The discourse on credit cycles has been reinvigorated following the global crisis. The purpose of this paper is to contrast the positions of mainstream, Marxist, Austrian and post-Keynesian (PK) schools of thought on these matters. It is posited that most notions underplay the significance of real economy factors in shaping the fluctuations of credit levels and relations. It is argued these ideas are best illustrated by Marx (as interpreted by the Temporal Single System Interpretation) and tendency for the profit rate to fall with accumulation. Empirical evidence on the UK profit rate is provided as supporting evidence.
The paper explores the theoretical work on credit and business cycles from the relevant schools of thought and contrasts them. The aim is to consider which approach best describes the reality. Empirical work on the profit rate provides supporting evidence.
It is argued that the mainstream view of monetary neutrality is an insufficient explanation of the financial reality associated with credit and business cycles. Instead, it is posited that the PK approach, which emphasizes productive and financial factors, is more preferable. This contrasts with the usual singular financialization commentary that is used to describe the financial crisis and real economy stagnation that followed. It is argued that Marx’s notion of falling profit and its ramifications best explain the reality of both the credit and business cycle. This is supported by the evidence.
It is problematic to calculate a Marxian rate of profit given the lack of suitable reported statistics. The research illustrates the significance of productive factors, especially the tendency for the profit rate to fall, in driving business cycles. There are, therefore, implications for government fiscal/monetary/industrial policies to reflect these factors when seeking to influence the business cycle.
Policies that are designed to target levels of profitability are likely to be beneficial for capitalist sustainability.
The focus on profitability in the paper informs individuals working in business organizations of some of the imperatives facing corporations in a modern competitive environment.
Whether financial factors drive the business cycle, or are themselves driven by it, is an important question given that policy prescriptions will differ depending on the answer. The recent financialization commentary, for instance, suggests that better regulation or reform of the financial sector will preclude unstable business cycles. The paper argues, in contrast, that the cause of the credit instability is rooted in production (following Marx) and that, therefore, a more production-focused policy response is required whilst recognizing the instabilities of the credit system. This latter point has a measure of originality in the current discourse.
A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balanceeconomics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary toman′s finding the good life and society…
A collection of essays by a social economist seeking to balance economics as a science of means with the values deemed necessary to man′s finding the good life and society enduring as a civilized instrumentality. Looks for authority to great men of the past and to today′s moral philosopher: man is an ethical animal. The 13 essays are: 1. Evolutionary Economics: The End of It All? which challenges the view that Darwinism destroyed belief in a universe of purpose and design; 2. Schmoller′s Political Economy: Its Psychic, Moral and Legal Foundations, which centres on the belief that time‐honoured ethical values prevail in an economy formed by ties of common sentiment, ideas, customs and laws; 3. Adam Smith by Gustav von Schmoller – Schmoller rejects Smith′s natural law and sees him as simply spreading the message of Calvinism; 4. Pierre‐Joseph Proudhon, Socialist – Karl Marx, Communist: A Comparison; 5. Marxism and the Instauration of Man, which raises the question for Marx: is the flowering of the new man in Communist society the ultimate end to the dialectical movement of history?; 6. Ethical Progress and Economic Growth in Western Civilization; 7. Ethical Principles in American Society: An Appraisal; 8. The Ugent Need for a Consensus on Moral Values, which focuses on the real dangers inherent in there being no consensus on moral values; 9. Human Resources and the Good Society – man is not to be treated as an economic resource; man′s moral and material wellbeing is the goal; 10. The Social Economist on the Modern Dilemma: Ethical Dwarfs and Nuclear Giants, which argues that it is imperative to distinguish good from evil and to act accordingly: existentialism, situation ethics and evolutionary ethics savour of nihilism; 11. Ethical Principles: The Economist′s Quandary, which is the difficulty of balancing the claims of disinterested science and of the urge to better the human condition; 12. The Role of Government in the Advancement of Cultural Values, which discusses censorship and the funding of art against the background of the US Helms Amendment; 13. Man at the Crossroads draws earlier themes together; the author makes the case for rejecting determinism and the “operant conditioning” of the Skinner school in favour of the moral progress of autonomous man through adherence to traditional ethical values.
To challenge the validity/usefulness of teaching mainstream neo‐classical/new‐classical economics, by contending that Marx provides a superior understanding of the…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marx should be widely taught to improve students' understanding of the economy.
Quite simply challenges orthodoxy by rediscovering value.
Nobody concerned with political economy can neglect the history of economic doctrines. Structural changes in the economy and society influence economic thinking and…
Nobody concerned with political economy can neglect the history of economic doctrines. Structural changes in the economy and society influence economic thinking and, conversely, innovative thought structures and attitudes have almost always forced economic institutions and modes of behaviour to adjust. We learn from the history of economic doctrines how a particular theory emerged and whether, and in which environment, it could take root. We can see how a school evolves out of a common methodological perception and similar techniques of analysis, and how it has to establish itself. The interaction between unresolved problems on the one hand, and the search for better solutions or explanations on the other, leads to a change in paradigma and to the formation of new lines of reasoning. As long as the real world is subject to progress and change scientific search for explanation must out of necessity continue.
This paper uses Leon Trotsky’s theory of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) in order to transcend both globalising and methodologically nationalist theories of the…
This paper uses Leon Trotsky’s theory of Uneven and Combined Development (UCD) in order to transcend both globalising and methodologically nationalist theories of the global political economy. While uneven development theorists working in economic geography have demonstrated the logical corollary of capitalist development and the completion of the world market in the persistence of geographic unevenness, they fail to specify or problematise the role of states in this process. This leads to an ambiguity about why the states system has persisted under conditions of deep economic integration across states. State theorists, meanwhile, tend to exclude the world market and system of states as conditioning factors in state (trans)formation. For this reason, much state theory offers only a contingent account of the relationship between patterns of capital accumulation and states’ institutional forms. Geopolitical economy, with its focus on the competitive interrelations between states as constitutive of capitalist value relations, is well placed to transcend the pitfalls of these twin perspectives by closely engaging with the theory of UCD. UCD provides a nonreductionist means of integrating global processes of capital accumulation with their distinctive and peculiar national mediations. A research programme is developed to operationalise UCD for purposes of concrete research – something lacking from recent development in the field.
The purpose of this article is expository in the main; critical to a lesser degree. It will attempt to show how Karl Marx, enraged by the imperfections and inhumanity of the capitalist society, “fought” for its supersession by the communist society on which he dwelt so fondly, that society which would emerge from the womb of a dying capitalism. It asks such questions as these: Is it possible to create the truly human society envisaged by Marx? Is perfection of man and society a mere will‐o'‐the‐wisp? A brief analysis, therefore, of the imperfections of capitalism is undertaken for the purpose of revealing the evils which Marx sought to eliminate by revolution of the most violent sort. In this sense, the nature of man under capitalism is analysed. Marx found the breed wanting, in a word, dehumanised. An attempt is, therefore, made to discuss the new man of Marxism, man's own creation, and the traits of that new man, one freed at last from the alienating effects of private property, division of labour, money, and religion. Another question that springs to mind is this: how does Marx propose to transcend alienation?
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…
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.
To many economists, not to mention all central bankers, inflation is considered to be public enemy number one. This paper seeks to understand why inflation should be so despised. To escape from simultaneous restrictions a temporal single system (TSS) approach is employed. Firstly a simple illustration of the TSS approach is considered. In order to focus on distributional issues a positive wage and a class of rentiers are built in. Rentiers hold money stocks, past accumulated value in money terms. Rentiers are assumed to lend to productive capitalists, i.e. we have finance capital. Once we build in money stocks we find that appropriate price increases can potentially hide the effect of falling exploitation of labour, transferring the cost of reduced exploitation from productive capitalists to rentiers. Finally, conclusions are drawn.