The bourgeoisie long ago gave up on any attempt to really
understand its own society. Faced with the publication of Marx’s Capital
and the stupendous growth of the organised working class, they and their
economists abandoned the labour theory of value and the genuinely scientific
advances made by William Petty, Adam Smith and David Ricardo.
As a good Marxist, Moshé Machover defends the labour theory of value. Interestingly,
he also shows that it has antecedents in the ancient and medieval world.
Crucially, however, he insists that Marxism is no dogma. It can and must be
constantly advanced, not least in light of developments in mathematics.
Nowadays, the economics taught in universities deals with
purely technical marketing, taxation and banking questions - or it is serves as
barely disguised capitalist apologetics. In other words, it functions as an
ideology. This can be seen all too clearly in the ideas of John Maynard Keynes.
Jack Conrad investigates his politics. Suffice to say Keynes was no
progressive, no friend of the working class, no socialist. He was a
Unfortunately, given the defeats suffered by the working
class in the 20th century, the transformation of social democracy into an arm
of the bourgeoisie and the Stalinite counterrevolution within the revolution,
much of what passes for Marxism nowadays ought to carry a health warning.
Organisations such as the Socialist Workers Party draw up and promote political
platforms that are to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from
Keynesianism. The claim is that the working class movement can force economic
growth, prosperity and full employment onto the capitalist class - all within
the space of a single capitalist country.
Mike Macnair shows that such platforms are illusory.
Keynesianism is not only a thoroughly pro-capitalist outlook, its claims about
the past are mostly utterly bogus. The post-World War II boom was not due to
the adoption of enlightened Keynesian economics. No, the great boom was due to
the horrendous destruction of capital that happened between 1939 and 1945. That
and the replacement of Great Britain as the global hegemon by the United States
is what created the conditions for the long boom, the social democratic
settlement and trade union power.
The ongoing crisis of capitalism should not be
conceptualised as a mere cyclical downturn. Hillel Ticktin convincingly argues
that the system itself is in long term decline. That does not mean, of course,
that it is just about to collapse. Capitalist decline cannot be traced with
reference to statistics for gross national product and the number of wage
workers. Such empiricism owes little or nothing to Marxism.
The Marxist method seeks to uncover essentials: in this case
it ought to be the law of value. If we understand the decline of the law of
value then we can also understand why we live in a stalled transitionary
epoch. Capitalism increasingly malfunctions. And while communism is an ever
more urgent necessity, it cannot yet be born. Hence the likely outcome in the
short to medium term is disintegration and further social dislocation.
Albeit in primitive forms, the working class is beginning to
move once again. But if we are to see the end of capitalism and the beginning
of communism, we need more, far more, than TUC days of action, ephemeral
protest movements, screams of refusal by the multitude, etc.
The working class must be organised internationally into a
mass Communist Party and made ready to establish its own semi-state.
Political suicide or managed decline?
the sovereign debt contagion spreading, the euro facing existential crisis, the
possibility of a US default and gold prices hitting record highs there is a
real possibility that capitalism is heading for a further sharp downturn. But,
asks Jack Conrad, does Keynesianism offer a way out?
The theory of decline and capital
the first of two articles, Hillel Ticktin, editor of Critique, looks at the
rise and fall of different modes of production and the problems of transition
Decline and the transition to socialism
Ticktin concludes his discussion on the theory of decline by examining its
forms as capitalism makes way for a higher society
Capitalist crisis and the tasks of
the Campaign for a Marxist Party was short-lived, the section on the political
economy of the current period, authored by Hillel Ticktin in 2006, has
Political economy of aid
lies behind the establishment's 'campaign for Africa'? Hillel Ticktin, editor
of Critique, looks beneath the hype
World politics, long waves and the decline of
we facing a new 'long slump' like the 1930s or is the recent financial crisis
merely a blip in a larger picture of capitalist expansion? And how does the
decline of capitalism fit into the picture? Mike Macnair examines the issues
The fundamentals of political economy
Here's a report of the event.
Promoting the national economy divides
Does Keynesianism represent an alternative to austerity? Mike Macnair
begins by looking at John Maynard Keynes's actual theory
fight for reforms
Mike Macnair concludes his article on the alternative to
The centrality of labour-power
Moshé Machover begins his examination of the labour theory of value by
looking at the preliminaries
prices and probabilities
What is the connection between value and price? Moshé
Machover concludes his discussion of the labour theory of value
decline of money
If we are to understand the present crisis we need to
grasp the decaying relationship between money, production and value. Hillel
Ticktin discusses the growth of fictitious capital and impossibility of getting
money to make money
The ordoliberals and Adam Smith's invisible
The 'big society' is not such a new idea, argues Werner
Bonefeld. This is an edited version of his talk at the CPGB's 'Fundamentals of
political economy' school
The video course ‘Reading
Capital’ by author David Harvey.
David Harvey, Marxist academic and author of The enigma
of capital, spoke to Mark Fischer
Not just a study aid
Andrew Coates reviews David Harvey's 'A companion to Marx's Capital' Verso,
2010, pp320, £10.99