The classical view of how capitalism develops is that within feudal society a class emerges made up of merchants, bankers, early industrialists, i.e. the bourgeoisie, and that for this class to be able to develop its full potential a bourgeois revolution is required to break the limits imposed by the landed feudal aristocracy. That is how things developed, more or less, in countries like France and England, but not in Japan.

Inflation was persistently high throughout 2010, with an average RPI of 4.6% - the highest since 1991. Meanwhile, the CPI has been above 3% for the last 15 months, a whole percentage point above the Bank of England’s 2% target, prompting Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, to write a total of four letters to George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, explaining the causes for such consistently high inflation.

Marxists have long since been conscious of the nature of the state, its industrious defence of the capitalist class, and its prejudice against working people. But much of the public are unaware of just how incestuous the capitalists and governments really are. Will Roche continues with his second in a series of three articles on monopoly capitalism.

To mark the 60th anniversary of Trotsky’s death we published a series of articles on our Trotsky.net website in the year 2000, among them this article on capitalist development. The purpose then was to underline the fact that although capitalism was experiencing a boom, the period we had entered was actually one of overall capitalist decline. As we explained in the introduction “Rather than a new upswing, capitalism is heading for a new slump and a downward curve of development similar to the interwar period.”

There has been no levelling off of the global economy, as economists predicted. Although industrialisation has expanded to lesser-developed countries, it has generally been along lines determined by global corporations based in advanced capitalist countries. From colonialism, we have moved into the age of multinational corporate domination.

“Now we must expect the opposite: profound, long, and painful crises, while the upward movements are weak and short-lived. If the old cycles were the mechanism of a broad upward movement, the new ones can only be the mechanism of capitalist decay.” Written almost 80 years ago, but extremely relevant to today’s situation.

At the time of the struggle against pit closures in Britain in 1992/93 the old argument in favour of import controls to save British Coal was raised. Phil Mitchinson explains why this is not an "alternative" that socialists would put forward.

In the recent period the theories of Kondratiev have enjoyed new popularity with bourgeois economists and some people who consider themselves Marxists. It is one of those ironies of which history is so rich that Kondratiev's ideas are being used by bourgeois economists to justify the idea that the capitalist system can go on indefinitely in a never-ending series of "long waves" in which long periods of downswing are automatically followed by long periods of upswing and vice versa. It is rather like an economic version of the "perpetual motion machine" which people have endeavoured to discover for centuries, but which so far has not been found anywhere under the sun.

It is fashionable these days for bourgeois economists and sociologists to refute the dialectical materialist method of analysis developed by Karl Marx. One of the basic ideas of Karl Marx that is constantly being denied by the bourgeois is his theory of value. This is understandable because from this very theory flow all the other conclusions of Marx, in particular that of the need to overthrow capitalism if we are to put an end to all the contradictions of this unjust system which condemns millions of human beings to abject poverty, mass unemployment, periodic economic crises and wars. In this article (divided into two parts) Mick Brooks, using up to date facts and figures, shows how the Marxist Labour Theory of Value is still valid today.

We are publishing two old documents on the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, which were part of a debate in the early 1980s within the then Militant Tendency. Marx had predicted a tendency for the rate of profit to fall as a result of what he called the rising organic composition of capital. In his document, AG disagreed with Marx. He saw the fall in profits as being fundamentally caused by rising real wages biting into the surplus. This had serious implications as it led him to cast doubts on Marx’s theory. MB’s reply is mainly concerned with pointing out that Marx’s theory was fundamentally correct and that it is still a useful guide to understanding reality.

In his document, AG disagreed with Marx. He saw the fall in profits as being fundamentally caused by rising real wages biting into the surplus. This had serious implications as it led him to cast doubts on Marx’s theory. MB’s reply is mainly concerned with pointing out that Marx’s theory was fundamentally correct and that it is still a useful guide to understanding reality.

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