House Prices and Consumer Demand in the 2007-9 US Crisis

In Marxist debate about the causes of the 2007-9 crisis in the US it is often assumed that we must choose between seeing it as either simply a financial crisis, or as one whose basic cause was a failure of profitability in the productive sector. Many believe that the fundamental primacy of production in Marxist … Continue reading “House Prices and Consumer Demand in the 2007-9 US Crisis”

A Debate on Value Theory Guest Post by Pete Green

On the recent (2018) debate over value theory between David Harvey and his critics A short essay by David Harvey, raising some questions about value theory in Marx, has  provoked the polemical responses he may well have expected. First onto the field to defend his version of orthodoxy came the redoubtable Michael Roberts, who was … Continue reading “A Debate on Value Theory Guest Post by Pete Green”

Causality and the Rate of Profit

I have returned to an long-standing interest in causality in Marx’s political economy as a result of involvement in controversies about the falling rate of profit. In particular a debate with Michael Roberts, currently one of the leading exponents of the thesis that the fundamental and decisive cause of capitalist crisis is the tendency of … Continue reading “Causality and the Rate of Profit”

Value, Natural Forces, and Productivity

One of the most frequent objections to Marx’s value theory is that there are many commodities which are not produced by labour, yet can be given a price and sold. Marx writes that: Since money is the transformed shape of the commodity, it does not reveal what has been transformed into it: whether conscience or … Continue reading “Value, Natural Forces, and Productivity”

Value Theory and the Schism in Eco-Marxism

In the eco-socialist movement there have been frequent complaints that Marx’s value theory, with its central emphasis on labour-time, is fatally flawed and irrelevant. It seems to discount the exploitation of nature in the pursuit of profit. Students of Marx have responded by tracing the close attention which Marx and Engels gave to ecological research … Continue reading “Value Theory and the Schism in Eco-Marxism”

Crisis Theory Needs a Demand Story

In an essay dated June 2005 (and republished in 2009 as Chapter 2 of The Great Recession) Michael Roberts has a perceptive account of what he calls ‘the property time bomb’.  He notes that never before had real house prices risen so fast for so long in so many countries, and quotes an Economist article … Continue reading “Crisis Theory Needs a Demand Story”

What Caused the 2007 Crisis in the US?

At the Historical Materialism conference in London on 14 November there was a session, organized by Al Campbell, on the Marxist debate about the 2007-09 crisis and since – with papers by Michael Roberts, Al and myself.  I posted an extended version of my paper in which I argued that a global surplus of money capital … Continue reading “What Caused the 2007 Crisis in the US?”

Slaves versus Champagne: Capitalist Consumption in Marx

A central thesis of Marx is that the rate of profit is the major influence on the level of investment.  In Capital Vol. 1, throughout the chapters on the accumulation of capital it is implicit that it is competition which is driving accumulation.  The profitability achieved by a firm is the decisive test of its … Continue reading “Slaves versus Champagne: Capitalist Consumption in Marx”