Theory of Crisis


Editor / Translator:
Kōzō Uno’s Theory of Crisis presents an unparalleled and systematic demonstration of the inevitability of crisis under the capitalist mode of production. Based on a radical re-interpretation of Marx’s Capital, Uno’s theory of crisis emphasizes ‘excess capital alongside surplus populations’ and ‘the commodification of labour power’ at the heart of Marx’s theory of crisis, and additionally provides a concise overview of capitalist crises from the stage of mercantilism to the imperialist stage of capitalism.
Included are two Appendix essays by Uno, which disentangle theoretical difficulties related to the theory of crisis in Marx’s Capital, and two original and contemporary essays by Professors Makoto Itoh and by Ken Kawashima and Gavin Walker.
This book was originally published in Japanese as Kyōkō-ron by Iwanami Shoten, 1953.

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Kōzō Uno (宇野 弘蔵, November 12, 1897 – February 22, 1977) is one of Japan’s most important Marxist economists, known for his logical ‘purification’ of Marx’s exposition in Capital, and his theory the historical stages of capitalist development.

Ken C. Kawashima is Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, and author of The Proletarian Gamble: Korean Workers in Interwar Japan (Duke, 2009), and co-editor of Tosaka Jun: A Critical Reader (Cornell, 2013).

Gavin Walker is Associate Professor at McGill University, and author of The Sublime Perversion of Capital (Duke, 2016); editor of The End of Area (Duke, 2019 with Naoki Sakai) and The Red Years: Theory, Politics, Aesthetics in the Japanese ’68 (Verso, forthcoming 2020); editor and translator of Kojin Karatani’s Marx: Towards the Centre of Possibility (Verso, 2020).
Translator’s Preface
Author’s Preface

Uno Kōzō, Kyoko Ron (Theory of Crisis)

 1 Classical Phenomena of Crises
 2 The Theory of Crisis and Foreign Trade
 3 The Role of Commercial Capital in Relation to the Phenomena of Crisis
 4 The Possibility and Inevitability of Crisis in Capitalist Society

1 Prosperity
 1 The Accumulation of Capital in the Phase of Prosperity
 2 The Role Performed by Credit
 3 Speculative Development and the Rise in Prices

2 Crisis
 1 The Collision between the Profit Rate and the Interest Rate
 2 The Excess of Capital and the Excess (Surplus) of Populations
 3 The Destruction of the Value of Capital

3 Depression
 1 The Stagnation of the Reproduction Process
 2 Inaugurating New Accumulation through Improvements to the Production Process
 3 The Turn towards Prosperity

4 The Turnover Period of the Business Cycle

5 The Inevitability of Crisis in Capitalist Society
 1 Mechanical Inevitability and Historical Inevitability
 2 The Inevitability of Crisis and the Inevitability of Collapse
 3 The Theory of Crisis and the Analyses of Crises

Appendix 1: Problems of the Theory of Crisis in Capital
Appendix 2: Capital and the Demonstration of the Inevitable Ground of Crisis
Guiding Comments
Makoto Itoh
Supplementary Essay: Uno Kōzō’s Theory of Crisis Today
Ken C. Kawashima and Gavin Walker
Works Cited in Theory of Crisis
All interested in Marxist theories of capitalist crisis, Marx’s methodology in Capital, the analysis of imperialism, critical theory, historical and dialectical materialism.
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