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Norm’s note: For readers interested in the debate over the relevance of Marx’s so called ‘Law of the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall,’ you will probably also want to read at least these two essays by Michael Heinrich: a) Crisis Theory, the Law of the Tendency of the Profit Rate to Fall, and Marx’s Studies in the 1870s and b) Heinrich Answers Critics.

Jack Rasmus

The debate among marxist economists has intensified once again. On the one side is the German economist, a marxist, Michael Heinrich. Once again Heinrich has raised questions about Marx’s notes in Vol. II, III of Capital assigning primary causation of capitalist crises to the variable of the falling rate of profit. Long an adherent to explaining the evolution and business cycle contractions to the falling rate of profit, Michael Roberts takes on Heinrich’s more ‘open view’ of Marx.

From time to time I have debated as well with Roberts, taking a position similar to Heinrich’s and urging Marxist economists to get off of Marx’s falling rate of profit theory as the primary explanation of crises and cycles. The reasons are Marx’s definition, similar to classical economics in general, is too narrow. More important, contemporary definitions and data collection of profit globally result in data on profit used to determine the…

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