[Marxism] Henryk Grossman as dependency theorist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jun 11 12:29:09 MDT 2008

Last March, in conjunction with a discussion of “crisis theory” on the 
Introduction to Marxism mailing list on Yahoo, I read Rick Kuhn’s 
biography of Henryk Grossman—winner of the Isaac Deutscher Prize last 
year—and Grossman’s most important work “The Law of Accumulation and 
Collapse of the Capitalist System”. While most of the scholarly 
attention, including Kuhn’s, is focused on Grossman’s attempt to develop 
a theory of crisis out of Marx’s examination of the organic composition 
of capital, there is a very important discussion of the role of 
imperialism in mitigating the impact of crisis. It appears in part two 
of the final section of Grossman’s book, titled “Restoring Profitability 
through World Market Domination.”

After having read it the third time at this point, I am struck by its 
affinity with dependency theory. I am also struck by Grossman’s ability 
to ground his ideas in Marx’s Capital. Ironically, despite the tendency 
to see Lenin’s writings on imperialism as a fountainhead, I find 
Grossman’s ideas more grounded in basic Marxist theory and a useful 
rejoinder to Brenner’s claims on orthodoxy.


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