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A Descriptive and Analytic Look at Marxs Own Explanations for the Falling Rate of Profit

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  • Howard Petith

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Abstract

Abstract: Marxs conclusions about the falling rate of profit have been analysed exhaustively. Usually this has been done by building models which broadly conform to Marxs views and then showing that his conclusions are either correct or, more frequently, that they can not be sustained. By contrast, this paper examines, both descriptively and analytically, Marxs arguments from the Hodgskin section of Theories of Surplus Value, the General Law section of the recently published Volume 33 of the Collected Works and Chapter 3 of Volume III of Capital. It also gives a new interpretation of Part III of this last work. The main conclusions are first, that Marx had an intrinsic explanation of the falling rate of profit but was unable to give it a satisfactory demonstration and second, that he had a number of subsidiary explanations of which the most important was resource scarcity. The paper closes with an assessment of the pedigree of various currents of Marxian thought on this issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard Petith, 2001. "A Descriptive and Analytic Look at Marxs Own Explanations for the Falling Rate of Profit," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 486.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  • Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:486.01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Blaug, 1999. "Misunderstanding Classical Economics: The Sraffian Interpretation of the Surplus Approach," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 31(2), pages 213-236, Summer.
    2. Okishio, Nobuo, 1977. "Notes on Technical Progress and Capitalist Society," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 93-100, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Marx; Falling Rate of Profit; Natural Resources;

    JEL classification:

    • P10 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - General
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General

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