[OPE-L:6085] empirical studies on causes of current world economic crisis?

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue Oct 23 2001 - 08:45:59 EDT

What does the empirical evidence tell us about the cause or causes of
the current world economic crisis?

What are current estimates of changes in the *international* capitalist
economy re:

a) rates of profit (however defined);
b) c/v;
c) s/v;
d) the ratio of productive to unproductive labor;
e) the turnover time of constant fixed capital?

Furthermore, what role have changes in the following variables had re both 
the causes of and possible ways of overcoming this crisis:

a) intensity of labor;
b) wages in relation to the value of labor-power;
c) costs of the elements of constant capital;
d) the size of the industrial reserve army;
e) foreign trade;
f) the 'increase in share capital'?

Are there any reliable estimates of how the 'auto-valorization' of the working
class has impacted the crisis?  E.g. how have changing levels of strike activity
and workers' militancy impacted the crisis? (and how would that be measured
empirically?)  How have changing levels of state expenditure, taxation, and
borrowing affected the crisis? How have changes in the average price level 
affected the crisis? Have changing trade policies and patterns had any
measurable affect on the crisis?  What about changes in aggregate demand?
The 'underconsumption of the working masses'?  Is there evidence of a
'disproportionality crisis'?  For the above, how are we to empirically
separate causes from effects; primary causes from secondary ones; 
significant from  insignificant; causes of the crisis vs. attempts to overcome 
the crisis?

How can the current crisis be explained by or reconciled with 'long wave'

Is there any means through which the current crisis could have been averted
or delayed by state policy or is it an 'unavoidable' consequence of capitalist 

Perhaps these seem like very abstract questions, but they are questions which
bear on an issue of great concern to the international working class: what
are the causes of the current economic crisis and what statistical evidence is
there to support your interpretation?  If you were asked to give an address to
a meeting of trade unionists, how would you answer that question?

(...and if you don't have answers to the above questions and have other 
unrelated questions and issues that you wish to raise, go for it! Let's
get back to the discussion.)

In solidarity, Jerry

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