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Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers


  • Paul Zarembka
    (State University of New York at Buffalo)


[Part I] The leading part of this volume, authored by Simon Stander and true to the interdisciplinary nature of political economy, focuses attention on why capitalism survives crises by developing the novel argument that it has moved on from its 19th century embodiment to include a class of shock absorbers. This class, consisting of fractionalised individuals, absorbs the massive surpluses of produced commodities while buffering capitalism against the declines of values during crises of the financial system. This gives rise to Reformism, rather than class conflict, which becomes a central feature in the political arena. The absorptive class in its dialectical relationship to the other two major classes, capitalist and working class, is vital for this reformist tendency; in this context consideration of the individual in a narcissistic social environment also becomes a focus of attention. With its distinct importance, the absorptive class helps glue capitalist economy and state together, and this provides an understanding of the contradiction between the need for a 'big' state in the interest of the absorption of commodities and the 'small state' in the interest of efficient resource allocation and profit. [Part II] The second part of the volume considers the application and conceptualization of the value theory by leading academics in political economy and concludes with an exposition of the methodology differences between two important Japanese marxian economists.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Zarembka (ed.), 2009. "Why Capitalism Survives Crises: The Shock Absorbers," RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY, Paul Zarembka, volume 25, number volm25a, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:rpe:volume:volm25a

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    More about this item


    Capitalism; crises; shock absorbers; value theory; Uno; Mita;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Modern Monetary Theory;
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • P11 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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