[Marxism] Mainstream economics finally recognizes that unequal power produces unequal income and wealth

Shalva Eliava shalva.eliava at outlook.com
Mon Jan 25 22:35:37 MST 2016


Louis posted a piece by Roberts recently that argued against an "overaccumulation" explanation of the looming crisis (entitled something like "too much capital or too little?") that made verbatim the same argument that Kuttner attributes to neoclassicists below with respect to labor's share. Roberts claimed that there is no evidence that labor's share has declined in any way since the 1970s (the links were all to Kliman's (and his students') "research", which in turn is based on articles by right-wing academics trying to refute Piketty/Saez research on rising income inequality. Health insurance expenditures and other state transfers feature heavily in Kliman et al's claims of a rising worker share. 

I really wouldn't give a fuck about the falling profit rate fundamentalists if it wasn't for their own obsession with attacking other Marxists who don't subscribe to "the tendency" (whom they always slander as "keynesian" and/or "underconsumptionist" while denying them any Marxist credentials). In fact their main mission in life seems to be attacking other Marxists exclusively (has anyone read a Kliman piece that wasn't centered on an attack on "underconsumptionism"?). 

Personally, I do not see much point in insisting on one interpretation of crisis or another as a litmus test of one's Marxist credentials. Regardless of your explanation why crisis happens under capitalism, all Marxists agree that it tends toward crisis and always will. I am far more supportive of Louis' campaign to beat back "political marxism" since it basically denies that capitalism (re)produces underdevelopment in the former colonies (and/or that slavery and coercive labor regimes are anyway fundamental to capitalist production). I see far more at stake there than differing perspectives on what causes crisis under capitalism...


> On Jan 25, 2016, at 6:07 PM, Gary MacLennan <gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Comrade Shalva,
> 
> thanks for the link.
> 
> I think though you are a little unfair to Michael Roberts. His argument, as far as I understand it, is that capitalism is fatally flawed (Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall) and must be replaced by socialism.
> 
> His anti-Keynesianism does at times seem to put him on the side of the right-wing anti-Keynesians in that he argues the state cannot do anything and they argue the state should not try.
> 
> Compromisers like myself, think that a bout of Keynesianism would be a very good thing for the poor whose plight is increasingly desperate. I am too old now to wait for an economic Armageddon which will put a radical alternative in place.
> 
> That does not make me a reformist.  I have no doubt that capitalism must be replaced in toto.
> But we need broad fronts and general movement and that is why I welcome the Kuttner article, though one is tempted to say "Duh!" at the spectacle of a liberal trying to work out capitalism.
> 
> comradely
> 
> Gary
> 
>> On Tue, Jan 26, 2016 at 7:14 AM, Shalva Eliava via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
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>> This article isn't really all that interesting for radicals, but it did have one line that I liked, since it highlights the affinities between the latter-day falling profit rate fundamentalists and the neoclassicists:
>> 
>> "On the inequality conundrum, conservative economists divide four ways. Some are denialists. Rising inequality is simply a mirage if you make the right adjustments to the data. Scott Winship of the Manhattan Institute operates a small cottage industry purporting to demonstrate that if you correct for a variety of factors ranging from household size to counting health insurance as income, the statistical rise in inequality mostly vanishes."
>> 
>> - this is exactly the argument that Kliman and his disciples (e.g. Michael Roberts) make...just so they can rule out "underconsumption" as a factor of crisis.
>> 
>> http://prospect.org/article/new-inequality-debate-0
>> 
>> 
>> Отправлено с Айтелеграфа
>> 
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