Monday, 18 October 2010

Marxist Economic Theory Index

1. The Tendency Of The Rate Of Profit To Rise, argues from the countervailing factors set out by Marx in Capital, that current aspects of modern Capitalism create a Tendency For the Rate of profit to rise.

2. Labour Power v Horse Power, basing itself on a materialist view that humans are animals too, asks why human labour power should create new value whereas animal labour does not. It concludes, in line with Marx's statements in the Grundrisse, that slave labour is no different than animal labour, that it is only a specific type of human labour – wage labour – that creates new new Exchange Value.

3. Why Labour Power Creates New Exchange Value continues the above discussion.

4. Capital Consumes Itself, concludes these three related posts. It argues that Surplus Value cannot be produced in Department One – the Producer Goods Sector – and that there will be a tendency for Capital to also increase unproductive expenditure.

5. Kondratieff's Long Waves, is a detailed analysis of Long Wave Theory.

6. A Reply To Academics, deals with some criticisms of the above arguments from Paul Cockshott and others.

7. A Reply To Dr, Paul Cockshott, is a further reply responding to a further argument put forward by Paul Cockshott.

8. Mandel's Mistakes In Marxist Economic Theory, takes up some disagreements with Mandel in relation to basic categories, and processes.

9. Prices, profits And Capital, takes up some further disagreements with Mandel, particularly in relation to the Transformation Problem, and the Average Rate of Profit.

10. Water And Diamonds, defends the Labour Theory of Value against a traditional argument used by Neo-Classical Economics.

11. Food, Population And Development, challenges some of the arguments of Environmentalism about the ability of the planet to sustain a larger population.

12. Understanding The Conjuncture, sets contemporary events within the context of the Long Wave Theory.

13. The EEC, is a copy of a 1983 document written for the WSL Internal Bulletin.

14. Imperialism, Industrialisation, Trade And Sub-Imperialism, is another 1983 document for the WSL IB, dealing with the listed topics. Along with the above document, and the following document it predicted fairly accurately the development of globalisation over the next 30 years.

15. Imperialism And The New International Division Of Labour

16. Imperialism And War, concludes this series of 1983 documents.

17. Reclaiming Economics Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, challenges orthodox economics by looking at the arguments presented in a standard University Textbook.

18. Historical Proofs And Origins Of Value Theory

19. Why Spare capacity Will Not Constrain Inflation, argues that the massive injection of liquidity will monetise the rising costs of imports resulting in inflation whether or not economic activity is constrained.

20. Wages, prices And Profits Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, argues that workers rising living standards are not a product of class struggle, but a function of the accumulation of Capital.

21. A Tale Of Contradictions Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, examines the social relation and its contradictions that is Imperialism.

22. Value Theory, The Transformation Problem And Domestic Labour Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, defends the Marxist Theory, and examines the question of Productive and Unproductive Labour in relation to the State and Domestic Labour.

23. In The Time Of Nick (Rogers) looks at the argument put forward by the CPGB's Nick Rogers in support of the TSSI, and the view based on it, of a crisis of Capitalist production.

24. Marx and Engels Theories Of Crisis examines what Marx and Engels actually had to say about the potentiality and causes of capitalist crises, and how that relates to today.

25. The Law of The Tendency For The Rate of Profit To Fall is a multi-part analysis of Marx's analysis of a phenomenon that had concerned previous economists like Ricardo, who saw it as spelling disaster for Capitalism.  Marx shows why their fears in that regard were unfounded.  There are no permanent crises for capitalism, Marx demonstrates, falling profits are only a tendency not a one way street, even when the rate of profit falls, the mass of profit must rise, and the rate of profit used by the bourgeois economists is a fraud.  He shows that the real rate of profit is the annual rate of profit, which takes into consideration changes in the rate of turnover of capital.  The same process of the rise in social productivity that leads to the tendency for falling profits, increases the rate of turnover, which raises the annual rate of profit, and releases capital to be used for additional accumulation.

26. Maito And The Rate Of Turnover Of Capital is a reply to an article by Estoban Maito in the Weekly Worker, where he sets out his analysis of the current rate of turnover of capital, as being only 12 in a range of developed economies, and so concludes that the annual rate of profit has continued to fall over the long term.   It argues that Maito's method is flawed, that official data does not enable a calculation from above either of the rate of turnover, or the rate of profit, and that Maito's conclusion that the rate of turnover in Britain in 1855 was only 1.3 is clearly wrong, as in Capital III, Chapter 4, Engels from his own practical experience as a capitalist had provided the data to show that the rate of turnover in 1871 was 8.5.  The fundamental logical contradiction in Maito's argument is that he wants to argue that capital has raised the organic composition of capital as a result of ever increasing expenditure on fixed capital (Marx said the rise was due to the increasing quantity of circulating constant capital processed), but doesn't want to accept the implied rise in productivity this fixed capital necessarily implies, and its concomitant effect on the rate of turnover and profit.  Marx makes clear that capitals only introduce new fixed capital (machines) if their cost is less than the paid labour they replace (he also makes clear that this does not mean actually physically replacing existing workers but only enabling output to grow rapidly without the employment of all the additional workers previous levels of productivity would have implied).  As productivity rises, and the value of labour-power falls, as a result (paid labour) this means that any new fixed capital introduced must be increasingly more productive, and increasingly cheap, or else it would not comply with this requirement of Marx.

27. The Rate of Turnover, Profit and Prices of Production examines the way Marx describes how the average rate of profit is calculated as an annual rate of profit, against the capital advanced for one turnover period, to give a figure for an amount of profit to be added to the cost of production in each sphere, which then gives the price of production for that sphere.  It demonstrates how this results in widely differing profit margins for the commodities produced in these different spheres, even as the general rate of profit is equalised.  This is important, because it is on the concept of the rate of profit as profit margin, i.e. profit as a proportion of the laid out capital, which Marx uses in describing the Law of The Tendency For The Rate of Profit To Fall.  It is also important, because it is squeezed profit margins, which present a greater potential for overproduction to occur, as any sudden rise in cost prices, or falls in selling prices, more easily result in the profit margin being wiped out.

28. The Transformation Problem and The Elasticity of Demand analyses the role of the elasticity of demand in determining the degree to which capital must move into and out of different spheres of production so as to effect the necessary changes in prices to modify prices of production, and establish an average rate of profit.

29. Profit, Rent, Interest and Asset Prices - Part 1 examines the objective determination of value and surplus value by Marx, and the basis in it, of Marx's analysis of revenues, and the derivation of asset prices.

30. Current Reproduction Cost v Historic Cost - sets out the case for calculating the rate of profit as Marx does on the basis of the current reproduction cost of the commodities that comprise capital, as opposed to the use of historic money prices.

31. Interpreting The US Rate of Profit analyses the argument by Michael Roberts that the US Rate of profit has been falling in accordance with Marx's Law of the Tendency for The Rate of Profit to Fall.  It argues that the calculation does not measure the rate of profit on any of the bases set out by Marx, fails to distinguish between different causes of a fall in the rate of profit, in different economic conditions and stages of the economic cycle, and that the underlying theory concerning Marx's Law and the relation to crises, is fundamentally wrong.