Re Paul B's [7l50]: > With regard to your view of Lenin, a expressed below, I quote from his 'Essay on Karl marx' CW Vol21 p67 "..A rise in the productivity of labour implies a more rapid growth of constant capital as compared with variable capital. Inasmuch as surplus value is a function of variable capital alone, it is obvious that the rate of profit (the ratio of surplus value to the whole capital, not its variable part alone) tends to fall.' Now in Lenin the rise in the organic composition of capital is central to many of his polemics, so this Point IV of yours below about 'underconsumption' etc really doesn't stand up. < Hi Paul. Well, the point wasn't that Lenin was unaware of the LTGRPD. The point was that he (like others during the same time period, including Kautsky, Hilferding, Bauer, Luxemburg, Bukharin, Preobrazhensky, et al) didn't "make much of it" and, by inference, that it wasn't _essential_ to Lenin's perspective and life's work [i.e. his revolutionary praxis.] Let us recall that David Y suggested that the LTGRPD was (most probably) the "law of motion" that Engels was referring to at Marx's grave. This interpretation seems to me to rest on the perspective that the LTGRPD is _the_ cause of capitalist crisis. Lenin never -- did he? -- suggested that. Instead, he -- like other theoreticians of the period (most notably, Kautsky) tended to advance multi-causal theories of crisis in which if the LTGRPD was identified as a cause of crisis it was just one of many "contradictions of capitalism" and causes of crisis. > There always seems to me to be a peculiar view about 'underconsumption' .... if there is a shortage of profits in relation to capital so far accumulated, then the motive for accumulation is blunted.This is in fact a lack of capitalistic employment of resources and so 'underconsumption' in relation to the existing mass of commodities including labour power awaiting sale. It is rather the explanation, and the content of 'underconsumptionism' that Engels and Marx were able to provide, an entirely different perspective which gives the word a new/ utterly different sense than the dreary lack of demand merchants. So when in his letters Engels refers to lack of demand he means something fundamentally different to our millionaire Keynes. < I agree that underconsumptionism is a much-abused word. Indeed, I have read many exchanges (and especially heard some verbal exchanges) where if someone said "demand" or "markets", then they were accused (often with great flourish) of being underconsumptionists. And I certainly agree that what has been taken by some to be underconsumptionist in Lenin (or Kautsky, etc.) is not Keynesian. Yet, it does seem to me that there is a mix of underconsumption (and disproportionality) perspectives in much of Lenin's writings on crisis (certainly more so than in David Y's writings, for instance.) Indeed, I think that one can find _far more_ references in Lenin to underconsumption and disproportionality as causal mechanisms for crisis than the LTGRPD. This, of course, is a separate question from the _larger_ questions: a) is it best to conceive of capitalist crisis being caused by a number of inter-related forces (a multi-causal theory) or should the LTGRPD be seen as the "primary" cause of crisis? b) regardless of what one's answer to a) is, how does one articulate the relationship between these (and other, e.g. labor power shortage) explanations of capitalist crisis? c) does the weight of empirical, especially historical, evidence seem to support one explanation against others? d) a side question (that has been emphasized by Makoto): if one has the perspective that the LTGRPD is the cause of crisis, how does one explain the _periodicity_ of crisis from that perspective? In solidarity, Jerry IV. A follow-up question: as you are aware, Lenin (and the rest of the Bolshevik theoreticians) didn't make much of the LTGRPD. Indeed, in general, Lenin -- along with other Bolsheviks -- advanced disproportionality and/or underconsumptionist theories of crisis (see Richard B. Day's _The 'Crisis' and the 'Crash'_.) Yet, he -- along with others -- made a revolution anyway. Wouldn't this seem to suggest that a grasp of the LTGRPD is *not essential* from the standpoint of Lenin's and Marx's "real mission in life" ?
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