[Marxism] From Sartesian
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 12 16:06:26 MDT 2013
AN implies that those of us who don’t take Heinrich’s speculations as
the new anti-gospel are exhibiting religious faith—because, apparently,
we aren’t persuaded by Heinrich’s mathematics. I might accept the
accusation as having some validity if in fact my response, or indeed,
the responses of others were based on the mathematics. They are not.
They are based on the historical record of capitalism. The agreement
with the assertion that the rate of profit tends to fall with the
accumulation of the means of production as capital, with the expulsion
of labor-power from production, is based on the actual movement of
capital over a fairly substantial period of time; in the current
moment—that period of time being cited as evidence goes back some 45
years—and...can explain the twists and turns of capitalism in the US,
and on a global scale, at the critical points in that 45 years. Now
correlation is not causation, we all know that... but after awhile, you
know evidence is evidence. Shane demonstrated the long term tendency
for a substantial period of time prior to 1968. Others have
demonstrated just such a decline in conjunction with increased “capital
investment” for other periods. Just circumstantial? well maybe, but
those are some pretty diverse, and convincing, circumstances, no?
It may very well be that Marx’s mathematics do not prove the “law,” and
yet the law exists. There is a difference between proof and truth, not
to go all Gödel-like on this.
It’s one thing to say as Heinrich does, that Marx was dissatisfied with
what he had written regarding capitalist expansion and the limits to
that expansion. It’s another thing to speculate, and that too is what
Heinrich does, that Marx’s dissatisfaction was driving him to reject the
tendency of the rate of profit to fall as inherent in capital accumulation.
And it’s something else altogether to misapprehend the debates over
crisis theory and claim that in the 20th century that debate has focused
on 1) the law of the falling rate of profit and 2) that the FROP
“group” has represented” Marxist “orthodoxy”—a term usually used to
identify followers of the 2nd International, Kautsky etc. And that
Heinrich does also.
No way—the debates were usually about overproduction vs.
underconsumption . And also the debates centered around
“disproportionality” which can be traced back to Rosa’s Accumulation of
Capital, Rosa’s work, I think, is the “original” disproportionality
explanation for problems of capitalist reproduction.
One more thing, I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m getting a
little tired of the “Engels as culprit” hymn that gets repeatedly sung
by the new anti-holy family. I mean I disagree with Engels presentation
of the law of value as meta-historical too, not to mention the
“dialectic of nature,” but the implication I keep coming across is that
Engels pieced together parts of Marx’s manuscripts to suit his, Engels’,
own agenda. Maybe I’m being unfair, but I bet I’m not the only one who
smells that rat. And Engels
Anyway, thanks for the plug on your list, and my best to Angelus in his
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