[Marxism] Karl Marx vs the crisis-deniers ...

Steve Palmer spalmer999 at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 10 22:11:10 MDT 2008

--- Angelus Novus <fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Steve Palmer:
> > What Marx did say was that capitalism has inherent 
> > tendencies to crisis (the barrier to capitalist 
> > production is capital itself); that the crisis is
> also
> > capitalism's healing mechanism, which, through the 
> > devaluation of capital, driving down of wages, 
> > massive unemployment, collosal reorganization of 
> > material production creates the conditions which 
> > allow profitability to be restored, accumulation to 
> > restart and to pull itself out of its crisis. 
> This is almost exactly the point Michael made in the
> article, which caused Louis to liken him to
> Schumpeter.
Heinrich's statement is pretty general and could be given a number of
conflicting interpretations. I simply chose to make my own position clear. I'm
glad to know that Heinrich agrees with me.

> Did you even read the article?
[sigh ...] No, I was bored and just copied down Dave Spart's refrigerator

Heinrich says that Marx does not arrive at this position until AFTER the 1857-8
crisis. I'm saying that this is mistaken and that Marx was actually describing
this mechanism around the time he was writing to Lassalle (check out Notebook
IV). Different aspects of this position are scattered at several well-known
points in the Grundrisse, ie before the end of the crisis. 

Heinrich says "This collapse, Marx was convinced, would unleash revolutionary
movements." Marx actually says "presentiment" about the future and it is not at
all clear whether "turbulent movements from without" refers to a revolutionary
movement or economic turbulence of some sort. 

> > There seem to me to be consequences which flow from 
> > his interpretation which result in his adoption of a
> > variant of the currently fashionable 
> > 'financialization' theory, which sees the current 
> > crisis the result of some voluntary activity
> external > to the capital relationship
> Stop parading your ignorance. 
[Loud guffaw!]

You insult *me* in order to avoid responding to the *point* I make.

> Michael's controversies
> with figures like Wolfgang Fritz Haug, etc. are rooted
> precisely in the fact that he sees finance and money
> as *central* to the capital relationship, not
> something external to it.
So you say, but I don't see it exhibited in this article and I quote Heinrich
to back up my point.

> Doug Henwood (who called this piece by Michael
> "excellent") is another thinker who stresses the
> centrality of Marx's analysis of finance for his work
> as a whole.  That is why Michael always stresses the
> need to read Volume III.
Doug is always interesting, but I don't necessarily agree with everything he
says. To use the argument from authority is pretty desperate. I have to say
that much of the last part of the article seems not very different from what
can be read in bear blogs across the net. The point is not whether or not
Marx's analysis of finance is central to Marx's work or whether we should read
Book III, but *exactly how* and *in what way*. Perhaps Heinrich can say, but
I'm not finding it in this article.

The argument that capitalism is becoming multi-polar was being made on the eve
of the first world war and bred certain political illusions with tragic
consequences. I think this is worth discussing. Why no discussion of the
classic theory of 'finance capital'? This is a common absence amongst the
different adherents of 'financialization'. No mention of imperialism, despite
the remarkable acceleration in the export of capital and the large and swelling
proportion of profits received from the rest of the world.

I was hoping for something more serious than insults and name-dropping.


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