The Unmaking of Marx's Capital: Heinrich's Attempt to Eliminate Marx's Crisis Theory

20 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2013 Last revised: 20 Jul 2013

See all articles by Andrew Kliman

Andrew Kliman

Economics, Pace University - Pleasantville

Alan Freeman

London Metropolitan University Business School

Nick Potts

Southampton Solent University

Alexey Gusev

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Brendan Cooney

Kapitalism101

Date Written: July 22, 2013

Abstract

Michael Heinrich’s recent Monthly Review article claims that the law of the tendential fall in the rate of profit (LTFRP) was not proved by Marx and cannot be proved. Heinrich also argues that Marx had doubts about the law and that, for this and other other reasons, his theory of capitalist economic crisis was only provisional and more or less in continual flux.

This response shows that Heinrich’s elementary misunderstanding of the law –– his belief that it is meant to predict what must inevitably happen rather than to explain what does happen –– is the source of his charge that it is unproved. It then shows that a simple misreading of Marx’s text lies at the basis of Heinrich’s claim that the simplest version of the LTFRP, “the law as such,” is a failure. Marx’s argument that increases in the rate of surplus-value cannot “cancel” the fall in the rate of profit is then defended against Heinrich’s attempt to refute it. Finally, the paper presents evidence that Marx was indeed convinced that the LTFRP is correct and that he regarded the crisis theory of volume 3 of Capital as finished in a theoretical sense.

Suggested Citation

Kliman, Andrew and Freeman, Alan and Potts, Nick and Gusev, Alexey and Cooney, Brendan, The Unmaking of Marx's Capital: Heinrich's Attempt to Eliminate Marx's Crisis Theory (July 22, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2294134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2294134

Andrew Kliman (Contact Author)

Economics, Pace University - Pleasantville ( email )

861 Bedford Rd
Pleasantville, NY 10570
United States

HOME PAGE: http://akliman.squarespace.com

Alan Freeman

London Metropolitan University Business School ( email )

166-220 Holloway Road
London, N7 8DB
United Kingdom

Nick Potts

Southampton Solent University ( email )

East Park Terrace
Southampton, Hampshire SO14 0YN
United Kingdom

Alexey Gusev

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Brendan Cooney

Kapitalism101 ( email )

United States

HOME PAGE: http://kapitalism101.wordpress.com

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