[Marxism] Marx's crisis theory

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Tue Apr 9 22:56:34 MDT 2013

In Monthly Review, Michael Heinrich wrote, "The view that the various
fragmentary references to crisis theory in the three volumes of Capital
constitute a fully developed coherent structure, which only requires
diligent exegesis, is a view that has never seemed sensible to us."


There is a *50-page section* on the law of the tendency of the rate of
profit to fall in vol 3.  Hardly a "fragmentary reference".

I recently purchased Michael's book on 'Capital', but haven't started
reading it yet.  I hope it's more accurate as a guide to Marx's critique of
political economy than this!!!

I don't know why some people keep insisting Marx didn't have a coherent
crisis theory.  He did and it's the LTRPF.  It certainly doesn't explain
every little thing that can and does go wrong in the anarchic system that
is capitalism, but it does provide the tools for explaining why the system
*as a whole* is wrought with massive crisis on a fairly regular basis.

Again and again the folks who think they can surpass - or in some cases,
simply ignore - the substantial section of vol 3 end up putting forward
some theory like under-consumptionism (or its twin, over-production) which
Marx rejected as a coherent theory of crisis in vol 2.  The attempts to
'improve' on Marx usually amount to attempts to approximate Marx's economic
analysis to some school of bourgeois economic thought in order to make Marx
more palatable to those who want to reform capitalism but not abolish it.


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