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Book part
Publication date: 7 November 2011

Gary Mongiovi

In the 2010 volume of Research in Political Economy, Alan Freeman put forth the intriguing and original hypothesis that “capitalism's inner laws express themselves in  

Abstract

In the 2010 volume of Research in Political Economy, Alan Freeman put forth the intriguing and original hypothesis that “capitalism's inner laws express themselves in … different ways during booms and during crises” (Freeman, 2010, p. 217). When the business cycle is in an upswing, Freeman argues, the tensions and contradictions that will eventually interrupt the process of capital accumulation are camouflaged by the commodity form, and so appear as natural laws of motion. With the onset of a crisis, however, these tensions erupt into overt class conflict and so become transparent. The open political struggle represents an opportunity for transformative progressive action. While Freeman's development of this hypothesis is in many respects illuminating, his analysis is marred by a gratuitous methodological argument that has little bearing on what he wants to say about crises. His remarks on method would be merely distracting if they were accurate. But they are in fact misleading and therefore stand in the way of productive discussion of the essay's many useful observations.

Details

Revitalizing Marxist Theory for Today's Capitalism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-255-5

Book part
Publication date: 7 November 2011

Alan Freeman

Gary Mongiovi accurately cites my thesis, presented in Freeman (2010a) (henceforth referred to as Positivist Marxism and abbreviated to PM), that “capitalism's inner laws…

Abstract

Gary Mongiovi accurately cites my thesis, presented in Freeman (2010a) (henceforth referred to as Positivist Marxism and abbreviated to PM), that “capitalism's inner laws express themselves in … different ways during booms and during crises” and that “When the business cycle is in an upswing … the tensions and contradictions that will eventually interrupt the process of capital accumulation are camouflaged by the commodity form, and so appear as natural laws of motion.” He also expresses general agreement with this thesis, but complains that the way I present it is “marred by a gratuitous methodological argument” which is “misleading and therefore stand[s] in the way of productive discussion.” The methodological argument in question is that no theory based on the method of static equilibrium can provide an explanation of endogenous capitalist crisis; this is the main issue I address in this response. PM applies this argument in order to examine a theoretical current that dominates Western, academic, Marxism. This current interprets Marx's theory as a variant of general equilibrium. In this response I refer to it as simultaneist Marxism (SM).

Details

Revitalizing Marxist Theory for Today's Capitalism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-255-5

Book part
Publication date: 8 November 2010

Alan Freeman

This chapter restores the concepts of freedom, consciousness, and choice to our understanding of “economic laws,” so we may discuss how to respond to economic crisis…

Abstract

This chapter restores the concepts of freedom, consciousness, and choice to our understanding of “economic laws,” so we may discuss how to respond to economic crisis. These are absent from orthodox economics that presents “globalization” or “the markets” as the outcome of unstoppable forces outside human control.

They were integral to the emancipatory political economy of Karl Marx but have been lost to Marxism, which appears as the inspiration for mechanical, fatalistic determinism. This confusion arises from Marxism's absorption of the idea, originating in French positivism, that social laws are automatic and inevitable.

The chapter contests the organizing principle of this view: that economic laws are predictive, telling us what must happen. Marx's laws are relational, not predictive, laying bare the connection between two apparently distinct forms of appearance of the same thing, such as labor and price. Such laws open the door to democracy and choice, but do not unambiguously predict the future because what happens depends on our actions.

The commodity form conceals these laws, disguising the true social and class relations of society. Accumulation, however, undermines the circumstances that permit the commodity to play this role. The result is crisis, defined in this chapter as the point when the blind laws of the commodity form are suspended and open political forces come into play.

In past crises, capitalism has restored the rate of profit through such destructive interventions as imperialism, war, and fascism. Economic laws, properly defined, offer society the real choice of alternative outcomes from crisis.

Details

The National Question and the Question of Crisis
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-493-2

Article
Publication date: 1 September 2005

Nick Potts

To challenge the validity/usefulness of teaching mainstream neo‐classical/new‐classical economics, by contending that Marx provides a superior understanding of the…

1257

Abstract

Purpose

To challenge the validity/usefulness of teaching mainstream neo‐classical/new‐classical economics, by contending that Marx provides a superior understanding of the essential nature of the capitalist system.

Design/methodology/approach

To explain Marx the hermeneutic issue of which Marx must be addressed. Simultaneous and dualistic interpretations of Marx question Marx's key conclusions, suggesting that Marx's value theory is inconsistent. In contrast the Temporal Single System Interpretation (TSSI) of Marx contends that all of Marx's key conclusions/results hold if one adopts a sequential and non‐dualistic methodological approach, restoring Marx's central message/power.

Findings

Explains how Marx endogenously accounts for the inevitable cyclical behaviour of capitalism, its tendency to concentrate and the development of the financial system. In short, Marx can explain the tendencies observed in the globalising world, whereas it is contended that mainstream analysis is hampered by prioritising an ideal simultaneous equilibrium and investigating how it might be exogenously disturbed.

Research limitations/implications

If, as is contended, Marx's economics provides a superior understanding of the world, then research into Marx and analysis based on Marxian foundations should be prioritised.

Practical implications

Marx should be widely taught to improve students' understanding of the economy.

Originality/value

Quite simply challenges orthodoxy by rediscovering value.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 32 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 22 September 2015

Radhika Desai

This introduction to the essays that follow argues that the chief problem with the dominant understanding of world affairs in the disciplines of International Relations…

Abstract

This introduction to the essays that follow argues that the chief problem with the dominant understanding of world affairs in the disciplines of International Relations and International Political Economy, including their Marxist versions, is an a historical, non-contradictory and economically cosmopolitan conception of capitalism. In their place, geopolitical economy is a new approach which returns to the conception of capitalism embodied in the culmination of classical political economy, Marxism. It was historical in two senses, distinguishing capitalism as a historically specific mode of social production involving by value production and understanding that its contradictions drive forward capitalism’s own history in a central way. This approach must further develop and specify uneven and combined development as the dominant pattern in the unfolding of capitalist international relations, one that is constitutive of its component states themselves. Secondly, it must understand the logic of the actions undertaken by capitalist states as emerging from the struggles involved in the formation of capitalist states and from the contradictions that are set in train once capitalism is established. Finally, it must see in the ways that class and national struggles and resulting state actions have modified the functioning of capitalism the possibilities of replacing the disorder, contestation and war that are the spontaneous result of capitalism for international relations the basis for a cooperative order in relations between states, an order which can also be the means for realising the permanent revolution and solidifying its gains on the international or world plane.

Details

Theoretical Engagements in Geopolitical Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-295-5

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 31 December 2000

Alan Freeman and Andrew Kliman

Research in the temporal single-system (TSS) interpretation of Marx's value theory has refuted the Okishio theorem, which had supposedly disproved the law of the falling…

Abstract

Research in the temporal single-system (TSS) interpretation of Marx's value theory has refuted the Okishio theorem, which had supposedly disproved the law of the falling profit rate. In response to critics who confirm the correctness of the TSS refutation but, curiously, still uphold the Okishio theorem, this paper clarifies what the theorem actually asserts and why that assertion is false. It also shows that TSS results do matter: the contradiction between value and use-value, and the difference between temporal and simultaneous valuation, are crucial. Finally, the paper examines the role the Okishio theorem has played in suppressing Marx's work.

Details

Value, Capitalist Dynamics and Money
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-572-7

Article
Publication date: 26 September 2008

Alan Freeman

This paper aims to make a submission to the UK's Economic and Social Research Council as part of its international benchmarking review of economics.

187

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to make a submission to the UK's Economic and Social Research Council as part of its international benchmarking review of economics.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of a discussion of the health of economics in the UK from the perspective of heterodox or pluralist economists who are members of the Association for Heterodox Economics.

Findings

Research assessment based on peer review is damaging economics in the UK because, as currently conducted, it does not promote pluralism. This will lead to a monolithic discipline that will reject new and controversial ideas and arguments.

Practical implications

The current research assessment and subject benchmarking approaches must be completely changed so as to promote pluralism.

Originality/value

This is the first document by a heterodox economics association to challenge the research assessment and subject benchmarking conventions in the UK and also in Europe.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Value, Capitalist Dynamics and Money
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-572-7

Book part
Publication date: 17 July 2006

Fletcher Baragar

For Marxists, the present controversies are rooted in Marx's own development and exposition of the labor theory of value, especially its presentation in Volumes I (Marx

Abstract

For Marxists, the present controversies are rooted in Marx's own development and exposition of the labor theory of value, especially its presentation in Volumes I (Marx, 1954 [1867]) and III of Capital. As is well known, in Volume I, Marx begins with his analysis of commodities, emphasizing the role of human labor in both its concrete and abstract aspects, and from that he develops (1) the concepts of (exchange) value, of socially necessary labor time, and of its expression in the form of money and the distinction between value and price; (2) the concepts of capital and of surplus value; and (3) the concept of the commodity labor power. With these concepts, his analysis of capitalist production lays bare the nature of capitalist exploitation and links the phenomenon of profit to surplus value (i.e., the unpaid labor time of productive workers). In Parts I and II of Volume III, Marx, explicitly allowing for the interplay of many different capitals, endeavors to show how surplus value is converted into profit, how the rate of surplus value is converted into the rate of profit, how the general rate of profit is formed, and how the values of commodities are transformed into prices of production. He claimed that the transformation preserved the following equalities: total value=total prices; total surplus value=total profits; and, the rate of profit=the rate of surplus value. Marx's presentation of this material in Volume III is, unfortunately, quite rough, since this material is comprised of manuscripts that he had prepared prior to the publication of Volume I in 1867. These manuscripts were not, however, in a final, finished state, and unfortunately Marx never got around to getting them ready for publication.

Details

Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-76231-349-5

Book part
Publication date: 31 December 2000

Abstract

Details

Value, Capitalist Dynamics and Money
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-572-7

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