[Marxism] Doug Henwood, Anwar Shaikh, and financial crisis

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 7 07:07:52 MST 2008

Ralph wrote:
>I don't know yet what specifically the Shaikh/Henwood exchange covered,
>but in Meszaros's recent talk entitled 'The unfolding crisis and the
>relevance of Marx' cited on this list is this quote, citing figures
>seldom mentioned, from Shii Kazuo in Japan Press Weekly Oct. 2008, p. 20:
>"How much speculative capital is moving around the world? According to a
>Mitsubishi UFJ Securities analysis, the size of the global 'real
>economy', in which goods and services are produced and traded, is
>estimated at $48.1 trillion... On the other hand, the size of the global
>'financial economy', the total amount of stocks, securities and
>deposits, adds up to $151.8 trillion.  The financial economy thus has
>swollen to more than three times the size of the real economy, growing
>especially rapidly during the past two decades. The gap is as large as
>$100 trillion. An analyst involved in this estimation said that about
>half the amount, $50 trillion is scarcely necessary for the real
>economy. Fifty trillion dollars are well worth over 5,000 trillion yen,
>too big a number for me to comprehend."

Doug asked to forward his comments on Ralph's post:

If it's fictitious capital, why would its destruction matter to the
"real" economy? That's a serious question. I'd really like to hear how
you think the fictitious and real are related? And, if you've got some
time, could you also explain how a "real" economy, which is based on
the pursuit of profit in money form, is really all that fundamentally
different from a "fictitious" one?

I've spent half a lifetime thinking about this stuff, and I can't say
I really have good answers to these questions. But you seem to, so I'm
all ears.


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