Re: zero average profit

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Tue Jun 10 2003 - 10:32:13 EDT

Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
Yes this is why I referred to Eisner's work which attempted to

> explain why large nominal deficits did not prove more stimulative in
> the 70s. So I think that I anticipated the point that you make here.
> Eisner argued that the inflation-adjusted, full employment deficit
> was not as high as people thought in the 70s. But as I already
> pointed out (drawing from Daniel Shaviro's book which was
> surprisingly glowingly reviewed by Eisner),  Eisner's rescue
> operation raises the problem of why the 80s which had higher deficits
> than the two preceding decades even on an inflation-adjusted, high
> employment basis should have featured higher unemployment and slower
> growth than the 1960s.
> I also asked what we are to make of Japan's Keynesian experiment.

I dont know enough details about the organic composition of capital
and rate of surplus value in Japan to make any definite statements
of fact, however, my guess, based on the countries that I did
detailed studies on in the 70s would be that once the rate of
profit falls sufficiently, even a very low interest rate is
insufficient to stimulate investment.

This situation poses the need to go beyond the private capitalist
method of regulating social investment and unless the
workers movement is able to advance a credible public
alternative to the capitalist investment process one gets
economic and political stagnation.

My view was that this situation had arisen in the UK
in the late 70s, and the possibility existed either for a
reactionary restructuring or a progressive one. The
reactionary one took place in the absence of a sufficiently
credible political program for a progressive restructuring.

It is very important to realise that a restructuring crisis
is not the same as a revolutionary crisis. A left is required
that has a long term strategic perspective that enables it
to use both restructuring and revolutionary crises as and
when they arise. In both cases one needs practical policies
to deal with the situation both economic and political.

Marxist economists have generally been very poor at
proposing actual economic programs either long term,
or conjunctural.

Paul Cockshott
Dept Computing Science
University of Glasgow

0141 330 3125

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