[Marxism] From Sartesian

michael perelman michael.perelman3 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 12 16:12:58 MDT 2013

Regarding Heinrich, what I read him implying was that Marx
became skeptical of a mechanistic, mathematical theory of the falling rate
of profit, that the subject required a broader analysis.

On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 3:06 PM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:

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> Lou,
> 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
> translating efforts.
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Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA

530 898 5321
fax 530 898 5901

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