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The Falling Rate of Profit and the Great Recession of 2007-2009

A New Approach to Applying Marx’s Value Theory and Its Implications for Socialist Strategy

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Peter Jones

In The Falling Rate of Profit and the Great Recession of 2007-2009, Peter Jones develops a new non-equilibrium interpretation of the labour theory of value Karl Marx builds in Capital. Applying this to US national accounting data, Jones shows that when measured correctly the profit rate falls in the lead up to the Great Recession, and for the main reason Marx identifies: the rising organic composition of capital.
Jones also details a new theory of finance, which shows how cycles in the profit rate relate to stock market booms and slumps, and movements in the interest rate. He discusses the implications of the analysis and Marx and Engels’ work generally for a democratic socialist strategy.
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Paresh Chattopadhyay

‘Socialism’ is a word that is now habitually taken to refer to a particular social system that prevailed in different parts of the globe during the twentieth century. This system was defined primarily by single-party rule with public (mainly state) ownership of the means of production along with a centrally planned economy. Its material base was generalised commodity production. The spokespersons of this system claim that this socialism was derived from Marx.

Paresh Chattopadhyay’s Socialism and Commodity Production argues the falsity of this claim. On the basis of a comprehensive study of Marx's own texts, as well as a detailed engagement with a wide variety of theorists of socialist economics, it shows that Marx's socialism constituted an ‘Association’ of free individuals in which private ownership, the commodity, wage labour and the state have no place.
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Imagining Russian Regions

Subnational Identity and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia

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Susan Smith-Peter

In Imagining Russian Regions: Subnational Identity and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia, Susan Smith-Peter shows how ideas of civil society encouraged the growth of subnational identity in Russia before 1861. Adam Smith and G.W.F. Hegel’s ideas of civil society influenced Russians and the resulting plans to stimulate the growth of civil society also formed subnational identities.

It challenges the view of the provinces as empty space held by Nikolai Gogol, who rejected the new non-noble provincial identity and welcomed a noble-only district identity. By 1861, these non-noble and noble publics would come together to form a multi-estate provincial civil society whose promise was not fulfilled due to the decision of the government to keep the peasant estate institutionally separate.
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Persistent Inequalities

Wage Disparity under Capitalist Competition

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Howard Botwinick

Economists generally assume that wage differentials among similar workers will only endure when competition in the capital and/or labor market is restricted. In contrast, Howard Botwinick uses a classical Marxist analysis of real capitalist competition to show that substantial patterns of wage disparity can persist despite high levels of competition. Indeed, the author provocatively argues that competition and technical change often militate against wage equalization. In addition to providing the basis for a more unified analysis of race and gender inequality within labor markets, Botwinick’s work has important implications for contemporary union strategies. Going against mainstream proponents of labor-management cooperation, the author calls for militant union organization that can once again take wages and working conditions out of capitalist competition.

This revised edition was originally published under the same title in 1993 by Princeton University Press.

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Splendour, Misery, and Possibilities

An X-Ray of Socialist Yugoslavia

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Darko Suvin

Suvin’s ‘X-Ray’ of Socialist Yugoslavia offers an indispensable overview of a unique and often overlooked twentieth-century socialism. It shows that the plebeian surge of revolutionary self-determination was halted in SFR Yugoslavia by 1965; that between 1965– 72 there was a confused and hidden but still open-ended clash; and that by 1972 the oligarchy in power was closed and static, leading to failure. The underlying reasons of this failure are analysed in a melding of semiotics and political history, which points beyond Yugoslavia – including its achievements and degeneration – to show how political and economic democracy fail when pursued in isolation. The emphasis on socialist Yugoslavia is at various points embedded into a wider historical and theoretical frame, including Left debates about the party, sociological debates about classes, and Marx’s great foray against a religious State doctrine in The Jewish Question.
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Edited by Fang Cai

Transforming the Chinese Economy is a translated collection of articles providing a look at how scholars in China have been assessing their country's recent economic history. This volume, as well as the others in the SSRC series, provide western scholars with an accessible English language look at the state of current Chinese scholarship, and as such, do not simply provide information for the direct study of economic issues, but also for meta-level analysis of the interplay of China's policy, scholarship, and economy. Specifc topics include banking and finance, inequality of growth, and women's role in the workforce.