Capitalism

From Crisis of Capitalism to Revival of Marxism

Maziar Razi, an interview by Labour Fight
LF: At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the world entered into a major economic crisis. What were the reasons for this crisis which has effected the deterioration of living conditions of millions of working class in the world?
MR: In Capital, Karl Marx makes a distinction between “recurrent crises” of capitalism, which is related to business-cycle fluctuations known as “recession”, to the one which is called “major crisis”. From the late 19thcentury to present day, four such major crises can be distinguished: the crisis of the 1890s, the Great Depression of 1930s, the crisis of the 1970s, and the current crisis 2007-8.

Amongst the Marxist economists there are two interpretation on the causes of these major crisis. Some believe that all four “major crisis” have been caused by “the tendency of the rate of profit to fall” (such as Michael Roberts, “The Great Recession”, and  William Thompson, “World Economic Perspectives”); and some others (such as David Harvey, “Enigma of Capital”, “The New Imperialism” and “A Brief History of Neoliberalism”; and Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy “The crisis of neoliberalism”) analyse that two crises, the first and third ones, can be imputed to phases of decline of the profit rate, but neither the Great Depression 1930s nor the current crisis is related to it directly. They argue that in these two latter instances the profit rate was entering into phases of limited recovery. The common point between these two crises was that they occurred during periods of “financial hegemony” (power of financiers) of neoliberalism, that is, phases in which the domination of capitalist classes, supported by its financial institutions, was unchallenged.

LF: Which interpretation in you opinion is more […]