It’s a long-term decline in the rate of profit – and I am not joking!

In the neoliberal period, we have a new exploitation of the poor through deregulation of mortgages, the expansion of derivatives, leading to the super bonuses of the top executives. In Dumenil’s view, the neoliberal crisis comes about when this crazy venture can no longer be sustained. So the neoliberal crisis and that of the Great Depression in the 1930s were really ones of greed and class exploitation and had nothing to with falling profitability, which was rising not falling.

What worries me about this analysis is several. First, why did the crazy drive for money start just after the ‘classical crisis’ of falling profitability in the 1970s? Was not this neoliberal period a reaction by capitalism in trying to reverse falling profitability through the classic counteracting factors that Marx had outlined in the law: rising rate of exploitation, cheapening of constant capital through new technology, or by just slowing new investment and above all by a switch to investing in fictitious capital rather than in the productive sectors, as Carchedi had shown the day before?

Second, I have considered these arguments of Dumenil before (see my post of over four years ago
and I have also looked at the rate of profit using Dumenil’s own data for the Great Depression and it looks like a ‘classic’ profitability crisis to me – profitability had peaked in 1924 in the US, well before the 1929 crash (see my post). As for the neoliberal period, I have argued that profitability rose from the 1980s too, but it stopped rising in all the major economies in the late 1990s (see my paper) and entered a downphase that laid the basis for the Great Recession later, as in the Great Depression. And Dumenil’s own figures confirm that for the US too. – MR

I am just asking why do you think, in accordance to marxist analysis, the general law of the tendancy to the rate the profit falling, had been apparentlly hiden by the rise up of profits between 50’s until 90’s and falled down right after the fall of Berlin Wall ?

Michael Roberts Blog

I have been attending a two-day workshop on the current state of capitalism from a Marxist view point. This was organised by Alex Callinicos at King’s College, London University who managed to collect a number of Marxist scholars from the UK and Europe to come and present some papers to be followed by discussion and debate among participants.

The first day started with a discussion on whether Marx himself had a theory of crises under capitalism and, if so, what was it? Readers of my blog will know that this is a controversial issue and scholars like Michael Heinrich consider that Marx never really developed a clear theory of crises and also that Marx’s law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall had nothing to do with crisis theory (see my posts,

Professor Michael Kratke kicked off this discussion with a paper entitled…

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