated: "Competition
executes the inner laws of capital; makes them into compulsory laws
towards the individual capital, but it does not invent them. It realizes
them."7 In Marx's view, the essential nature of capitalism was to be
understood not by focusing on
competition at the level of the market, but by analyzing the relations
of capital and labor within production. It is here that the law of value
of capitalism arose.

In writing Capital, Marx therefore initially assumed—in the more
abstract argument of Volume One, where he tried to analyze the class
essence of the system—that competition operated fully, setting aside the
issue of the actual mechanics of competition. This simplifying procedure
allowed him to concentrate on the nature of capital in general,
abstracting from the issue of many capitals. Only in Volume Three, as he
moves by successive approximations from abstract to concrete, does Marx
introduce the reality of many capitals and the effects of the
internecine warfare between units of capital.

In this respect, Marx merely developed much more coherently the method
that was implicit in classical political economy. But with the growth of
neoclassical economics, fantasies such as "pure" and "perfect"
competition were concocted and made into the essence of the system—a
system which is no longer analyzed primarily from the standpoint of
production, but rather in terms of the market, leading to postulates
about hypothetical equilibrium states that could be analyzed with regard
to their uniqueness and stability. The realm of production and the class
struggle simply disappeared, hidden by the veil of the market and the
illusion of perfect competition.

The foregoing considerations should make us skeptical about any analysis
of economic crisis that centers almost entirely on the competition
between capitals. Moreover, matters are made much worse when the whole
argument is displaced to the level of a theory of competitive
advantagebetween nation-states. In effect, the world economic crisis of
capitalism is educed simply to the issue of uneven development among the
great capitalist powers—a kind of international political economy of the
left.

No doubt the attractiveness of such an approach derives primarily from
its fashionable globalization of the concept of competition—which
reduces whole nation-states into mere pawns gripped by some "malign
invisible hand." Yet the superficiality of the analysis is indicated by
the fact
that the theory of a "malign invisible hand" could just as easily turn
back into a theory of a benign one; Schumpeterian pessimism could just
as easily turn into Schumpeterian optimism.

More than twenty years ago, Robert Brenner authored a much-discussed
article entitled "The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of
Neo-Smithian Marxism." In that article, he warned against theories on
the left that, he claimed, were based on "an abstract process of
capitalist development," and that "failed to specify the particular,
historically developed class structures through which these processes
actually worked themselves out," thereby ignoring the way in which the
patterns of economic development which they described were "centrally
bound up with historically specific class structures of production and
surplus extraction."8 The main weakness of The Economics of Global
Turbulence, in my view, is that Brenner in this case failed to pay
sufficient heed to his own warning. We cannot reduce capitalism to
competition, and hence to a Smithian-style "invisible hand"— whether
"malign" or
otherwise—without losing sight of the very basis of the critique of
accumulation: the reality of exploitation and class.

                            NOTES

                              1.Although Brenner himself refrains from
citing any of these writings, it is important to note that supply-side
theory has been subjected to a relentless critique, principally by
radical political economists in
the United States associated with Monthly Review, for two
decades or more. All of the major points that Brenner makes in his
critique are already to be found in this literature. For example, see
the essays by various authors in John Bellamy Foster and Henryk
Szlajfer, ed., The Faltering Economy: The Problem of Accumulation Under
Monopoly Capitalism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1984); also John
Bellamy Foster, "The Long Stagnation and the Class Struggle," Journal of
Economic Issues, vol. 31, no. 2 (June 1997), pp. 445-51, and "What is
Stagnation?," in Robert Cherry, ed., The Imperiled Economy (New York:
Union for Radical Political Economics, 1987), pp.
                                 59-70.
                              2.Baran and Sweezy devoted a substantial
portion of their book to  the analysis of Standard Oil of New Jersey,
which they viewed as "the leading multi-national corporation," and an
example of the
contemporary mechanisms of imperialism. See Paul A. Baran and Paul M.
Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly
 Review Press, 1966), pp. 193-202. The global dimension of
monopoly capital was brought out even more strongly in Harry Magdoff's
Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
                              3.On the use and abuse of
productivity-growth statistics, see Harry Magdoff and Paul M. Sweezy,
The Deepening Crisis of U.S. Capitalism (New York: Monthly Review Press,
1981), pp. 115-26 and 169-77.
                              4.It would not be too much to say that
Brenner's entire model depends on the inability of the low-cost
innovator to obtain short-term monopoly profits, even though the
existence of such temporary monopoly profits constituted the essence of
Schumpeterian profit theory. On Schumpeter's theory, see John Bellamy
Foster, "The Political Economy of Joseph Schumpeter: A Theory of
Capitalist Development and Decline," Studies in
Political Economy, no. 15 (Fall 1984), pp. 5-42.
                              5.See Michael E. Porter, The Competitive
Advantage of Nations  (New York: The Free Press, 1998); Lester Thurow,
The Zero-Sum Solution: Building a World-Class American Economy (New
York: Simon and Schuster, 1985).
                              6.The following discussion on the
classical theory of competition relies very heavily on Paul M. Sweezy,
"Competition and Monopoly," in Foster and Szlajfer, ed., The Faltering
Economy,
                                 pp. 27-29.
                              7.Karl Marx, Grundrisse (New York:
Vintage, 1973), pp. 552,
                                 752.
                              8.Robert Brenner, "The Origins of
Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism," New Left
Review, no. 104
                                 (July-August 1977), pp. 25-93.



                            JOHN BELLAMY FOSTER is associate professor
of sociology at the University of
                            Oregon. He is the author of Marx's Ecology
(2000), and The Vulnerable Planet
                            (1999, 2nd ed.). He is co-editor of Hungry
for Profit (2000), Capitalism and the
                            Information Age (1998), and In Defense of
History (1996).
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Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222



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