Whereas most previous and later discussions of Marx’s transformation of values into prices of production have focused on his mathematical procedure, Henryk Grossman addressed the logic of its place in the structure of Capital. On this basis he criticised underconsumptionist and disproportionality theorists of economic crises for inappropriately basing their accounts on the level of analysis of the value schemas in the second volume of Capital. Such a criticism cannot be made of Grossman’s and Marx’s explanation of systemic crises in terms of the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. Grossman’s article still provides insights into Marx’s analysis of capitalism and his theory of economic crises, unsurpassed in the subsequent literature.
Characterisations of Henryk Grossman as a theorist of capitalism’s automatic collapse and political passivity are false. Even before the publication of his principal work, Grossman had linked his recovery of Marx’s account of capitalism’s tendency to break down to his own, interventionist, Leninist politics. This is apparent in his substantial critique of Fritz Sternberg’s influential 1926 book, Imperialism. Grossman’s article (DOI 10.1163/1569206X-12341756) also restates fundamental aspects of Marx’s value theory, class analysis and account of wages.