Re: [OPE] Interview with Robert Brenner on the current crisis

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Mon Feb 02 2009 - 15:02:28 EST

Jurriaan Bendien wrote:
> The empirical support for Prof. Brenner's profit theories is rather
> weak, although he is correct about depressed average profit rates in
> industry

I rather liked his descriptive presentation of the crisis of
profitability in the mid-1970s but I am not so convinced by his theory
about the causal mechanisms, i.e. increased competition from abroad. I
think it was pointed out in Anwar Shaikh's critique that cheaper
commodities may also be cheaper inputs in other industries thereby
counter-acting the effects on the average rate of profit. Moreover, I
can't see why a declining US industry should weaken Japanese
profitability if it is the equivalent industry in Japan that is gaining
a world market share.

It seems to me that the general decline in profitability during that
period was primarily caused by rapid accumulation with more or less
stagnant workforces, and the productivity growth rates were unable to
offset this latter factor (due to the end of a Kondratiev wave
perhaps?). That theory has been empirically supported by several
studies, albeit with somewhat different emphasis.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Mon Feb 2 15:04:20 2009

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