[OPE-L:6973] [OPE-L:465] Re: Robert Brenner

Seongjin Jeong (seongjin@gshp.gsnu.ac.kr)
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 16:54:35 +0900

I agree with your critique of Brenner, as neither I think that Brenner's article
is a Marxist work. I will post my own comments soon.
By the way, there is a very critical comments on Brenner written by a Fourth
Internationalist on following website.


I will also appreciate it if Andrew Kliman could post his own comments on Brenner
at OPE-L.


Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> I was wondering whether anyone has worked through Robert Brenner's "The
> Economics of Global Turbulence" in New Left Review 229/1998.
> Andrew has already suggested some important lines of critique on another list.
> The NLR editors tout the book as a continuation of Marx's project, but he
> seems to turn Marx on his head at every important point:
> Where Marx argued that the rising productivity of labor under capitalism
> would express itself as a falling rate of profit, Brenner argues that the
> FROP theory implicitly depends on an implausible "Malthusian" fear of a
> fall in the productivity of *indirect* labor.
> Where Marx argued that fraticidal competition breaks out as a consequence
> of the FROP, Brenner explains the FROP as a consequence of the outbreak of
> fraticidal competition on a global scale.
> Where Marx argued that competition could not determine the actual rate of
> profit, Brenner argues that its magnitude is indeed a function of the
> intensity of international competition, ceteris paribus.
> Moreover, while Brenner claims to criticize Schumpeter for underestimating
> the destructiveness of unplanned competition, he actually attributes the
> protraction, as well as the mildness, of the down turn since the 70s in
> large part to the insufficient destruction of inefficient capital due to
> the artificial stimulus provided to the economy by Keynesian economics--an
> argument quite in line with Schumpeter and the liquidationism of the
> Austrians generally.
> Michael Perelman had been suggesting such an argument long before Brenner.
> In Brenner's account, it's ambivalent whether Keynesianism is consequence
> or cause of a protracted, yet mild, dowturn. It's also quite unclear what
> sort of dynamism Brenner thinks the system would have in the absence of
> Keynesian stimulus. Perhaps the American economy's putative dynamism,
> including the recent hike in posted productivity growth, that has followed
> upon Clinton's fiscal conservatism is a vindication of his seemingly
> anti-Keynesian argument, yet Brenner also seems to suggest that the
> reduction in effective demand from the fiscal conservatism of the US, the
> buyer of last resort, has plunged the world into crisis.
> Rakesh