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This chapter argues that the Marxian theory of exploitation underlies the concepts of surplus and deficit industries that appear in Sraffa’s (1960) Production of…
This chapter argues that the Marxian theory of exploitation underlies the concepts of surplus and deficit industries that appear in Sraffa’s (1960) Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. This is seen from archival research of the unpublished papers of Piero Sraffa housed at the Wren Library, Trinity College, University of Cambridge. There it is shown that the origin of these concepts lies in the Marxian theory of exploitation that Sraffa developed regarding the notion of the ‘pool of profits’ the Italian economist utilized over a 14-year period from 1942 to 1956. The chapter engages in an extensive textual study of the archival evidence and then presents a simple analytical model of these relations.
This paper is a translation of the third and most important chapter of Keizaigaku shi (History of Political Economy) by the Japanese Marxist economist Samezō Kuruma (1893–1982), first published in 1948. Kuruma discusses in detail the achievements and limitations of the Classical school of political economy. He examines the fundamental ideas of Adam Smith and David Ricardo regarding the determination of commodity value and the source of surplus-value, and then looks at how these ideas are connected to production price and profit. Kuruma notes that Smith and Ricardo managed to arrive at the essential labor theory of value, but that neither could correctly apply this theory to adequately explain phenomena in the realm of competition – either abandoning the labor theory of value altogether to embrace a composition theory of value (Smith) or directly applying the theory to explain phenomena without grasping the intermediary processes of development (Ricardo). Kuruma's critique of Smith and Ricardo highlights the achievement of Marx in overcoming the limitations that ultimately led to the breakdown of the Classical school of political economy.
This article tries to introduce product innovation into Marxist theory of capital accumulation. Although in Grundrisse Marx has already foreseen the importance of product…
This article tries to introduce product innovation into Marxist theory of capital accumulation. Although in Grundrisse Marx has already foreseen the importance of product innovation in overcoming the limits to capital originated from the production of relative surplus value, mainstream Marxist theories of capital accumulation have up till now made few endeavours to envisage this problem. It is argued in this chapter that to introduce product innovation into Marxist theory of accumulation depends on a reconstruction of the fundamental contradictions in capital accumulation, that is the contradiction between production of surplus value and realisation of surplus value, combined with the contradiction between exchange value and use value as the driving force in its development. The production of relative surplus value based on process innovation and consequent productivity enhancement, given any specific use value, will lead to overproduction, that is the intensification of those fundamental contradictions in accumulation, which nevertheless could be mitigated by introducing product innovation. In evaluating critically the contribution by Mandel in his long waves theory, we further argue, following the lead of neo-Schumpeterians, that there is a possibility for radical product innovations to be at least semi-endogenously induced in capital accumulation, and thus paving the way for a long boom of capitalism.
This paper builds homogenous series of the rate of surplus value (RSV) for the Chinese economy over the extended period 1956–2014 with a Marxian approach. It finds that…
This paper builds homogenous series of the rate of surplus value (RSV) for the Chinese economy over the extended period 1956–2014 with a Marxian approach. It finds that the high profitability that stimulated capital accumulation in the decade before the 2008 crisis had relied on the continuous growth in the RSV. Given that the global crisis and changes in the domestic economy undermine all the conditions maintaining the accumulation model (an expanding external market, a relatively large reserve army of labor, and a low debt-income ratio), the RSV has failed to increase and profitability declined since 2008. Thus, this paper interprets the so-called new normal of the Chinese economy as a stage of declining profitability that results mainly from the stagnant RSV and the rising value composition of capital.
In Volume I of Capital, Marx offers actual data from a Manchester spinning factory describing that business. In Volume II, he offers schemes of reproduction to help…
In Volume I of Capital, Marx offers actual data from a Manchester spinning factory describing that business. In Volume II, he offers schemes of reproduction to help understand accumulation of capital while mentioning numbers that actually suggest correlation to the spinning factory data. Nevertheless, Marx seems to slide over the costs of new machinery when analyzing accumulation, instead focusing on wear and tear (depreciation). In this chapter, we offer a modeling of accumulation that takes account of modern estimates of the composition of capital, that is, the relation of labor time invested in constant capital compared to the labor time employed with that constant capital, relying principally upon U.S. and Canadian estimates.
We find empirically that the composition of capital fluctuates but does not show much trend. We also consider levels of the rate of exploitation and of utilization of surplus value required for achieving actual historical levels of accumulation of capital, and include consideration of the turnover of capital. We find that only a small portion of surplus value, perhaps 10%, is required for actually achieved accumulation. This suggests that a focus on the utilization of surplus value for the accumulation of capital misses vast other terrains for the utilization of surplus value.
Our result is suggestive of an overemphasis within Marxist political economy on accumulation of capital.
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.
Studies concerning Soviet taxation demonstrate a diversity of opinions on the nature of turnover taxes. Four major views on the subject have emerged: (1) turnover taxes are simply a sales (excise) tax on articles' of consumption sold to the Soviet consumer; (2) not all turnover taxes are a sales tax, some of them are a substitute for rent on production of certain industrial materials; (3) in addition to being a sales (excise) tax on consumer goods and rent on some industrial materials, there exists a third type of turnover tax which is levied on agricultural production of the peasantry; (4) turnover taxes are a portion of the surplus product produced in industry and agriculture.
Henryk Grossman was the first person to systematically explore Marx’s explanation of capitalist crises in terms of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and to place…
Henryk Grossman was the first person to systematically explore Marx’s explanation of capitalist crises in terms of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall and to place it in the context of the distinction between use and exchange value. His “The Law of Accumulation and Breakdown of the Capitalist System” remains an important reference point in the Marxist literature on economic crises. That literature has been plagued by distortions of Grossman’s position which derive from early hostile reviews of his book. These accused Grossman of a mechanical approach to the end of capitalism and of neglecting factors which boost profit rates. Grossman, in fact, contributed a complementary economic element to the recovery of Marxism undertaken by Lenin (particularly in the area of Marxist politics) and Lukács (in philosophy). In both published and unpublished work, Grossman also dealt with and even anticipated criticisms of his methodology and treatment of countertendencies to the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Far from being mechanical, his economic analysis can still assist the struggle for working class self-emancipation.