The austerity debate

There seem to be two issues that are occupying the minds of mainstream economics at the moment.  The first is partly theory, partly evidence and partly policy.  It is the question of whether the dominant economic policy solution to the crisis should be austerity, namely cutting government spending and raising taxes to reduce government borrowingContinue reading “The austerity debate”

Why is the US recovery so weak? – look at profitability

The latest official data on US profits and GDP have been released.  Now we know the full story up to the end of 2011 (see the US Bureau of Economic Analysishttp://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2012/gdp4q11_3rd.htm). The first thing to note is that the Great Recession, as with most capitalist slumps, started with a collapse in investment.  Expressed as aContinue reading “Why is the US recovery so weak? – look at profitability”

Which way for China – part two

The sacking of Bo Xilai, the controversial and maverick party secretary of the Chongqing municipality highlights the strategic split that exists at the top of the Chinese government about what direction to take the country over the next generation.  Mr Bo is the son of a revolutionary hero, one of the so-called ‘princelings’, the childrenContinue reading “Which way for China – part two”

‘Free markets’ and global wealth

In a new paper, Ricardo and Robert Fernholz have updated research on the distribution of global household wealth (Wealth distribution without redistribution, 27 February 2012, http://www.voxeu.org).  I have reported on this in several previous posts (Inequality: rich and poor, 10 January 2010 and 1% versus 99%, 21 October 2011).  And the Fernholzs look again atContinue reading “‘Free markets’ and global wealth”

Is public spending good for you?

Of course, it’s the wrong question.  Public spending is good for all, almost by definition.  The question is really whether public spending is good for capitalism i.e. the private profit mode of production.  The answer is yes and no and depending on who you listen to.  Take the US budget for 2012.  The White HouseContinue reading “Is public spending good for you?”

Trying to understand the difference

There’s been a big debate on my blog about what is the correct way to value capital accumulation when trying to measure the rate of profit in a capitalist economy. This debate has been around a long time, but kicked off again following my generally favourable review of Andrew Kliman’s (AK) new book, The failureContinue reading “Trying to understand the difference”

A ‘class’ rate of profit

I recently attended a presentation by Simon Mohun as part of the London Seminar on Contemporary Marxist Theory at Kings College, London.  Simon Mohun (SM) is Emeritus Professor at Queen Mary College, London and has made many important contributions to Marxist economics.   His presentation was entitled, The rate of profit, crisis and periodisation inContinue reading “A ‘class’ rate of profit”

The rate of profit: the devil in the detail

Andrew Kliman’s (AK) new book (see my post, Andrew Kliman and The Failure of Capitalist Production, 8 December 2011) has provoked a very negative review from Bill Jefferies (BJ).  BJ has posted, as a comment to my post on AK’s book, his review.  And you can read it here http://www.permanentrevolution.net/entry/3388.  Comments have been coming intoContinue reading “The rate of profit: the devil in the detail”

Capitalism in crisis – the apologia

The Financial Times recently launched a series of articles on “Capitalism in Crisis”.  As we enter the fourth year of the global banking collapse and the long depression in real output for the major capitalist economies, the strategists of capital are trying to understand what went wrong with capitalism and what to do about it.Continue reading “Capitalism in crisis – the apologia”