There have been many commentaries on Marx's economics, but those by Nikolai Sieber (1844–1888) are unique in that the most important of them were read and endorsed by Marx…
There have been many commentaries on Marx's economics, but those by Nikolai Sieber (1844–1888) are unique in that the most important of them were read and endorsed by Marx himself. Had Sieber lived longer and had his works been translated from Russian, he would have been widely recognized as one of the most authoritative interpreters of Marx. The article that appears in translation below was published in the journal Znanie (Knowledge) in 1874. It is an example of the profound understanding that Sieber showed of Marx's work.
From the moment that capital is no longer satisfied to remain commercial or interest-bearing capital, but begins a production process to exploit labor power, i.e., from…
From the moment that capital is no longer satisfied to remain commercial or interest-bearing capital, but begins a production process to exploit labor power, i.e., from the moment capital functions as a relation of production and as a relation of classes, immobilization of a part of the means of production (means of work and objects of work) as use-values becomes necessary, even though they by themselves produce no surplus value. Marx aptly refers to the capital thus immobilized as “constant capital.”
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).
There are two influential interpretative positions in the current debate on the crisis among Marxists. The first understands financialization as a consequence of the…
There are two influential interpretative positions in the current debate on the crisis among Marxists. The first understands financialization as a consequence of the tendential fall of the rate of profit. The other interpretation, prevalent among those influenced by Keynesianism and Neoricardianism, refers to the tendency toward the crisis of realisation, because of the squeeze on the wage bill and the insufficiency of consumer demand. In both cases, the current crisis is the crisis of a feeble capitalism, permanently stagnationist. A Marxian interpretation of the crisis cannot be separated from the tendential fall of the rate of profit. This latter, however, cannot be accepted as it is presented by Marx, and it must be rethought as a meta-theory of the crisis, including within it the different crisis theories that can be derived from Capital. This article first provides a personal survey of Marx's crisis theories, often presented as opposed to each other. Second, it seeks to integrate the different positions into a unitary discourse, within a nonmechanical reading of the fall of the rate of profit. This discourse then mutates into an historical sketch of the long dynamic of capital: from the Great Depression of the end of the nineteenth century, to the Great Crash of the 1930s, to the Social Crisis in the immediate processes of valorisation of the 1960s–1970s (the Great Inflation). Finally, the “new” capitalism (the Great Moderation) and its recent crisis (the Great Recession) are read – integrating Marx and Minsky – as the conjunction between the real subsumption of labour to finance and the fragmentation of labour.
What is the historical, normative and institutional setting that helps leading Latin American and Eurasian countries to implement a post-hegemonic agenda and contribute to…
What is the historical, normative and institutional setting that helps leading Latin American and Eurasian countries to implement a post-hegemonic agenda and contribute to the multipolarization of global politics? Post-hegemony describes a situation in which the unipolar organization of the world political economy is challenged by a plurality of alternative projects, without however being entirely replaced by another system. Emblematic of post-hegemonic initiatives is the rise of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa countries who have taken the lead in creating alternative institutions that constrain US global hegemony, while however failing to spearhead a coherent, uniform and confrontational opposition movement. Regarding post-hegemonic regionalism, Latin American regionalism – as represented by Bolivarian Alliance for Our America (ALBA) – is characterized by a social justice-driven agenda that refutes US neoliberal hegemony, whereas the peculiarity of Eurasian regionalism – as represented by Shanghai Cooperation Organization – lies in its security-oriented focus that confronts US interventionism and international terrorism. An underlying commonality of both Latin American and Eurasian experiences is that they constitute a multi-front struggle centered on four main areas: culture, economy, financial cooperation, and regional defense. They both hinge on a strong normative framework and firm commitment in the regionalization of an endogenous culture, educational cooperation, and defense system. They all accord primary importance to social, financial, and infrastructural development. Overall, these experiences suffer from unresolved tensions between national sovereignty and supranationalism alongside the predominance of charismatic leaders inhibiting institutionalization. The limitations and contradictions of post-hegemonic transformations also include Latin America’s inability to resolve the question of extractivism, Eurasia’s neglect of the question of democratic participation, and both regionalism’s failure to offer a coherent alternative model of economic development to US hegemonism.
The aim of this paper is to analyse the recent changes in the role played by Africa as a traditional natural resources supplier for the world economy in a multipolar…
The aim of this paper is to analyse the recent changes in the role played by Africa as a traditional natural resources supplier for the world economy in a multipolar context. We highlight, on the one hand, how Africa remains a prominent supplier of critical minerals needed for information and communication technologies (ICT), including platinum, vanadium, coltan, chromium, manganese, zirconium, etc., and how the boomerang effect results in Africa also importing electronic waste. On the other hand, we show how the BRICS’ growth model, based on a very intensive use of natural resources acquired through international trade, is now being fuelled by Africa too. BRICS countries (especially China and India) are making foreign direct investments in Africa using their state companies to ensure the supply of natural resources under favourable economic terms. Thus, Africa appears as a disputed territory between the old domination of the advanced capitalist countries and emerging powers like the BRICS. However, this should not mask the fact that the European Union and North America are still the dominant foreign powers in the continent. Finally, we discuss which scenarios are open to further this multipolar moment, particularly in the wake of the great crisis.
To properly assess the relative places of China and the United States in the world system, the fact of the transformation of old, and the emergence of new, centers of…
To properly assess the relative places of China and the United States in the world system, the fact of the transformation of old, and the emergence of new, centers of capital accumulation needs to be established, and some attempt made to develop means of measuring these developments. This paper, working within the framework of Uneven and Combined Development, will suggest a new metric by which we can assess the geography of capital accumulation in the world economy, a metric with three components. The first component examines national income, both per capita and as shares of the world total. The second component refines the latter to an examination of share of world manufacturing, with a specific examination of distribution of the key sector of high-technology manufacturing. The third and final component examines the distribution of large corporations through the world economy, and introduces a new term – the relative weight of large corporations. All components of this metric suggest that key aspects of the modern economy remain “territorially bound” and clearly reveal the steady, long-term decline of the United States as the dominant center of capital accumulation, and the simultaneous emergence of new centers of capital accumulation in an increasingly multi-polar world economy.
This paper attempts to critically question present IPE approaches and analyses that aim at assessing China’s role within the international political economy. Thus, unlike…
This paper attempts to critically question present IPE approaches and analyses that aim at assessing China’s role within the international political economy. Thus, unlike common theorizations that see the country as being integrated within US hegemony (Panitch and Gindin) or those accounts that claim that we are already witnessing the “terminal crisis” of US hegemony accompanied by a hegemonic transition toward China (Arrighi), the paper will argue that China was able to gain “relative geopolitical autonomy” as a result of the revolutionary processes it went through and eventually assert itself as a contender state, now just in the process of challenging US hegemony. Dissatisfied with existent theorizations of hegemony, I will be drawing on the critical edition of Gramsci’s Quaderni and attempt to offer a new perspective regarding the conceptualization thereof. Thus applying the elaborated framework of analysis to the current situation, I argue that unlike the US’s ability to counter the challenge of its traditional imperial rivals Germany and Japan as they developed under the grip of US hegemony, the country is facing difficulties in countering China’s ascent. However, while maintaining that China does indeed represent a challenge to US hegemony, particularly in East Asia, I will argue that the idea of a “crisis of US hegemony” is premature as China remains distant from fully realizing hegemonic relations, even at the regional level.
In an effort to explain the growth stagnation that hampered the United States in the period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, mainstream economists unwittingly and…
In an effort to explain the growth stagnation that hampered the United States in the period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, mainstream economists unwittingly and incompletely reinvented the concept of unproductive labor that is rooted in classical and Marxian economics. The price to pay for having ignored this concept had been unexplained economic events, inappropriate policy, and relative national economic decline. The mainstream economists' attempt to adopt this concept came at a cost to their theoretical core. The abandonment of the concept came at a cost to the real economy represented by the financial crisis of 2008.