The Great Recession and the recovery: who is right?

Last week’s release of the gross domestic product figures for the US economy in the second quarter of 2011 was a shock to supporters of capitalism.  The US economy achieved an annual growth rate  of just 1.3% in Q2’11.   Translating those figures into quarterly numbers, that means the US grew by just 0.1% inContinue reading “The Great Recession and the recovery: who is right?”

Measuring the rate of profit and profit cycles

I recently presented a paper to the annual conference of the Association of Heterodox Economists in which I reviewed various attempts to measure the rate of profit in the US and elsewhere from a Marxist approach.  Apart from my own measures, there have been several different ones made since the Great Recession descended upon us. Continue reading “Measuring the rate of profit and profit cycles”

US corporate profits boom

Economic growth in the major capitalist economies may be weak, but corporate profits continue to rise strongly, at least among the largest companies in the US.   Corporate earnings figures of the top US companies for the second quarter of 2011 have been coming out over the last couple of weeks.  Strong second-quarter earnings from McDonald’s,Continue reading “US corporate profits boom”

The Great Recession and cutting the denominator

If anybody doubts that the slump in the major capitalist economies of 2008-9 really was the Great Recession, just look at this graph describing the percentage fall in overall US employment in each of the major economic recessions since the 1950s. The Great Recession saw a fall of over 6% in US  employment from earlyContinue reading “The Great Recession and cutting the denominator”

Deleveraging and the economic recovery

The latest jobs figures for June out of the US startled all the mainstream economists.  They were expecting a steady rise in employment to be confirmed by the data, suggesting  that the US economy was continuing to recover from the Great Recession.  Then both politicians and economists could claim that things were getting back toContinue reading “Deleveraging and the economic recovery”

Carchedi, Foster and the causes of crisis

The annual Marxism 2011 festival took place in London this weekend.  One of the sessions was on Marxist theory and the economic crisis.  The speakers were John Bellamy Foster, the editor of the American Monthly Review, Guglielmo Carchedi, the Italian Marxist economist and Joseph Choonara from the British Socialist Workers Party. With three speakers andContinue reading “Carchedi, Foster and the causes of crisis”

Returning to the long view

There is much talk in the financial press and among economists of the risk that the major capitalist economies could be slipping back into recession.  Economic data for the US and Europe are indicating a significant slowdown in economic growth and a weak recovery in employment and investment.  Is this just a temporary blip orContinue reading “Returning to the long view”

The working poor

There’s a new book just out called Chavs: the demonisation of the working class by Owen Jones (see Amazon,  I have not read it and will try and review it in another post.  In the book, Jones apparently argues that the media and the British elite have demonised the working class into feckless criminalsContinue reading “The working poor”

Profits lead the way

It’s been a long time since my last post.  I’ve been snowed under trying to get some papers and articles done.  But anyway, back to the moment! Are the mature capitalist economies on the road to sustained economic recovery?  It depends on what you mean by sustained and recovery, of course.  The major capitalist economiesContinue reading “Profits lead the way”