Re: [OPE] Marxist theory of crisis

From: Paula <>
Date: Mon Nov 17 2008 - 20:48:12 EST

Paulo: "After you derive the tendency to crisis from the nature of capital shouldn´t you incorporate competition and credit in order to see how those tendencies develop concretely into a crisis?"

Yes, but, in turn, are enhanced competition and the enlarged role of credit consequences/manifestations of those tendencies?

Dave: "I would not say that the present crisis is fundamentally due to some long-run depression of distribution of the profit rates .... Rather I think it is due to the dramatic rise of the unproductive financial sector and the rentier class which has been appropriating an ever greater share of the surplus product since the late-1970s. This in conjunction with the fundamental imbalance of the world economy the past 10 years or so ...."

Roughly, that coincides with my initial views. The point about imbalances relates to David's assessment that this is a crisis of imperialism - I agree. But regarding the growth of unproductive capital I have a question - could we call this growth over-accumulation, and if so what kind of over-accumulation would it be? When Marx discussed the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, he described a tendency inherent in the development of capitalist productivity. But now we have a second and apparently opposite development, the growth of unproductive (relative to productive) capital.

Some years ago this list discussed whether banking capital is part of the whole social capital ( The same question can be asked of unproductive capital in its entirety. If it is, and in a sense it must be, then this would imply that the general rate of profit may fall independently of what happens to productivity, simply because a growing portion of the social capital is actually unproductive; but, on the other hand, it is perhaps a consequence (and manifestation) of the rising organic composition of productive capital that so much capital has been invested in unproductive sectors to begin with ...

I hope (but I am not sure) that the above does not just state the obvious or loops around some basic conceptual mistake.


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Received on Mon Nov 17 20:50:12 2008

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