L’agost del 2013 es complí el sisè aniversari de l’inici de la crisi actual. El 3 d’agost de 2007, llegíem a la premsa econòmica que els hedge funds de Bear Stearns es declaraven en fallida: «Com si fos una epidèmia, la crisi en el sector de les hipoteques d’alt risc —subprime— ja s’ha cobrat les primeres víctimes oficials dins del banc d’inversions Bear Stearns. Dimecres passat, l’entitat presentava els informes necessaris perquè dos dels seus hedge funds —fons d’inversió lliure— s’acollissin al capítol 15 de la bancarrota estatunidenca. […] Ambdós fons han hagut d’acollir-se al títol 15 de la Llei de Bancarrotes perquè van ser fundats fora dels límits dels Estats Units, a les illes Caiman, per ser exactes.»
Això va ser tan sols el començament. De l’agost de 2007 al setembre de 2008, les fallides dins del sector financer a causa de la crisi de les hipoteques escombraria als EUA van ser una constant. El mateix banc Bear Stearns feia fallida el març de 2008. El 15 de setembre de 2008 s’ensorrà el banc d’inversions Lehman Brothers, un d’aquells que hauria entrat en la posterior definició de «massa gran per deixar-lo caure». L’únic supervivent del crac del 29 desapareixia.
Teoria do Valor Trabalho e Crise
Prof. Dr. Ricardo Antunes
Palestra proferida na UnB dia 19 de outubro de 2012, no período da tarde, na mesa redonda: Teoria do Valor Trabalho e Crise durante o I Encontro Internacional Teoria do Valor Trabalho e Ciências Sociais. Realização: Grupo de Estudos e Pesquisa sobre o Trabalho, Departamento de Sociologia/UnB.
Panel on ‘The Crisis, Five Years On‘ at Left Forum, New York June 2013. Organised by North Star. Three presenters: Doug Henwood, Radhika Desai, and Leo Panich, followed by discussion and responses from the presenters.
“The Unmaking of Marx’s Capital. Heinrich’s Attempt to Eliminate Marx’s Crisis Theory”: Andrew Kliman, Alan Freeman , Nick Potts, Alexey Gusev and Brendan Cooney
Michael Heinrich’s recent Monthly Review article claims that the law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit (LTFRP) was not proved by Marx and cannot be proved. Heinrich also argues that Marx had doubts about the law and that, for this and other other reasons, his theory of capitalist economic crisis was only provisional and more or less in continual flux.
This response shows that Heinrich’s elementary misunderstanding of the law––his belief that it is
meant to predict what must inevitably happen rather than to explain what does happen––is the
source of his charge that it is unproved. It then shows that a simple misreading of Marx’s text
lies at the basis of Heinrich’s claim that the simplest version of the LTFRP, “the law as such,” is
a failure. Marx’s argument that increases in the rate of surplus-value cannot “cancel” the fall in
the rate of profit is then defended against Heinrich’s attempt to refute it. Finally, the paper
presents evidence that Marx was indeed convinced that the LTFRP is correct and that he
regarded the crisis theory of volume 3 of Capital as finished in a theoretical sense.
This paper is about the history of crisis theories. Broadly speaking, the term “crisis” as used here refers to a generalized set of failures in the economic and political relations of capitalist reproduction. In particular, the crises we seek to examine are those towards which the system is internally driven, by its own principles of operation. As we shall see, it is in the nature of capitalist production to be constantly exposed to a variety of internally and externally generated disturbances and dislocations. But only at certain times do these “shocks” set off general crises. When the system is healthy, it rapidly revives from all sorts of setbacks; when it is unhealthy, practically anything can trigger its collapse. What we seek to examine is different explanations of how and whyy the system periodically becomes unhealthy.
I Reproduction and Crisis
Consider how peculiar capitalist society is. It is a complex, interdependent social network, whose reproduction requires a precise pattern of complementarity among differen productive activities: and yet these activities are undertaken by hundreds of thousands of individual capitalists who are only concerned with their private greed for profit. Is is a class structure, in which the continued existence of the capitalist class requires the continued existence of the working class: and yet no blood lines, no tradition, no religious principle announces who is to rule and who is to be ruled. Is is a cooperative human comunity, and yet it ceaselessly pits each against the other: capitalist against worker, but also capitalist against capitalist and worker against worker.
Michael Heinrich is an exponent of what is known as the ‘New German Reading of Marx’, which interprets the theory of value that Marx presents in Capital as a socially specific theory of ‘impersonal social domination’. He is a collaborator on the MEGA edition of Marx and Engel’s complete works and has published several philological studies of Capital. He has also authored a work on Marx’s theory of value, The Science of Value, which is forthcoming in the Historical Materialism book series. And recently he has published An Introduction to all Three Volumes of Capital as his first full-length work to appear in English.
I am not going to do a critique of Heinrich’s views on the theory of value, as this has been done by Guglielmo Carchedi in his book, Behind the Crisis (see chapter 2). But I am moved to respond to a recent article of Heinrich’s in the American Monthly Review, entitled Crisis theory, the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall and Marx’s studies in the 1870s (monthlyreview.org).
In this article, Heinrich makes the following points: 1) Marx’s law is inconsistent because its categories are indeterminate; 2) it is empirically unproven and even unjustifiable on any measure of verification; 3) Engels badly edited Marx’s works to distort his view on the law in Capital Vol 3; 4) Marx himself in his later works of the 1870s began to have doubts about the law as the cause of crises and started to abandon it in favour of some theory that took into account credit, interest rates and the problem of realisation (similar to Keynesian theory); 5) Marx died before he could present these revisions of his crisis theory, so there is no coherent Marxist theory of crisis.
“Crisis capitalista, política económica y tendencias de reconfiguración del orden mundial”: Claudio Katz
Crisis capitalista, política económica y tendencias de reconfiguración del orden mundial.
Segunda sesión temática Economía mundial, economías nacionales y crisis capitalista.
Conferencia Latinoamericana y Caribeña de Ciencias Sociales.
Miércoles 7 de noviembre de 2012 en el Aula magna de la Casa de la Primera Imprenta de América.
Keynote Lecture by Professor Costas Lapavitsas.
Dictatorship of Failure: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the European Political and Economic Crisis. Symposium organised at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, 15 November 2012.
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
En los últimos meses hemos visto un creciente debate entre los marxistas en torno a la tasa de ganancia de EE UU y su relación con la presente crisis. Resulta paradójico, ya que en su mayor parte los marxistas rechazan el propio relato de Marx sobre la relación entre la acumulación y la tasa de rentabilidad; de hecho, recientemente, Michael Heinrich ha argumentado que Marx no tenía ninguna teoría de la crisis y que no hay ninguna base para suponer que la acumulación capitalista conduzca a una caída de la tasa de ganancia. Sin embargo, existe un amplio acuerdo con Duménil y Lévy que después del descenso prolongado de posguerra, la tasa de beneficio en EEUU comenzó a aumentar en la década de 1980, recuperándose al final de los años 1990 y marcando el comienzo de una nueva fase de expansión en EEUU.
Andrew Kliman, en Una crisis de la producción capitalista/1, ha provocado una controversia considerable con la afirmación contraria, basada en un razonamiento coherente y con una amplia evidencia empírica, según la cual la tasa de ganancia en EEUU ha continuado su tendencia a la baja.
“From the Oil Crisis to the Great Recession: Five crises of the world economy”: J. A. Tapia Granados
ABSTRACT — This article makes the case that the global economy has gone through five crises since the 1970s to the present. This implies not only that the world economy is a real entity, but also that the usual view that poses national economies as units of economic analysis is an approach with major limitations. The paper discusses the concept of “economic crisis” and provides data indicating that the world economy, not national economies, is the major unit to be analysed when trying to understand the economic reality of our time, and particularly the reality of crises. These crises are discrete, countable phenomena, distinctive states of an entity that can be properly called world economy, or world capitalism. Data on capital formation, on growth of the world output, of monetary aggregates, of unemployment rates and on industrial activity indicate five major “dips” of the global economy, i.e., world recessions, in (i) the mid 1970s, (ii) the early 1980s, (iii) the early 1990s, (iv) the early 2000s, and (v) the Great Recession that provisionally can be dated 2007-2009. To a large extent business cycle chronologies of national economies such as those produced by the NBER, the OECD, or other institutions are largely consistent with these five crises of the world economy which, obviously, had different manifestations in different nations and economic regions.
“Crisis Theory, the Law of the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall, and Marx’s Studies in the 1870s”: Michael Heinrich
The development of crisis theory within the Marxian tradition has been central to much of our work in the last several years. The view that the various fragmentary references to crisis theory in the three volumes of Capital constitute a fully developed coherent structure, which only requires diligent exegesis, is a view that has never seemed sensible to us.
Recent research into the evolution of Marx’s manuscripts in connection with the production of the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA), the historical-critical edition of the complete writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, has confirmed our understanding in a very exciting way. It is now clear that Marx never ceased to develop his thinking on the phenomena of crises in capitalism, and never ceased to discard earlier formulations; for example, at the end of his life he was focused on questions of credit and crisis. Monthly Review rarely presents its readers with discussions of economic theory at a relatively high degree of abstraction; this, however, is such an occasion. We trust that the author’s exemplary clarity will permit ready access to readers with any degree of interest in Marx’s theory; for those who wish to become familiar with the conceptual outline of Marx’s work, we cannot do better than to recommend the author’s An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital (Monthly Review Press, 2012). —The Editors