The Economics of Karl Marx

Analysis and Application

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This book presents an account and technical assessment of Marx’s economic analysis in Capital, with particular reference to the transformation and the surplus-value doctrine, the reproduction schemes, the falling real-wage and profit rates, and the trade cycle. The focus is on criticisms that Marx himself might have been expected to face in his day and age. In addition, it offers a chronological study of the evolution of that analysis from the early 1840s through three “drafts”: documents of the late 1840s, the Grundrisse of 1857–1858, and the Economic Manuscripts of 1861–1863. It also provides three studies in application, focusing on Marx’s “evolutionary” orientation in his evaluation of the transition to communism and his rejection of “egalitarianism” under both capitalist and communist regimes; his evolving perspective on the role of the industrial “entrepreneur”; and his evolving appreciation of the prospects for welfare reform within capitalism. Throughout, Hollander emphasizes Marx’s relation with orthodox canonical classicism. – Partial contents: Capital : principle features of the Marxian "canon" -- Value and distribution -- On "demand-supply" analysis -- The transformation of values into prices: formal analysis -- The transformation and the allocation mechanism -- Competition constrained : land scarcity and firm size -- On "market value" and competition -- The inverse wage-profit relation and profit-rate equalization -- Materials, the luxury-goods sector and the general profit rate -- The rate of surplus value as endogenous variable -- More on final demand and distribution -- Marx’s strategy -- The Baumol-Samuelson debate -- Elements of growth theory -- Setting the stage : stationary reproduction as circular-flow process -- Capital accumulation -- Determinants of the rate of accumulation -- The "simple reproduction" scheme -- The "extended reproduction" scheme -- Economic growth and the falling real-wage trend -- The falling wage trend -- The subsistence wage and the value of labor power -- The falling wage trend and population growth -- The industrial Reserve Army and cyclical wage fluctuations -- Inter-sectoral labor movements -- The participation rate -- Objections to Malthus -- Economic growth and the falling rate of profit -- The basic analysis -- The conditions for a falling rate of profit -- Increasing rate of surplus value and cheapening of constant capital -- The limited impact of a rising rate of surplus value -- Implications of differential rates of productivity increase -- Technical progress and the falling profit rate : an overview -- On secular underconsumption -- On the significance of the falling profit rate -- The cyclical dimension -- The cyclical chronology -- Trend and cycle : causal mechanisms -- The raw material constraint and upper turning point -- The labor constraint and upper turning point -- The monetary dimension -- A note on the "echo effect" -- Inter- and intra-departmental imbalance -- Origins: marx in the 1840s -- Marx’s economics 1843-45 -- Price theory -- Wage-rate and profit-rate trends -- The private property system : Ricardo as bete noire -- On aggregate demand and "overproduction" -- In partial defence of Proudhon -- Objections to Friedrich list -- "First draft" of Capital 1847--49 -- Allocation and cost price : the labor theory -- Differential rent -- Labor as commodity -- On "labor power" and the source of surplus value -- The inverse wage-profit relation -- The falling real-wage trend -- Increasing organic composition, demographic patterns and the Reserve Army -- Profit-rate determination : "competition of capitals" -- Labor and free trade : on Marx’s Ricardian bonafides -- "Second draft" of capital : the Grundrisse 1857-1858 -- 1857-58 I : surplus value -- The basic doctrine -- Surplus value and the transition to growth -- Elements of a growth model : productivity increase, population growth and the reserve of unemployed -- The falling rate of profit -- The "transformation" -- A Marxian "reply" to Bohm-Bawerk -- Surplus value : matters of timing and indebtedness -- On Ricardo and surplus value : an excursus -- 1857-58 II : on value realization and the overproduction problem -- Capital turnover : a circular-flow process -- Value realization and overproduction -- On the law of markets and the overproduction literature -- On working-class consumption -- "Third draft" of Capital : the economic manuscripts, 1861- 63 -- 1861-1863 I : surplus value profit, rent, and interest -- Profit-rate equalization and the transformation -- The transformation aborted: absolute rent and the priority of the industrial sector -- The falling rate of profit -- Materials costs, the luxury sector and the general profit rate -- The rate of interest -- Commercial capital and the surplus-value doctrine -- 1861-1863 II : sectorial analysis, accumulation, and stability -- Sectoral analysis and the constant capital "riddle" -- Conditions for "continuous" accumulation -- On overproduction -- The secular-cyclical nexus -- Sources of cyclical instability -- The recovery process : corrective mechanisms -- On the overproduction literature -- 186-63 III : the labor market.