[Marxism] Fwd: Investment, investment, investment | Michael Roberts Blog

ehrbar at marx.economics.utah.edu ehrbar at marx.economics.utah.edu
Sat Feb 20 14:41:20 MST 2016



Ralph Johansen writes about Michael Roberts:

> He is not discussing the deleterious effects of growth on the planet.
> He is attempting to explain the workings of the economy under capital.

I think Michael is trying to explain the prolonged recession since 2008.
His thesis is that the Marxist explanation by the falling rate of
profits is the best explanation, and that even the better mainstream
economists agree to it now.

Since the fall of the rate of profits is the reason for this recession,
it is not possible to climb out of it by giving people higher wages, but
the only way to continue growth under the capitalist regime is by lower
wages and austerity.

Therefore if we really want recovery we must get rid of the capitalist
system.

Did I get this right?  I have troubles following because he makes
so many unstated assumptions which were familiar to me in the past
but which I am thinking now are no longer valid.

The argument which I just outlined makes me feel like I am in a museum
because if anybody is trying to explain the economy in the year 2016,
the finiteness of the planet must be part of the puzzle.  I have the
impression that right now this is a much stronger influence on the
economy than the rising organic composition of capital.  Without the
finiteness of the planet, you have no hope to explain the Paris
Agreement, the low oil prices, etc.  And someone who has the finiteness
of the planet clearly in focus will never try to advertise socialism as
a system which allows everybody, not only the capitalists, to benefit
from economic growth.  Instead, a 21st century Marxist must explain that
what looks like economic growth in the books of capitalist firms is
really destruction, that natural resources are being destroyed in order
to maintain the accounting fiction of growth, and that eco-socialists
want more growth only in the poor countries.  In the UK and US we need
less growth and an economy which does not collapse if it does not grow.

Hans G Ehrbar



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