[Marxism] Marx's crisis theory

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 10 20:05:33 MDT 2013

I wrote:

>> 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".

Angelus responded:
>Phil, with all due respect, I can tell you haven't read the article,
because one of the thing that Heinrich addresses is how Engels turned a
mass of fragmentary notes and digressions into a section of the book, and
then added titles.

It was the MR introduction to the article I was responding to (because of
the way you posted it here, it looked as if it was Heinrich writing but, as
I noted in my very next post, it wasn't; it was MR).  And the introduction
didn't refer to fragmentary references throughout Marx's writings, it
referred *specifically* to *fragmentary references in the three volume of
Capital*.  So the MR introduction was wrong.  There are not fragmentary
references in the three volumes of Capital.  Offhand, I can't recall any
references to LTRPF in the first two volumes at all, but there is a 50-page
treatment of it in vol 3.

I'm aware Engels put together vol 3 after Marx's death; indeed, didn't he
put together vol 2 as well.  But no-one says, Oh ignore vol 2, because
that's Engels.

In any case, Engels presents a very systematic outline of what Marx had
already described (in the Grundrisse) as "the single most important law of
modern political economy".  And I think we can trust that Engels, as Marx's
chief collaborator for 40 years, didn't just make up the idea and trawl
through Marx for the occasional tidbit on the subject.  He would have been
very well aware of Marx's thinking on crisis theory.

Marx never wrote anything that suggested he didn't think the LTRPF was of
lesser importance than what he stated in the Grundrisse and no-one that
I've ever seen has improved upon the LTRPF.  As a law it certainly makes
more sense to me than the law of averages, which has about zero power to
predict anything.


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