[Marxism] Fwd: Richard Wolff and the deepening crisis | Michael Roberts Blog

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jun 3 06:24:01 MDT 2016

For Wolff, the “classic contradiction” of capitalism is that capitalists 
“paid insufficient wages to enable workers to purchase growing 
capitalist output” (p166).  But the main contradiction, in my view, lies 
not in ‘insufficient wages’ but in Marx’s law of the tendency of the 
rate of profit to fall.  This tendency can for periods (sometimes long) 
be counteracted by more exploitation and new technology, but it 
eventually operates to drive down profitability and total profits, 
leading to a collapse in investment and then incomes and employment.

This explanation is entirely missing in Wolff’s book. Wolff’s five 
reasons for the Long Depression are true only because they describe the 
nature of the current low-growth world, but the explanation lies with 
continued low profitability (near post-war lows), a failure to reduce 
debt levels and the failure of business investment to recover as a 
result.  It’s not too much cash and capacity but too little profit.


More information about the Marxism mailing list