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Economics: Marxian versus Neoclassical. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Marxian theory singular gave way to Marxian theories plural. The New School. Archived from the original on Retrieved University of Toronto. Springer Link. The Logic of The Planned Economy. Oxford: Claredon Press. Neue Folge , pp. Oxford, Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems.
Retrieved on: August 23, Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Howard and J. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Sweezy, , The Theory of Capitalist Development , p. New York: Modern Reader Paperbacks. London: New Left Books. There seems to be no hope for a theory of the falling rate of profit within the strict confines of the environment that Marx suggested as relevant.
Press, Review of Radical Political Economics. December Journal of Economic Literature. American Economic Association. Capital as power: a study of order and creorder. Glyn, Andrew Roemer, J. John E. Roemer Diane Flaherty Heilbroner, Robert The Worldly Philosophers 7th ed. London: Penguin Books. Screpanti, Ernesto ; Zamagni, Stefano An Outline of the History of Economic Thought 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Thomas T. Sekine , The Dialectic of Capital.
Solow, Robert M. Four volumes. New York: Stockton Press. New York Times.
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Categories : Marxian economics Schools of economic thought. Hidden categories: Articles lacking in-text citations from August All articles lacking in-text citations. Namespaces Article Talk. The rest is made up of massive speculation in international currencies, where fortunes are made in a matter of hours without the need for any productive activity, whatsoever. The vast sums of money handled by the big banks, and used mainly for speculative purposes, is shown by the following figures.
These figures give a true picture of the power of the big banks and monopolies on a world scale. However, in reality, a handful of giant monopolies predominate. The parasitic and speculative character of these monopolies explains why the boom of had an entirely different character to the post-war upswing. The statistics show that the fever of speculation vastly exceeds the actual level of production on a world scale. Marx also warned that this process cannot be prolonged indefinitely, but as we now see in Japan, inevitably leads to a collapse of production, once the speculative bubble is burst.
The collapse of the EMS and the permanent instability of world finance markets are a graphic illustration of this power, which is an additional factor for instability, threatening at any time to engulf the world in a new financial crisis, which, given the precarious and unsound state of world capitalism, could end in a deep slump.
The sickness of the system is shown by the phenomenon of excess capacity which affects all the main capitalist economies. Under modern conditions, the big monopolies have the necessary technology to calculate in advance the available market for their products. Therefore, they have tended to reduce production before getting to the point of actual over-production.
The fact that the capitalists are not capable of fully utilising the productive capacity even in a boom is a graphic illustration of the Marxist assertion that the productive forces have grown beyond the narrow limits of private ownership and the nation state. However, the situation at the present time is even worse. In the Communist Manifesto, written in , Marx and Engels accurately described the kind of crisis which we now see:. In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity—the epidemic of over-production.
Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism: it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence: industry and commerce seem to be destroyed and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property.
The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
Just take the state of the car industry, where hundreds of thousands of workers have been thrown on the scrap heap because the market is saturated. The Japanese monopolies, with their strong emphasis on modern machinery, were prepared to put up with a relatively low rate of return on investment, made up by a greater volume of sales through exports.
However, most families in Japan, the USA and Western Europe now possess at least one television, a car, a video, hi-fi equipment, etc. The tendency to expand the market artificially through credit has reached its limits, leading to a general crisis of debt. In this situation, there has been a fall, not of the rate, but of the mass of profit. In the past, every Japanese car made 83, yen in profit. The figure is now about 15, yen. Only the biggest and most powerful companies can survive in such a situation, and not all of them.
For a period of almost four decades after the Second World War the capitalist system experienced a new lease of life for reasons outlined above. This was reflected in increasing living standards for a large part of the population in the advanced capitalist countries. However, Marx never denied that, under certain conditions, wages could rise. Such an assertion would be utterly childish.
On the contrary, he went to some lengths to explain how wages inevitably rise in certain periods of capitalist development, and fall in others. But even in the most prosperous periods of capitalism, the relative improvement of living standards can never abolish surplus value, and can never change the social position of the worker:. A rise in the price of labour, as a consequence of accumulation of capital, only means, in fact, that the length and weight of the golden chain the wage-worker has already forged for himself, allow of a relaxation of the tension of it.
When the capitalists are making super-profits from the labour of the working class, when demand is rising and order-books are full, and when the workers feel strong enough to combine, through their trade unions, to demand an increased share in the product of their labour-power, then the capitalist can agree to part with some of the booty. What it can never mean is the abolition of exploitation. On the contrary, a growth in wages is frequently accompanied by an increase in the rate of exploitation, and a relative worsening of the position of the worker vis vis the capitalist.
Workers are generally interested in the amount of cash they receive in wages, and what it can buy. They are not so conscious of the amount of labour they give in return, in the form of overtime, productivity deals and the rest of it. As long as the money is there at the end of the week, workers can, for a time at least, put up with a killing pace of work, which undermines their health, family and social life. Nor are they aware that, while their wages are increasing absolutely, the profits of the bosses are increasing relatively even more.
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The fact that a worker can afford to buy a television or a second-hand car on credit does not alter his or her position vis a vis the capitalist. Marx referred to the tendency of capitalism to depend increasingly on the labour of women and children. Nowadays, child labour is supposed to have been abolished in the advanced capitalist countries. Nevertheless, it still enters into the composition of capital through the products of the Third World, where extensive and horrific exploitation of children still exists.
However, the exploitation of women and young people is an important and growing factor in the economic life of advanced capitalist countries.
How many working-class families could maintain their present standard of living without wives, sons and daughters contributing to the household income with the income from low-paid jobs? Under modern conditions of production, sheer physical strength is frequently less important than agile minds and hands.
This means the possibility of widespread exploitation of women and young people, usually taken on at low wages on the basis of part-time employment means that the clock is being put back a hundred years. Britain now has almost as many female employees as male ones, though many are part-timers. The participation of women in the productive process is the prior condition for their emancipation from the narrow confines of the home.
The entry of women workers into the ranks of industry represents a new and vital source of strength for the working class and the labour movement. Men are less willing to work for very low pay. The inexorable spread of unemployment means that even the relative gains of the past, the little pleasures which afford some consolation, which make life more civilised, are threatened. Thus, society is afflicted by an increasing sense of insecurity and malaise. All the gains of the past are under threat, as the capitalists try to boost their profit margins at the expense of the working class and the poorest sections of society.
The unemployed, the aged, the sick are faced with the continuous attacks on the welfare state.
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In Britain, which once boasted one of the most developed welfare systems, the Tory government has abolished the Wages Councils, established by Winston Churchill in , which were intended to protect the wages of millions of low-paid workers. Everywhere, the employers take advantage of anti-trade union laws to push down wages. A recent report by Dr. The study suggests the sharp decline in workplace trade unionism since with a fall from 58 per cent to 40 per cent in membership has not led to any spontaneous move by employers to introduce alternative forms of worker representation or joint consultation.
Since when have workers been treated as anything else? According to figures published recently by Mr. The abolition of wages councils in has resulted in a substantial drop in pay rates, according to the Low Pay Network, which found that According to the official figures, the average Briton saw his or her real income rise by But this disguises a huge increase in living standards for the better-off, and, at the other extreme, a rapid process of impoverishment.
It is true that many workers, in the last period, have been able to purchase things like videos, dishwashers, hi-fi equipment and the like which would have been unthinkable for an earlier generation. On the other hand, the consumer boom of the s was achieved at the cost of a colossal increase in indebtedness through credit which, as we have seen, is one of the reasons why the present recession has been prolonged. Take Japan, for instance.
The figure for the USA was about the same. But the trouble with credit, as every worker knows, is that eventually it has to be paid back—and with interest. It is a way of taking capitalism beyond its normal limits. But at the end of the day, the price must be paid in the form of a deepening of the crisis. Britain and America experienced a similar phenomenon earlier on. In other words, the absolute increase in living standards during the boom was achieved in the advanced capitalist countries, on the one hand by workers toiling extra, stretching themselves to the limit, working overtime, week-ends and so on.
On the other hand, it was achieved by the cheap labour and exploitation of women and young people. In London and Paris we have the scourge of homelessness and a large number of young people with no job, living on the streets in conditions reminiscent of Victorian times—easy prey to crime, drug addiction and prostitution. The statistics speak plainly of how 50 years of public housing has failed to help those it was meant to help Nine-tenths of households have a single parent, so parental authority is spread thin.
Nearly everyone depends upon government assistance of some sort. This housing was meant to provide shelter of last resort. Yet many families have lived in it for three generations. The article goes on:. But the growth in poverty outstripped the growth in Federal Resources.
Over 5 million renters and 4 million home owners live, unassisted, below the poverty level. No longer. In poor neighbourhoods, even more housing promised landlords so little prospect of return that buildings have been abandoned, reinforcing urban decay. More than three quarters of renters bellow the poverty level and more than half of poor home owners spend more than half their income on housing costs.
The disparity is absurd, visibly so. The long decline in TB stopped in New York at the end of the s, but it is only in the last couple of years that the disease has one more spread rapidly. The HIV virus, homelessness, poverty, and drug abuse all make people more vulnerable. Two out of three sufferers are young blacks or Hispanics. New Yorkers have a worse record than the people of most Third World countries when it comes to completing treatment.
Even less, however, can it afford to let TB spread—as it will—to plush offices and nice homes. Marx wrote about the terrible conditions of the mainly women workers in the garment trade in the East End of London. The abolition of the wages councils and the drastic reduction of factory inspection under the Tory government means that, in all probability, the conditions of the mainly Asian women workers in these trades will be all too similar.
And not only in Britain. Sewing jobs for Esprit, Liz Claiborne, Izumi and other glittering names were being done by underpaid workers. It tends to be forgotten that all the gains made by the working class in the past were obtained through struggle. The ruling class has never conceded anything without a fight. It is true that, in a period of economic upswing, the capitalists can afford to part with a small part of their profits, so long as they continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the working class.
But now that the period of upswing has ended, they have launched an all-out offensive to eliminate the conquests of labour. In Germany and Japan they rose 4. But now the German and Japanese capitalists want to pursue the same policy. The capitalists of all other countries are singing the same song. In Belgium, the imposition of a series of austerity plans provoked a general strike in November The attempt of the Spanish government to impose deregulation of the labour market also provoked a hour general strike.
Everywhere you look, the capitalists and their governments are attempting to find a way out of the crisis at the expense of the working class. The illusions in a future based upon full employment and prosperity which became widespread in the advanced capitalist world on the basis of nearly four decades of economic upswing, are swiftly disappearing:. Large parts of the population are now faced with the reality of being poorer than their parents, or even their grandparents. The price of industrial competitiveness may thus be the lowering of expectations, not only for wages but for working hours and conditions.
In the US, the lesson is proving painful. Europe, for the most part, has yet to confront it. The period since the Second World War has been one of uninterrupted turmoil in the underdeveloped capitalist countries. The people of Africa, Asia and Latin America, amounting to two thirds of the human race, derived little benefit from the fireworks display of economic growth in the industrialised West.
They remained hungry spectators at the feast of world capitalism. Even the relative development of industry made possible by the world economic upswing of did not prevent a fall in national income for most of these countries, leading to a general economic and social crisis. Nominally independent, they are even more enslaved than before. The economies of these countries are tied by a million chains to the chariot of world imperialism, which exercises its domination through international trade and the mechanisms of the world market based on the exchange of more labour for less.
According to figures published by the UN Development Programme for , the gap between rich and poor countries has increased inexorably over the past decades. The gap between the two has doubled in the last thirty years. However, even these figures understate the reality. In the advanced countries of capitalism, millions live in poverty, while the Third World has its share of wealthy parasites and exploiters.
In the last decade of the 20th Century, despite all the wonders of modern science, two thirds of humanity live on the border line of barbarism. Common diseases, such as diarrhoea and measles kill seven million children a year. Yet this can be prevented by a cheap and simple vaccination. According to United Nations reports, more than 6 billion people will inhabit the earth by the year 2, About half of them will be under the age of Yet most suffer from unemployment, lack of basic education and health care, overcrowding and bad living conditions.
An estimated million children aged 6 to 11 are not in school. Two thirds are girls. However, the situation in third world countries has reached a horrific level. As many as a million children live on the streets. Similar atrocities are being carried out against homeless people in Colombia. One million children have been killed, 4 million seriously injured, and 5 million have become refugees or orphaned as a result of wars in the past decade. In many ex-colonial countries, we have the phenomenon of child labour, often amounting to slavery. A typical example was the recently published case of a match factory where children, mostly girls, work a 6 day hour-week, with toxic chemicals, for three dollars.
The main reason for the grinding poverty of the third world is the two-fold looting of the resources through the terms of trade, and the trillion dollars debt owed by the third world to the big western banks. Just to pay the interest on the debt, these countries have to export food needed by their own people and sacrifice the health and education of the people.
Despite the hypocritical outcry against the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest, Brazilian economists have proved that this is mainly motivated by the need to raised cash for agricultural exports, such as beef, raised on reclaimed land. The financing for such export projects comes from the World Bank and other international financial organisations. Since World War Two, bourgeois governments have tried everything from Keynesianism to Monetarism, and every conceivable combination in between. The Keynesian experiment was responsible for an explosion of inflation at the end of the s and forced them to beat a hasty retreat.
Since then, we have seen the monetarist reaction, which was allegedly going to restore sound finance and balanced budgets. What was the result? In Britain, the application of monetarist policies under Thatcher led to a collapse of industry, from which it has still not recovered. From Those employed in manufacturing fell from 8. On the other hand, the parasitic banking sector increased from 9. At the same time, in all the advanced capitalist countries, there has been an inexorable rise in budget deficits, and this in spite of sharp cut-backs in state expenditure. Last year, the average budget deficit of the OECD countries stood at 4.
The interest on this debt alone represents a colossal drain on the resources of society.
Given this situation, a return to Keynesian methods of deficit financing would provoke an explosion of inflation. On the other hand, attempts to cut the deficit will decrease demand, thereby aggravating the crisis. The fact that these staggering deficits were piled up during the boom of is a further indication of the sickness of the system.
Far from increasing public spending, they are continually cutting back, despite the fact that in countries such as Britain, the infrastructure health, schools, roads, railways, housing is falling to pieces. And still the budget deficit continues to grow, as a result of the fall in production and huge interest repayments. The bourgeois economists contradict themselves continually.
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. This re-publication of a long out-of-print collection of essays, first published in focuses on the elusive concept of "value. Added to basket. Hammer And Tickle. Ben Lewis. Early Writings. Karl Marx. Habermas: A Very Short Introduction. James Gordon Finlayson. Red Plenty. Francis Spufford. Introducing Marx. The Communist Manifesto. Friedrich Engels. The Cold War. John Lewis Gaddis.