Re: [OPE-L] Falling Rate of Profit as Science Fiction?

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 10:09:28 EST

Hi again Jurriaan and everyone else,

The following is an example of a claim that I am interrogating.
It's from another list and it was written by a prominent Marxist.

It claims:

> This problem has been with the capitalist system since
> ca. 1958, though what was then a pimple is now
> elephantiasis. The crisis started long ago, in the
> steady erosion of global expanded social reproduction
> by the necessity of shifting C and V to S to support
> all the paper claims to profit, interest and ground
> rent generated by the fictitious pyramid, not to
> mention the looting of the environment through
> non-replacement types of accumulation.

The problem -- referred below as "a crisis" -- has been
around since 1958?  1958! How can such a claim be validated
or dis-proved?

Isn't this expression "capitalism in crisis" overdone
to the point where it can become meaningless?  I.e. if
capitalism is in crisis in all recent periods -- when it
is declining _and_ when it is expanding -- doesn't it
become a meaningless and counter-factual claim?

The author continues:

> Whether we are
> talking about the mushrooming of the unproductive
> consumption of a significant part of the "service"
> population, or the retrogression of productive
> consumption in the working class, or the absence of
> consumption (and worse) for 3 billion people
> in the 70 or 80 "failed states", we have a crisis on
> the scale of the last phase of the feudal mode of
> production (and its Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse)
> which can be analyzed as such even before the pyramid
> comes down.

So, "we have a crisis on the scale of the last phase
of the feudal mode of production (and its Four Horsemen
of the Apocolypse"?

Really?  Do others on this list agree with that?  How can
it be demonstrated empirically rather than simply asserted?

Is it 'wishful thinking'?  Is it science fiction?

If we are _always_ saying that capitalism is in crisis and
that a major economic catastrophe is immanent, then don't
we run the risk of being treated like the Boy who Cried Wolf?

Isn't it time for some Marxists to do a reality check?

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Mar 06 2006 - 00:00:01 EST