Capitalism, Competition and Profits: A Critique of Robert Brenner's Theory of Crisis

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

The Marxist theory of crisis has fallen on hard times. Marx's ‘law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall’ (TRPF), generally seen, at least in recent times, as the basis of the theory, is now widely rejected by economists who regard themselves as broadly working in his tradition. This state of affairs is in large part a consequence on the larger assault on mounted on the theoretical structure of Capital by self-proclaimed supporters of Piero Sraffa during the 1970s. Analytical Marxism, during its brief efflorescence in the 1980s, took for granted the validity of the Sraffian critique. One of this school's more vulgar advocates published an ‘obituary’ of the TRPF which dismissed Marxists' attachment to the theory as a result of the influence of ‘“extra-scientific” considerations’ on them. The editors of a dictionary of Marxian economics expressed the hope not long ago that the resolution of the debate provoked by the Sraffian critique would be to ‘release Marxian ideas on crises, growth, imperialism, the social and economic evolution of forms of production, and so on, into the mainstream of economics’.

Capitalism, Competition and Profits: A Critique of Robert Brenner's Theory of Crisis

in Historical Materialism

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