[Marxism] Marx's crisis theory

Philip Ferguson philipferguson8 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 10 20:40:10 MDT 2013

Jamie wrote:
"Engels historicised Marx's value theory, which was specific to a fully
capitalist society. The logical corollary of that, if one follows Engels,
is that the capitalist exploitation occurs because of expropriation of the
surplus product - which leaves absolutely no need for value theory at all
(abstract labour; fetishism; money etc. etc.) - you wash up on the shores
of Ricardian socialism or German social democracy."

'Capital', including vol 3, emphasises the historical nature of capitalism
- that it is a historically specific socio-economic system, that it had a
start, a development and it has an end.  So the logical corollary of
Engels' work in putting together vols 2 and 3 has nothing to do with
suggesting a surplus product.  It's very clear that the function of
exploitation is to produce surplus-value and that surplus-product is a
category prior to capitalism, although still to be found in some parts of
the world as, indeed, is subsistence agriculture where there is neither
surplus-product (to any appreciable extent) or surplus-value.

Since Shane Mage is here, I'd like to say how much I enjoyed reading his
old thesis on the falling rate of profit in the US.  It was written nigh on
40 years ago and it was about ten years ago when I read it.  I'd highly
recommend it.

Today, it is certainly harder to calculate the rate of profit.  For
instance, there is now a global rate of profit.  An acquaintance of mine,
Tony Norfield, has written a little bit about this although he's still in
relatively early stages of research.  His blog is called Economics of
Imperialism and well worth a look.  Michael Roberts, whose blog is
thenextrecession, has also written on it and is well worth perusing.


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