[Marxism] Marx's crisis theory

Charlie charles1848 at sbcglobal.net
Thu Apr 11 15:16:44 MDT 2013

Heinrich merges two applications of the rate of profit for his attack: 
its explanation of inevitable crises in capitalism, and as an 
explanation of capitalism arriving at a point where it breaks down or 
its economic failure drives people to revolution.

The crisis aspect does not depend on a rising organic composition of 
capital. (See for example my From Capitalism to Equality, chapter five.) 
Ignorin that, Heinrich pounds away at  organic composition in his 
observations about the math, although he carefully avoids the word 

The barrier that capitalism reaches, signaling that its relations of 
production (with the wage relation at the heart) have become an 
impassable fetter on development, is another matter. Arguments that a 
rising organic composition brings capitalism to this barrier have never 
held up.

Marx founded the science of history. The basic concepts are sound. That 
does not mean that Marx explained everything without error. But if you 
want to throw out the entire science, you start with a problem and 
enlarge it to the whole. Heinrich, by not sorting out these two matters 
related to the rate of profit, disparages the whole labor theory of 
value that Marx gave us along with its results about surplus value, 
class struggle, and the capitalists' necessary and inhuman devotion to 
the rate of profit above all else.

And so Heinrich declares that Marx only dimly realized late in life that 
he had failed because in economics everything depends on everything 
else: "It is questionable, however, whether or to what extent the 
presentation of the 'shapings of the total process' envisioned by Marx 
for book III is at all possible in abstraction from the state and the 
world market. If, however, this is in fact not possible, then the 
construction of Capital as a whole is called into question." Despicable 

Charles Andrews

More information about the Marxism mailing list